How to Deal With the Difficult People In Your Life

Do you recognize these people?

The Know-It-AllsThey’re arrogant and usually have an opinion on every issue. When they’re wrong, they get defensive.

The Passives These people never offer ideas or let you know where they stand.

The Dictators They bully and intimidate. They’re constantly demanding and brutally critical.

The “Yes” People They agree to any commitment, yet rarely deliver. You can’t trust them to follow through.

The “No” People They are quick to point out why something won’t work. What’s worse, they’re inflexible.

The Gripers Is anything ever right with them? They prefer complaining to finding solutions.

Of course you recognize them. They’re the people you work with, sell to, depend on, live with. Learn to deal with them quickly and confidently at Dealing with Difficult People.

This message was part of an email from that I recently received, in promoting one of their upcoming seminars.

Courtesy of

Have you ever wondered how to best deal with the “difficult” people in your life?

When it comes to the world of work, you’re bound to come across the stereotypes outlined above. You might have even been pegged as such yourself by your colleagues, and you don’t even know it. But for our purposes today, we’ll assume someone else is at fault here, and you’re the little angel.

Sticky situations

Let’s say you’ve done all you could to work cordially with a colleague but they still get on your nerves and under your skin. Or the potential client you’ve been trying to win over has turned into your worst (overly demanding) nightmare.

How do you deal?

In the past, I’ve certainly found myself in various work-related situations that tested the mettle of my patience. I’ve had to grit my teeth and smile, even when I really wanted to hang up the phone, respond with a smart remark, or send a colleague some harsh, but truthful words about how I really felt about working with them.

But, thankfully, I didn’t. Cause I knew in the end I still had to work alongside that person day after day. And I still had to arrive for work the next day having felt good about the efforts I put out the previous day.

And when we’re talking about personal branding, what you say and how you behave — and, better yet, how you respond to annoying or arrogant people, for instance — is not worth tarnishing a reputation built on something solid because you decided to react in the heat of the moment.

Telling someone off probably isn’t the route you want to take if you’re trying to make a name for yourself. Unless, of course, your name is Gordon Ramsey.

How I handle tough encounters

  • Walk away – When I can’t seem to get through to or effectively communicate with someone, I walk away from the situation in hopes of diffusing what could potentially become a heated argument. I like to give myself and the other person a little breathing room. Later, I come back to the issue a little more clear-headed, and a lot less emotionally-driven. Hopefully, the subsequent efforts allow for both parties to really hear out one another.
  • Speak truthfully, but humbly – No matter what, telling the truth without mincing words is important. But it’s also key to come from a place of humility and with a heart that wants to be nothing but helpful. At least by doing that, if the other person decides not to face their shortcomings, you can walk away having done your part as a colleague that showed up with integrity and with sincerity for your fellow professional.
  • Be open to correction — No one’s perfect. And I’ll gladly admit that, even though I don’t like to. If I’m willing to confront someone on how they can change and be a better professional, then I’ve also got to be willing to embrace the same kind of dirt being dished about myself.
  • Remember that I’m not the crazy one here — Yes, sometimes you’ll deal with people who seem bent on a mission to make you appear like the mad person in the room. All the while, you want to scream from the top of your lungs, “I’m not crazy!” In those moments, I have learned that I must keep my cool. Appearing as if I have lost my last marbles is exactly what my opponent wants me to do. Don’t give others that kind of power over you. Keep your cool. Know you’re worth. And, in case you need a reminder: No, you’re NOT the crazy one.

Now that I’ve shared. Tell me, how do you deal with the difficult people in your life?