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Social media may be bringing some of us together, but it’s also exposing how annoying and frustrating some people can be. As if we needed more evidence. Of course when it comes to your personal life, you can choose the people you spend time with or decide how much time you want to spend with those who sometimes rub you the wrong way.

When it comes to running your spa or massage practice, however, you can’t always be so selective. Abusive clients should not be tolerated. But clients whose habits or personality annoy you and are overall good for business make it difficult to say goodbye. So don’t. Learn how to manage difficult or annoying clients to minimize your stress and preserve the relationship.

Take a deep breath

In “How to Deal with Annoying People,” in Psychology Today, Marcia Reynolds, Psy.D, recommends when someone is annoying you first take a deep breath and focus on breathing comfortably to help control your reactions.  She also advises that you “choose a word to anchor your mind until the need to react passes.” You may want to choose “tolerance” to give you a better perspective toward the person who is clearly not happy. For yourself, “calm” may be the word you repeat over and over until your own reaction passes and you can deal objectively with the situation.

Listen

Some clients just like to complain. Ironically they may be very loyal but it’s in their genes to find fault with something – whether it’s about a massage that they feel didn’t quite meet the mark, one of your team or even a retail product they bought following your recommendation. With clients like this, first ask yourself are you really listening to them. Maybe they’ve complained so often, you tend to tune it out, yet what they really want is someone to pay attention to them. Showing genuine feelings toward a client may be all it takes to end the complaints. Ask them questions, listen to their answers and assure them that you intend to address the problem because you value their business.

Set boundaries

By this point in your life, you know what you like and what annoys you.  Let people know nicely when they are encroaching into areas that are encroaching on your time or things you value. Try to redirect the conversation diplomatically to a place that is more agreeable to you.

Try to sympathize

It may be difficult, but try to be sympathetic to someone who is annoying or frustrating you.  Put yourselves in their shoes for the moment and try to understand what may be motivating them to be difficult.  Your anger or annoyance may go away and instead you’ll feel compassion for the person who may be acting out of hurt, disappointment or worry.

You can’t eliminate all the annoying people in your life, but you can learn to handle them and manage how you feel about them. It just takes some practice and patience.