We all feel challenged at one time or another by colleagues, managers, clients, or customers. When we don’t take into account differences in expectations, communication styles, and priorities, we can set our relationships up to be plagued by hurt feelings and chronic frustration.

In her book, Make Difficult People Disappear: How to Deal with Stressful Behavior and Eliminate Conflict, author Monica Wofford writes that “conflict occurs when we demand and expect others to behave in a way that is not natural or known.” We hold a picture in our heads of how someone else should behave in a particular situation, which is often different from how they do behave in that situation, and then tension arises.

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