While driving back from a walk Mrs H and I began chatting about difficult people and how many we have encountered over the years. I don't know why - the subject just popped up as they do.
We were not discussing impossible people, but merely difficult people who in a social sense seem to take more than they give. People who tend to be somewhat oafish or unreliable, too needy or too prickly or liable to blow up over trivial difficulties.
What surprised us was the number of such people we had come across. Not so much people close to us or people we had to deal with in our own lives, but people we knew of who made life more difficult than it should be for those around them.
In our experience it is fairly rare for such people to be confronted with the difficulties they cause and even rarer for them to do something about it. Perhaps the problem has its roots in tolerance because tolerant people rarely embark on a contest they probably cannot win.
Maybe excessive tolerance is not necessarily a virtue. It is too easily exploited and the results of exploitation can be worse than a timely confrontation. Confrontation isn’t that easy though. Difficult people know how to be difficult and how to make other people seem difficult. Perhaps we need them for some reason, such as honing our social skills. Or perhaps we don't.