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Learning to Deal With Difficult People

tips how to deal with difficult people

THE BOTTOM LINE: Difficult people can make your work day less enjoyable. With the right strategies, you can learn to deal with them effectively .

If you have to work with difficult people every day, you probably dread going to work each morning. What's more, you might get so stressed that you can't concentrate on the job.

Have you ever wondered why some people are difficult to work with?

"Individuals behave in a difficult manner because they have learned that doing so keeps others off balance and incapable of effective action. Worst of all, they appear immune to all the usual methods of communication and persuasion designed to convince or help them change their ways," says Robert M. Bramson, Ph.D. author of coping With Difficult People.

Bramson offers the following strategies for coping with such people.

How to Cope

Avoid these "don'ts" when dealing with difficult people:

  • Don't take difficult people's behavior personally. Their troublesome behavior is habitual and affects most people with whom they come in contact.
  • Don't fight back or try to beat them at their own games. They have been practicing their skills for a lifetime, and you're an amateur.
  • Don't try to appease them. Difficult people have an insatiable appetite for more.
  • Don't try to change them. You can only change your responses to their behavior.

Here's how you can cope effectively with four common types of difficult people.

Openly Aggressive People

Stand up to them, but don't fight. Overly aggressive people expect others to either run away from them or react with rage. Your goal is simply to assertively express your own views, not try to win a battle of right and wrong.

First, wait for the person to run out of some steam. Then call the person by name and assert your own opinions with confidence.


Difficult people are experts at taking potshots and making sneak attacks in subtle ways, such as humorous put-downs, sarcastic tones of voice, disapproving looks and innuendoes.

You may feel uncomfortable replying to them because you don't like confrontation. This, however, allows snipers to get away with their covert hostility.

Respond to a sniper with a question. "That sounds like you're making fun of me. Are you?" A sniper usually replies to such accusations with denial, "I'm only joking."

Nevertheless, questioning covert attacks will reduce the chance for similar attacks in the future.


These are fearful people who have little faith in themselves and others because they believe in a hostile world. Their constant discouragement and complaining can bring everyone to despair.

"Don't try to argue these difficult people out of their negativity. Instead, respond with your own optimistic expectations," says Bramson.

Silent People

People who ignore you, give you sullen looks, and/or respond to every question with either "I don't know" or silence are difficult because they're timid. Silent people get away with not talking because most people are uncomfortable with silence and are too quick to fill in the gaps. Ask them questions that can't be answered with just a "yes" or "no," such as, "Why is it uncomfortable for you to answer my questions?"

Then wait at least one full minute before you say anything. This long silence may make them uncomfortable enough to say something. If they do start talking, listen carefully.

Don't Give Up

Dealing with difficult people takes practice, so don't get discouraged.

Although these strategies won't change the difficult people, they will break their ability to interfere with your effectiveness," says Bramson. "Most important, you'll feel more confident and you'll start to enjoy your workdays."

What about you?

Are you stressed by an angry or difficult person?

    Have you left a good job because your life was made miserable by a cranky boss?
  • Do you avoid your most valuable customer because he or she has angry outbursts?
  • Are you afraid to visit your Aunt Helen because she tries to make you feel guilty with her critical remarks?
    Do angry people or difficult people provoke you to snap back with sarcasm, or your own angry remarks?

You're not alone. Most people don't want to deal with fearful or unpleasant situations. And. very few people know how to deal with angry people.

However, don't despair! Help is on the way!

We have 2 resources for you

Resource #1

The Secrets of Dealing with Difficult People ebook


is a "Must Have" ebook if difficult people are stressing you out! Amazing and innovative, step-by-step strategies for dealing with the difficult people in your life.

Dr. Mark Lauderdale, author of the book, "Secrets of Dealing with Difficult People." says that.

"Dealing with difficult people can seem like the last thing you’d ever want to do in your life…and yet, it doesn’t have to be that way.

It is possible to create a positive change in your relationship with another person, whether difficult or not.

"The main problem is that the difficult person is behaving in some kind of socially inappropriate way – harassing, bullying, controlling, backstabbing, gossiping, complaining, being rude, unmotivated, uncooperative, negative, etc, etc."

*** Learn all about Dr. Mark's easy-to-use strategies in this article. Click Here: Expert Strategies For Dealing With Difficult People

Resource #2

This low cost, easy to read, 16 page Tips eBook is full of strategies to help you deal successfully with angry people.

Free yourself from the fear of angry bosses, employees, customers, family members or friends with these step-by-step tips in our downloadable tips ebook.

110 Ideas for Dealing With Angry People

by Harriet Meyerson, founder of

How to Calm Angry and Difficult People

Here's what you will learn:

Magic words you can sat that will immediately diffuse a person’s anger.

Proven methods to avoid the anger spiral. (The angry person will no longer push your buttons.)

How to evaluate an angry situation.

How to learn from past mistakes with angry people and avoid repeating them.

H ow to understand what the angry person is really trying to say.

How to respond to an angry remark in a non-confrontational tone of voice.

How to demonstrate respect, understanding, and empathy while under fire.

"I work for a non-profit organization and we serve individuals with developmental disabilities. Our staff frequently have to deal with family members, workshop staff, physicians, nurses etc. etc. who can send them into a tail spin fairly quickly.

The Tips booklet has given them ideas so they can maintain some objectivity and emotional control when they have to deal with these situations.

It also has given everyone better insight into our own psyche and what part we play in any given situation. I have to say it has been very useful and productive while helping us maintain a professional balance.

Thank you so much. It is a great little booklet."

Betty Szafranski

You will be equipped with powerful tools that can create calmness instead of conflict and tension!

Here's what you will also learn:

17 Ways to relieve the stress of dealing with an angry, difficult, or irrational person.

16 Creative approaches to deal with anger.

What to do if the angry person won’t talk.

What does the ability to deal with angry and difficult people do for you and for your organization?

It means that you will have a clear understanding of how anger can really work for you.

You willl gain more confidence in dealing with difficult customers, co-workers, and family members.

You will have the confidence to express yourself assertively in non-confrontational ways.

You will have the confidence and skills to defuse situations before they become much larger problems for you and your organization .

More confidence in dealing with difficult people means:

    More loyalty and willingness to work with difficult people.
  • Working better in teams because of anger management skills.
  • A more friendly work and home environment.

Extra Bonus - 9 Email Lessons

A new lesson every 2 days - a total of 9 lessons.

Step by step instructions to help you use your tips booklet more effectively.

Email help if you have any questions as you use the tips booklet.

How much does the Tips eBooklet cost?

This valuable eBooklet that you can print out and keep handy in your desk, purse, brief case or the glove compartment of your car, costs only $5.77. (That’s less than you probably spend for coffee and a muffin at Starbucks.)

When you buy the Tips eBook,"110 Ideas for Dealing With Angry People" you may also purchase the downloadable mp3 audio for only $2.77 (Regularly $9.97).

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