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Number of posts : 59
Age : 69
Registration date : 2007-12-16


Tips for Dealing with Difficult People

Friendly, welcoming, and good communicators are great people to converse with. They are emotionally uplifting. If you have a problem with them, it is easily worked through. Unfortunately, the world isn’t filled with great communicators; it is more dominated by difficult people. Dealing with difficult people is a must to be happy and successful in your career, family, and social life.

Here are list of tips for dealing with difficult people to transform their attitude and prevent them from infecting your attitude with their difficulty:

Rights and Responsibility

It’s important to distinguish between rights and responsibilities when dealing with difficult people. Sometimes we feel obliged to work through difficult problems, solve people’s personality problems, or develop solutions beyond our capabilities. Other times we unnecessarily forgo our rights letting the difficult person trample over what they have no right to ruin.


Rights typically define the actions that you and the difficult person need to follow. The rights are usually based on laws and rules. A list of rights include:

Law – Any unlawful problems such as physical abuse or sexual harassment should never have to be accepted. Let the law solve these illegal problems.
Rules – There can be rules in a family, amongst friends, or at a social venue. Rules are often implied rather than explicitly stated. People are usually aware of rules, but when dealing with a difficult person, it may help to mention the rules as not everyone will be aware of them. Generally, people know that you shouldn’t shout in a public building. There are no signs which tell us this, yet most people should be aware of this rule. Making the difficult person aware of the rule – in a friendly and non-overbearing manner – may be enough to solve the problem. You and other people have a right to follow the rules.

Responsibilities “go the extra mile” to rights. Unlike rights, you don’t need to fulfill your responsibility. Responsibilities are optional, but highly recommended if you want to successfully handle the situation. The folllowing responsibilities should provide you with concepts and a framework in handling the situation:

Do not reciprocate the difficulties the person is giving. Treating them with respect is an important tip to deal with difficult people and is your responsibility. Once you prevent yourself from stooping low and reciprocating the bad behavior, you will feel proud, empowered, and in control of your life – regardless of whether you successfully handle the situation.
Listen to the difficult person and let them express their point of view. It will help you understand more about why they are difficult. This tip alone can be enough to deal with the person as you allow the person to let off some steam. Listening honestly, actively, and empathically will make the person feel understood and bridge the interpersonal gap between the two of you. You gain little or zero information about the situation by talking.
Extroverts and introverts need to be handled differently. Encourage extroverts to talk while you listen to them. Your focus with introverts is to get them opening up.
Remain focused on the problem and not the person. Difficult people have a difficult problem and are trying to fulfill their need in the only means they know possible. Disassociate the problem from the person is a great tip for dealing with a difficult person.
Difficult people have an unmet need. Whether somebody is angry, unhappy, depressed, loud, or anxious, they are trying to fulfill a need. The Nonviolent Communication Process is a great technique that gets you focused on other people’s needs as well as your own.
You don’t need to solve all problems by yourself. It sounds simple, but talking to a parent, manager, or human resource department, is very powerful. Other people will bring knowledge, skills, and more persuasive power in handling a difficult person. However, you do need to be beware of making a private problem public. It’s your responsibility to respect the other person’s privacy concerns, but at the same time you need to request another’s help when necessary.
Stop Becoming a Victim

It is a vital to stop feeling victimized by a difficult person’s behavior. Blaming them for making you feel miserable is only damaging to you and will not assist you in solving the problem. You give people access to your emotions. Eliminating blame allows you to free yourself from the person’s difficult behavior. The great Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Nothing external to you has any power over you.”

Take responsibility for how you feel, stop blaming, and remind yourself that the person’s difficulty is their problem. Eliminate the feeling of being burdened by people’s problems. You’ll work towards a solution faster and it’ll be less emotionally exasperating when losing your victim mentality.

Being Apart of the Problem

A discussion on dealing with difficult people usually has a focus on the difficult people… However, more often than not, we play a role in their behavior.A discussion on dealing with difficult people usually has a focus on the difficult people. That’s understandable seeing that “they are the problem.” However, more often than not we play a role in a difficult person’s behavior.

I’ll admit that some people are difficult for the strangest reasons. A guy sees a successful and happy guy which can cause the first guy to be filled with rage. There’s not much you can do to prevent being apart of the problem if you’re the happy and successful guy because the difficult person obviously has his own issues.

If the person isn’t difficult to everyone, then you could be contributing to the problem. Find out why they are behaving the way they are towards you. What do other people do that you aren’t doing? What do other people not do that you are doing?

The person could be an extrovert and treats you poorly because you are an introvert. Maybe the person is angry at you about an event that took place the other day. There are thousands of possible reasons that you can discover by following the responsibilities mentioned above. Identify the person’s unmet need and empathically listen.

Like the previous tip, take responsibility and look at your weaknesses, mistakes, and improve on them. Practice the Japanese principle of Kaizen where you make small continual improvements for an overall large change. You could be tipping fuel over the fire and removing your contribution to the problem will reduce the person’s difficult attitude.

Keep an Open Mind

When we see someone in a negative spotlight it can take a while to shift that negative understanding into a positive spotlight – even when the person has not been difficult for sometime. Being forgiving by keeping an open mind as to why they are being difficult is a great tip. It prevents you from jumping to conclusions and portraying the problem as the person’s difficulty.

Perhaps you are the problem, their father was diagnosed with cancer, or they are in financial trouble. Acknowledge that you do not – and will likely never – know all the tidbits of information as to why they are being difficult. Having an open mind that allows for the other person’s point of view and possible explanations for their behavior creates a “cushion” by preventing you from being overly harsh. You give the person some slack instead of abruptly judging.

Control Criticism

Feeling burdened by someone can unleash the damaging communication barrier of criticism. Criticizing people does not work towards conflict resolution. It works against resolving conflict and often intensifies the problem. People feel diminished, unworthy, and less important when criticized. Thomas Stearns Eliot, a poet who won the 1984 Nobel Prize in Literature, said, “Most of the trouble in the world is caused by people wanting to be important.” Do not criticize, yet if you must give criticism, here are strategies for giving others criticism.

Behavioral Conditioning

Condition the difficult person’s behavior by rewarding the good and punishing/ignoring the bad. Let’s say you have a manager who is rude to you and other people. What you can do is let the other people know together it is possible to eliminate the difficult person’s behavior. Each time the manager compliments, encourages, or says something positive, you can condition the manager to continually give positive feedback when it is due. Saying “thank you” and directly appreciating the positive feedback by saying “I much appreciate it when you give me good feedback” conditions the manager to give more emphasis on positivity.

On the other side, when the manager yells or does other something you dislike, you can ignore the behavior or directly address the issue to the manager by stating you do not like the behavior. Referring back to your responsibilities, you still need to actively listen, seek to understand your manager, and not become overbearing. In fact, it is even more important to actively listen in such cases. Be specific by mentioning the exact behavior and its effects on you. Behavioral conditioning rarely changes the behavior overnight because it is about consistent reinforcements changing the behavior over time. However, keep conditioning the person’s behavior, and you will soon see a change.

Walking Away

If all the above tips have failed it is probably best to walk away and leave the difficult issue for a later time. You are not giving up on resolving the conflict or ignoring future problems, because you are recognizing that you haven’t been able to deal with the difficult person at the present time. Another day can bring different possibilities. Emotions, thoughts, and attitudes change all the time and having some downtime is often beneficial for healthy communication. Giving the two of you some space gives both of you time to think the problems through and cool down your emotions.

Unsuccessfully resolving conflict or an issue you have with a difficult person can often escalate the problem at hand. However, follow these tips for dealing with difficult people and you are bound to make the difficult more manageable. Difficult people are everywhere so you can probably begin using these tips today!


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Number of posts : 3
Registration date : 2007-12-16


Practical approach based over experience of ages emanating from the field of psychology applied in the segmental context of a team, should be giving positive results. The writer has a fairly broad vision in perceiving inter-personal problems, especially those falling in the realm of rights & obligations, rightfully pointing out that the ticklish ones ( which are difficult to resolve) should be deferred for a latter occasion & the decision-maker would be well-advised to sleep over them for the night. Apart from it, the writer has gone for a very very broad skylinein indicating those problems ; simultaneously presenting an equally wide managemental horizon for taking care of them.

Instead of dilating over the issue & spoiling writer's beauty of description, I may leave my comments here, duly paying tribute to the author for his scholarly approach.
[/b]Jameel Zaidi [b]
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