9 Great Ways to Deal with Difficult People


Life presents you with many special challenges. One of those particularly vexing situations is developing a sense of how to confidently deal with difficult people. When you have an arsenal of how to respond to those who try you, your self-confidence will soar.

These tactics will help you deal successfully with difficult people:9 Great Ways to Deal with Difficult People

  1. Clarify what kind of connection you have with the difficult individual. Are they a close member in your family? If it’s a co-worker, you’ll be exposed to them on a fairly regular basis and you’ll likely have a consistent business relationship with them versus a sales lady in the grocery store, whose line you can avoid.
  2. Stay cool. Ever the best plan, keeping a cool head in nearly every situation is wise. Refuse to allow another to stoke your fires of negative emotions.
  3. Keep your distance. Even with a co-worker, you can likely manage exposing yourself to them on a somewhat limited basis. In meetings, sit at the opposite end of the table or decline to go out to lunch with the gang if the one who’s difficult is going that day.
  4. Be tactful. Consider yourself a “diplomat” when you’re dealing with someone who’s being difficult. Stick to the business of the moment, state your requests or points clearly, and resolve the issue at hand. Regardless of how the other individual may try to bait you into a debate or disagreement, decline by your silence. Focus on the present item of concern.
  5. Use “soft honesty.” Soft honesty is stating some of your real feelings using a neutral tone so they can easily listen to you. “I want to understand where you’re coming from, but it’s hard to do whenever you’re using foul language and speaking in a loud tone of voice.”
  • When someone is spewing negativity and you’re caringly using soft honesty with them, it can effectively encourage them to calm down.
  1. Refuse to personalize it. One who is difficult likely behaves this way to everyone. It is not particular to you nor does it reflect on who you are. Make an effort to see the challenging behavior from all sides possible.
  • There may be a logical reason for the difficult behavior. But if you cannot come up with one, remain emotionally strong by reminding yourself the behavior is not about you.
  1. Avoid seeing the individual as the challenge. Instead, view the issue as the situation you’re both trying to resolve. Say something like, “I see that you’ve studied this situation thoroughly, but I believe a few other points must be included.”
  2. If you’re in authority over the challenging individual, establish consequences. For example, if you’re supervising the one who’s throwing out all the challenges, you can diplomatically set some consequences for their current behavior and choices.
  • If someone is using foul language in a meeting or refusing to do their part of a project, you could indicate you require a fifteen-minute session with them alone after the meeting.
  • During your one-on-one meeting, you can simply state your concerns about the use of foul language in meetings, indicating it’s unacceptable and cannot be tolerated without your following steps in the progressive discipline process.
  • Also, take a minute to remind the individual of his job duties in the current project. Mention their importance to the project. Listen carefully and end the meeting with concise expectations. Ensure you follow your particular employer’s guidelines for progressive discipline.
  1. Employ humor when appropriate. Sometimes, the most unexpected response to challenging behavior is a humorous quip. Use humor when you believe it can bring down the individual’s volume of hostility.
  • Perhaps if you’re speaking alone with someone who’s agitated and disagreeable, you can toss out a funny remark.
  • To illustrate, after they go on a rant, you say something like, “So, your day’s pretty good so far?”

Although you’re unlikely to totally change the difficult behaviors of others, you can maintain beneficial thinking and actions in your exchanges. Employ these strategies to successfully deal with those who try you. You’ll be pleasantly surprised with the results.

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