How to Deal with Difficult People

We’ve all been there. You’re trying to get something done but you have to deal with the most difficult person to do it. You try to relax but it seams impossible!

Here are some tips on how to refocus your energy so you can get the most out of having to work with difficult people…

Don’t Take it Personal

It’s natural when someone is being difficult to immediately think that they’re attacking you personally. If you understand that they might have a different way of dealing with things, it can help put things into perspective. That person could be having a bad day, they could have lost their job, gotten in a fight with someone close to them, or lost a loved one, you never know. If you don’t take it personal there’s no reason to get upset and feed into the negativity.

Stay Calm

Staying calm allows you to see beyond what’s happening. If you let yourself get upset and you start to feel your blood boil it will only make the situation worse. Be completely present and don’t let them get to you. Staying calm gives you clarity to analyze the situation in a non-judgmental way.


Hear Their Point of View

Give them an opportunity to explain their perspective. Maybe there’s some merit in what their upset about. Most of the time when people are going through a rough time, all they really want is to be heard and feel justified. Sometimes just acknowledging someone’s point of view can give you an understanding of what is going on in their world even though it might not align with yours.


Be Diplomatic

Sometimes difficult people have a way of getting into positions of power. Because of this, its important to be careful with how you approach this person. Understand what makes them upset and focus on ways of speaking to them that won’t trigger a negative response.


Don’t Point Fingers

Pointing fingers make people defensive and that only makes the situation worse. When your discussing the subject matter talk specifically about the problem and not about their character. No one wants to be accused, even if they are at fault.


Create Space

If you let this person get under your skin it can lead to big problems. Sometimes when we’re upset we say things that we are very harsh and Count to 10 or 20 or 100… and breathe.


Create a Buffer

If you know that you don’t get along with this person create a buffer. This could be always having another person around or it could be using a project you maybe work on as a focal point. Take the focus off of personal differences and find something you can both talking about or focus on.


Change the Subject

Look a blimp! If someone starts to get super upset changing the subject can completely diffuse the situation. If you start talking about something else that personal finds interesting 99% of the time they will completely forget why they were originally upset. Be care though, if you don’t do this smoothly the person can get even more upset if they think you aren’t taking them seriously.


Be Firm

Be firm on your position if the situation warrants it. Sometimes people use manipulative tactics to get what they want. Know your position and don’t waiver on important issues. However its important to still be understanding focus on addressing the subject matter objectively.


Use Comedy

There’s nothing like some go ol’ comedic relief to diffuse a situation. Sometimes laughing with a difficult person can change their mood and lead to a better relationship. After all when you really think about, life is short and nothing is really worth getting too upset over. Find a way to see humor in your disagreement. It will definitely lead to a happier perspective when dealing with difficult people.

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