5 Tips for Dealing with Difficult People0

dealing with difficult people

When you have to deal with difficult people, it can drain your energy and test your patience. Except in certain situations like when you are handling a difficult customer or a boss, you will find it hard to contain your emotions and control your reaction.

Management experts have given labels and categorized the 7 types of difficult people in the workplace. Having this knowledge may assist you in dealing with difficult people either at work or in your personal life.

1. Those who bully, intimidate and abuse their power to get what they want are termed as Sherman tank or hostile aggressive.

2. The ones who gripe or whine incessantly and oppose to everything but don’t contribute or take action are called whiners or complainers.

3. The silent or unresponsive or the nothing person will only respond with a yes, no or a grunt. You’ll get nothing else from them.

4. The super agreeable are those who say yes to everything but don’t take action. They procrastinate. They are great followers but are unreliable.

5. The negativist says no and opposes to any new idea or suggestion.

6. And there is the Mr. know it all and little Miss know it all. They seem to know everything about everything or assume they do. They enjoy putting you down and make you feel worthless. They don’t like you to contradict, question or correct them.

7. Another difficult personality to deal with is called the grenade. This type of difficult person may suddenly show an outburst which may have nothing to do with the current situation.

Dealing with Difficult People – 5 Tips.

What you decide to do will depend on the situation and the relationship you have with the person you are dealing with. Use your discretion. Even if you don’t get the result that you expect, you’ll learn something and will become more proficient the next time.

1. Get to Know Yourself

know yourself

You can’t change people. They must want to change themselves. And you shouldn’t expect them to conform to your way of thinking or doing things. Try to remind yourself that people’s actions and reactions are based on their own motives and intentions. You don’t have to take things personally.

But you can work on you. You can change the want you react and respond. Get to know your own motives and the reasons why you do what you do. Ask yourself what you are trying to achieve. Ask yourself further if it is the best way, or the only way?

2. Delay Your Emotional Reaction

Before you jump, confront or snub, pause for a moment. Take a few deep breaths and calm down. When you do this, you are able to change your focus. Then respond in an opposite manner, instead of displaying your normal reaction. When you do this, you give your mind a different instruction to respond to a familiar trigger.

Another great thing will ensue. You will surprise the person you are dealing with. Your action will also confuse him and change his focus. It will enable you to interrupt what was going on. If you act this way or in a similar positive manner a few more times or whenever the situation arises, people will change their perception about you and their behavior towards you will also change.

3. Listen More

listen more

If you want to improve your skill in dealing with difficult people, listen attentively. Misunderstanding and miscommunication happen because many people don’t really listen.

Pay attention to the one who is speaking with you even if he gets on your nerves. Don’t interrupt or complete his sentences. Let him finish speaking. By giving your attention, he may soften and accept your views.

4. Talk it Over

When you confront aggressive people, they will usually fight back. Fighting will develop animosity. Walking away is always a good thing to do. But once everything has cooled down, dare yourself to sit down and communicate, even if he is the boss. Ask him why he acted the way he did.

When he has finished talking and justifying his motive, talk about how you felt. If you don’t talk it over, you may have to go through the same episode again and you will feel very frustrated.

5. Ignore and Move On

When all your attempts don’t seem to work and you still can’t get along, the last thing to do is to ignore him. He is the one who is having an issue. You can’t change him, so leave him alone. If the difficult person is your boss, consider asking for a transfer to another department or changing your job.


If you take the effort to observe and pay attention to people’s behavior and yours, you will notice the diversity and complexity. And perhaps you will then understand, become more forgiving instead of judging, condemning or justifying.