Advice for Dealing with Difficult People

We all have to deal with difficult people from time to time. Recently, I came across this article from “Lifehack” that I felt was very practical for this problem. Check it out and let me know your thoughts.

9 Ways to Manage Annoying People

Ever faced people who bother you? I’m sure all of us have faced such people before. It’s okay when we have to deal with them just once or twice, but there are times when these people enter our lives where we have to deal with them on an ongoing basis. They may be business associates, coworkers, friends, or even family members and relatives. In any case, it’s important to learn how to cope with them. Here are 9 tips on how to effectively deal with these types of difficult people:

1. Work on Changing yourself.

When dealing with people, always remember that it’s not about changing others, but about changing yourself. You can try to change others, but you probably won’t succeed in doing so. The best way to address the situation is to change your perspective and how you react to it. By changing that, everything else will then start to changel.

2. Draw your boundaries.

Be clear on what you will tolerate and what you will not tolerate. Then stick with it. You have your own personal space and it’s your perogative to protect your space. By drawing the boundaries, even if just mentally, you are clearer of the kind of behaviors to expect from others. If you don’t do so, it’s easy for you to be pushed over by others, especially since such people tend not to be conscious of personal boundaries. You’ll wind up shrinking in a corner and feeling miserable, and you wouldn’t want that.

3. Be honest about where you stand.

If the person tends to violate your personal space, then let him/her know where you stand the next time you communicate. People aren’t mind readers, and sometimes they may not be aware that they are infringing on your space. Giving the person some indicators will help. If he/she tends to take up a lot of your time, then let him/her know that you have XX minutes at the onstart of the conversation. That way, you are being fair by informing him/her in advance. If you prefer to communicate via email/text/chat/other channels, then let him/her know too.

4. Be firm when needed.

If the person does not stick within the boundaries, then enforce them. Give a gentle reminder at first. If he/she still does not get the hint, then make a call and draw the line right there. Push back and become firm on your boundaries, and you’ll be much more fulfilled. If you’re constantly feeling imposed upon by the other person’s needs, then you most likely won’t be effective at helping them.

5. Ignore them.

Ignoring is effective at times. When you interact with them, you give them a reason to continue their behavior. If you just ignore, they don’t have a choice but to seek out someone else. Not only that, it also hints to them about their behavior and helps them do some self-reflection.

6. Don’t take it personally.

Most of the time, annoying people behave the same way around others too. I had a friend who was very negative. She always had something to criticize whenever we were together. At first I thought she had something against me, but after I observed her interacting with others, I realized that she was like that with everyone else too. Realizing it wasn’t anything personal helped me deal with her objectively.

7. Observe how others deal with them.

Watching others deal with the same person you find annoying can be an eye-opening experience. Even if the person may be at his/her wits-end handling the individual, just observing from a third party’s point of view can give you insights on how to cope. The next time you are with this person, get someone else into the conversation too. Take a back seat by broaching a topic that’s relevant between the two of them, then play the silent role in the situation. Observe how the other party handles him/her. Try this exercise with different people – from savvy networkers, someone you find difficult to deal with as well, someone similar to you, etc. You will get interesting results.

8. Show kindness.

Often times, they act the way they do because they are looking for an empathetic ear. Hear what they have to say, and be empathetic towards them. Give them some friendly act of kindness. Don’t impose on them, but just be there and empathize. It might well do the trick.

9. Help them.

Beneath the facade is really a cry for help. Check with them if they need any help, or if there is anything you can do to help them. Sometimes, it’s possible they require help but they don’t know how to articulate it. Help them to uncover their problem, then work with them to analyze the issue and discover the solution. It’s important to still let them take charge in the situation, because the end outcome is you want them to learn to take control of the situation, and not grow dependent on you for help.

Source –

As always, feel free to contact me if you need some help. Also, feel free to leave a comment or question below.

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One Response to Advice for Dealing with Difficult People

  1. avatar
    Martha July 28, 2010 at 9:19 pm #

    Great tips! We all have people in our lives that are hard to deal with. It’s good to know some strategies beforehand that help us manage these difficult situations. Thanks for this valuable insight!

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