How to Deal With a Difficult Person: Expert Explained

4 mins read
how to deal with a difficult person in life

In this world, we face all types of people with various personalities and behavior. No matter the circumstances, we need to face them, and it is entirely unavoidable. Human beings are complex living things with all types of emotions.

According to research by Dr Blaine Landis, a UCL School of Management assistant professor, personality is an important role in the success of one’s career.

The art to deal with difficult people is something we should learn as we grow up. We are not taught about this at school, but we may learn more through life experiences during our adulthood. Most of the time, we may face and deal with difficult people at our workplace.

If we are able to handle them in a matured and wise manner, a more harmonious environment could exist to make the world a better place.

1. Show Your Interest

Difficult person needs your attention on something that bothers them. Showing that you are interested in their matter will much more likely give you a positive outcome. Ignoring them will not solve the root cause of the problem.


If this difficult person is in your workplace, you need to live with it. Thus, the best way to deal with this situation, is to show an opposite reaction to what they expect as normal.

They might end up not bothering you and find another targeted victim.

2. Tolerate Little

In order to deal with difficult people, we will tolerate them if the issue is very minor. However, it is crucial to know if they are going over the limit.

It is not worth being too accepting of this poor behavior. Over time, it will drag down your overall happiness and well-being. You also need to be aware to protect yourself to avoid being infected by their negativity.

3. Be Their Listener

Sometimes difficult people are facing some bad times of their lives. We are humans with feelings and so we try to be as understanding as possible. If we face a problem, we will also expect people to do the same to us.


By listening, you will create a great relationship and eventually, find out the issues raised by the difficult person. Get the facts you need and find the suggests the best solutions to them.

Once you understand their intentions, you will soon understand some underlying reason that is motivating them to act this way.

4. Show Self Control

Getting angry at the difficult person is not the best way or right strategy to react on them. During these circumstances, when approached by a difficult person, we should try our best to stay calm and be in control. We need to calmly think before we react to their behavior.

Our reactions are very important as it will impact on the response, we get from them. Less talking, more thinking at the initial stage.

If we appear calm, we are seen as if we are in control and more respectable.


5. Build Continuous Relationship

At workplace, if you are working with a difficult teammate, effective relationships are vital. Them being demotivating could affect your mental health at work. However, we should try our best to restrain from making enemies with them.

There is no benefit from doing so, we are matured working adults supposedly able to handle this minor issue at work. Staying neutral, not taking anyone’s sides, and avoiding gossips would be the wise choice to ensure no added trouble coming out from the mouth of others.

You can seek information from them through asking them questions, this step is to show that you had been listening to them, maintain the conversation. Thus, building bonds.

6. Remove Bullying Behavior

As growing adults, we try not to be childish about not being friendly to the difficult people. We should avoid actions like those bullies during our schooling days. Some people use the method of tackling them in order to discipline them.

This method is not a respectful way to handle the situation. Try putting yourself in their shoes, maybe there is something they actually need help instead of being despised by others. We should stop toxic culture and embrace a more positive culture.


7. Do Not Take It Personally

Words are dangerous. It can be hurtful, and it may destroy a person’s mood. Being said that, sometimes if we face someone who is being difficult who talks negatively, we should not take it too personally.

Many times, it has nothing to do with you. You should not feel like you are the problem or bother so much. It is not worth your time and energy to be worked up by their negative remarks.

8. Do Not Try to Change Them

It is hard to change a person’s behavior. They will usually be more rebellious and against you if you are trying to change them. No matter the circumstances, they need to be aware and realize it themselves.

Nobody can change a person easily. The growth environment, the family, the friends, and many other factors contributes to their nature. Let them be who they are, as they will learn on their own one fine day.

9. Seek Help If They Go Overboard

Being too nice is not always the right way to deal with difficult people. If we are being too nice, toxic people might take us for granted and take advantage of the situation. If someone is being too much and causing harm to you, you should start to seek professional help.


For example, at workplace, if you are having a very difficult boss, you can consult the human resource department for some advice. Reach out, as you are not alone. If you are not sure about it yet, maybe discuss it with your other office colleagues. Speak to someone wise and not the one that spreads gossips as these matters should be kept private.

Final Thoughts

Dealing with difficult people for some of us is easy but to some is challenging. It depends how seriously you react towards their actions and words. These kinds of people exist in the world. Avoiding them is not a permanent solution. Your situation will not get any better if you always choose to run away from difficult people.

The art of dealing with dealing with these categories of people are mastered by many successful people. There is a book written by Les Giblin about “The Art of Dealing with People”. This may be a good read for young working adults.