How Do You Deal With Difficult People?

Nancy Stampahar
May 29, 2009 — 2,274 views  
Become a Bronze Member for monthly eNewsletter, articles, and white papers.

Who in your life do you consider difficult?  Is it your boss, a colleague, a family member or a friend?  Or, perhaps you realize that you are a difficult person who struggles at getting along with people.  Whoever the difficult person is, you are probably fueled by emotions and stress when you interact with them.  You don't have to feel that way anymore.  But remember, you cannot change others. You can only change yourself.  You can choose to respond differently each time you deal with a difficult person.

How to Deal With Difficult People:

  1. Try not to take things personally.  A difficult person can be defined as someone who keeps repeating the same actions, even after they have been asked to change their behaviors.  In addition, the person is self-centered and usually difficult with other people, not just you.
  2. Communicate clearly without intense emotions your feelings and facts about the situations you have experienced with them. Find your courage and confidence to set boundaries.  You deserve to be treated with respect.
  3. Ask open-ended questions to seek their ideas on how to resolve the issues. For example, "What do you think we can do to put our differences behind us and move forward?".
  4. Seek relationships with positive, easy-to-get-along-with people and let go of the negativity that difficult people bring into your life.

When people choose not to deal with difficult people in effective ways, they can end up arguing, which inhibits communication and change. It is critical to understand both sides of the story to find resolve.  When you become open to learning another perspective, you are on your way to dealing with difficult people, and you are becoming less difficult too.

Life is short, it's never too late to get happy!

Nancy Stampahar


Nancy Stampahar inspires people into action with her enthusiasm and lemons to lemonade wisdom and expertise. She is the author of the 2009 IPPY Award winning self-help, inspirational book, peace, love and lemonade: a recipe to make your life sweeter and a sought-after organizational development consultant, trainer and speaker. Nancy solely owns and directs her business Silver Lining Solutions. She earned her BSBA in human resource management from Robert Morris University, after she decided to make lemonade. She received the 2009 Joe Ott Award from ACHIEVA, which serves people with disabilities in recognition of outstanding vision, volunteer leadership and generosity of spirit.