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Caring for a Difficult Person

Some personalities require extra attention.

1 John 4:7-8; Colossians 3:12-14

A passive-aggressive person appears friendly and is eager to get involved in the church-until you entrust him or her with an important task. Then, to your surprise and confusion, this person often drops the ball. This type of personality submerges negative feelings and resists open, healthy discussion of problems.

Instead, this hidden hostility takes the form of procrastination, lack of cooperation, and behind-the-scenes manipulation of others. How does a church leader handle such a frustrating personality?

  1. Confront. Assertive confrontation lessens your vulnerability to passive-aggressive people and reduces your frustration. Set up a meeting, and prepare to be persistent when he is late or misses the appointment altogether.

  2. Identify the pattern. When you do get together, identify what you perceive happens in your interactions with him, and then invite the person to share his perception of those events. Be specific; give illustrations.

  3. Own your feelings. You might say, "Last spring I asked you to organize some summer events you had expressed interest in. The events never happened. When all was said and done, I was disappointed and angry."

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