We’ve all dealt with them…You know, the naggers, the manipulators, the liars and the people who insist on giving you advice. The ones who push you so far, you feel yourself burning up and turning into the Hulk. How do you deal with them without turning into a big green monster and ripping all of your clothes?

Try these three tips for dealing with difficult people:

1. It’s not you, it’s them.

Often when someone is giving you an ear-full about whatever it is they insist that you do, they’re really talking about, or to, themselves.

Maybe they’ve assumed they know how you feel about something. Maybe they’re blaming or attacking you for no apparent reason. Whatever it is, before you flex your big green bicep, imagine if what they’re saying applies to them – or maybe even ask them. You’ll be surprised how often people are just seeing their own problems in the world around them.

2. Can you hear me?

Now there are those who only seem to speak so they can hear the sound of their own voices. They don’t appear to be interested in actual conversation since they seem to talk at you and they interrupt while you’re speaking. What can you do other than blow up?

Well, first you can stop them. Hold up your hand and say, “Sorry. I’m not finished yet.” Or if you feel that it’s appropriate, go a bit further and tell them how their actions make you feel. This will prevent you from ‘exploding’ later on.

3. Listen like a ninja.

Ninjas are stealthy. They’ll tiptoe past without you even noticing the crunch of a dry leaf. You know how they do that? By listening. Sometimes people, even if they drive you up the wall, just need to feel like they’ve been heard. Try paying attention to what a person is feeling underneath what he or she is saying. Then repeat it back to them (in your own words).

Listening isn’t about colluding or agreeing with everything the person is saying. It’s just about respecting them enough to acknowledge where they’re coming from.

At the end of the day, protecting your Hulk Buttons us about setting boundaries. Good luck.