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5 Invincible Ways to Keep Your Cool When Dealing with Difficult People

dealing with difficult people

Yes, there are ways to handle the most difficult person without pulling your hair out.

Remember the last time they drove you mad?

You were just trying to get an answer to a simple question but they kept making the process so complicated. They poked holes in every solution you presented, countering everything you said with determined negativity.

Sometimes you even have to brace yourself before coming in contact with them.

Dealing with difficult people like this is mentally and physically draining.

Not to mention incredibly counterproductive. You know you can’t get anything done with people like this standing in your way.

And I don’t need to tell you the impact it has on your stress levels, sheesh.

They everywhere…

The biggest problem isn’t so much so that they exist. It’s that they’re everywhere.

Typically when you don’t like something you can just avoid it. But that’s kind of hard to do when that something is a difficult person you have to work with, or worse a family member you deal with on a regular basis. Then it’s pretty hard to get away from them.

Trying to flat out avoid a difficult person in those situations makes you seem like the uncooperative person. You’re the rude one, and then you have to deal with the backlash of it all.

Besides, you can’t avoid work. That just defeats the whole purpose of having a job.

But why…

To effectively solve a problem you have to know where it stems from. The reason it all came aboutfamily member. Then its pretty .

The funny thing about difficult people is that the reason they are so overly complicated has nothing to do with you. It’s none of your business. And honestly it’s probably deeper than you need to go with them.

So how do you interact with these people and still keep a full head of hair?

Everyone is different… even the crazies

Figure out what kind of relationship you have with these difficult people. That’s the first step to handling them appropriately.

You already know you cannot completely shut them out. Let’s face it if you could’ve made them disappear from your life forever you wouldn’t have done that already.

What you want to do is figure out a way to converse with them without raising your blood pressure.

Once you’ve determined the depth of your relationship you can then select the best approach.

Keeping it together

You can’t change someone else so don’t even bother. You’ll have to adapt to them for your interaction. But don’t worry they are not changing you. You’re just changing the situation to have a better outcome.

You have to keep your cool because it’s the only way you’re going to be able to stay on course. And if you want to get your tasks done, achieve your goals you can’t let a Negative Nancy throw you off your game.

These 5 invincible ways are the best methods to stay calm when dealing with difficult people so you can get back to business:

1. They’re not challenging

That’s what you have to think. You can’t look at them as a challenge.

When you go into the interaction with this type of view it tarnishes your ability keep aggravation at bay.

When you think something is going to be hard you just wait for that moment and then lose control. You’re not focused on a solution. You’re just waiting for the fireworks.

Make sure that your focus is on the topic of discussion.

2. Know your limits

You can’t be around these types of people all the time and function effectively. I mean you would have to tune everyone out and at that rate you might as well be by yourself.

You don’t need to isolate yourself completely, just know your limits. Some people can get to be too much after a while so sometimes the best thing to do is wrap it up early.

3. Be tactful

Politely keep the conversation on course. The clearer you are about your request or what has to be done the more smoothly things will go.

If you’re too harsh that will turn into a whole separate issue.

You can get in and out without ruffling any feathers by being clear and concise.

If the person trying to take you off topic with rants and other complaints, kindly bring it back then retreat as soon as things are buttoned up, because they will  try to bait you again.

4. Don’t be conceited

It’s not about you. Don’t take it personal. I know it may seem that way but it’s not.

You’re not the only one dealing with it. This is just how they act.

Like I said before, their issues and reasoning behind their behavior has nothing to do with you. Nor is it your responsibility to fix it.

Keeping a cool head means not allowing them to push your buttons. Reminding yourself that it’s not a about you helps keep your defenses down.

5. Laugh it off

This one is my favorite, but may not be suitable for all personalities.

Getting them to chuckle, while enjoying a laugh yourself, is a fun way to stay on course. And truth be told it kind of throws them off their negative track.

Getting them to laugh when they want to complain can be quite the derailment. You might even change their mood.

Make sure to make a joke of the situation and not the individual as not to hurt any feelings.

 

Difficult people are unavoidable and they seem to pop up everywhere you can imagine.

The fact of the matter is you have to deal with these people at some point whether you like it or not. And if you don’t want to ruin your entire day behind it you have to have some techniques to keep you on course.

While you may have thought before that there was no simple way to handle them, there are actually a few. Use these tips to keep your cool when you have to come in contact with a difficult person.

Once you become a pro at applying these tips you won’t even notice how challenging these people are anymore. You’ll be on to the next thing without a care in the world.

 

What about you…

How often do you have to deal with difficult people? How angry do they get you sometimes?

 

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About Lea


Lea is a certified life coach, foodie and lifehack expert. Don’t end up like the millions of people who gave up on their dreams, get unstuck and to the next level. Take the eye-opening Live Your Dreams course now to get moving!


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  • Lea

    Hi Patti,

    It truly is. Misery love company. You just have to pay attention and seperate yourself from them before it gets to that. Progress not perfection, right? πŸ™‚

    Thanks for commenting.

    ~Lea

  • Hi Lea ma’ma,

    Wonderful Post! We are have to face difficult people and this post can really help to master our skills to deal with them.

    We need to understand everyone is different. I liked your advice about laughing it off and being tactful while dealing with them.

    What I personally do is… I try to spend lesser time with such people and that is what your point #4 is trying to convey to us?

    Enjoyed reading the post and shared on Twitter. Have a great day!

    – Rohan.

    • Lea

      Hi there Rohan,

      Thank you, I’m glad you agree.

      Laughing it off is one of my faves. Sometimes it even works to lighten the mood for a moment.

      Point #4 is actually reminding you that their difficulty has nothing to do with you. Basically don’t take it personal. Number 2 is about limiting your time with them.

      Thanks for sharing! Enjoy your day as well!!

      ~Lea

      • Oh :O I just rechecked and yes I should have replaced #4 with #2. I guess while scrolling down to comment I lost track of numbers haha. Good day! πŸ™‚

        • Lea

          Ha ha I understand. No problem at all.

  • Hello,

    I really fall in love with your blog after reading your article. If you have patience and good communication skills then you can easily deal with difficult people in a right way. If they talk to you loudly then talk to them with politely.

    The picture you have used in above article is really good. I like it πŸ™‚

    ~Dr. Diana Hardy

    • Lea

      Hi Dr Diana,

      Why thank you. I’m so glad you enjoyed your visit. So true, communication skills impact many aspects of life.

      Yes, we must not engage them by reflecting the type of behavior they are displaying. That tactic gets you nowhere. You have to keep your cool and stay focused.

      Thanks, I thought so too! I think the picture describes how a lot of people feel when dealing with difficult people.

      Thank you for commenting.

      ~Lea

  • Hi Lea,

    This is my first visit to your blog and I loved your article! I loved the way you articulated how to deal with difficult people and loved two points especially- be tactful and laugh it off. I think being polite in the conversation helps me to keep myself in check even if the other person is shouting his head off ( I have been a victim as well as a guilty person on this). Laughing it off seems a simple solution which I will surely try when I have a difficult conversation.

    Keep writing πŸ™‚

    • Lea

      Hi Vidyarth,

      Thanks! And thanks for stopping by!! That is a good way to handle it. You must have developed some real tolerance to be able to take that, good job!

      Yes, do try it. Laughing it off is my go to method. It surely lightens things up.

      ~Lea

  • Love the pic. This is definitely a tricky topic. I do think that having this kind of growth oriented approach, i.e., ‘what I can I gain from this?’ as opposed to ‘what are they costing me?’ really helps. It’s definitely easier said than done to take the emotions out of it, but when we manage to do so there are actually a fair few benefits to be derived from experiences with difficult people. Not too many things teach us more about ourselves. Great post as always. πŸ™‚

    • Lea

      Thanks, I though it really illustrated what it is to deal with such people.

      Very true. There is always something to be learned, which in the end will help us tremendously. How you perform in difficult situations is a great reflection of yourself, too bad many people don’t realize this.

      Thanks πŸ™‚

      ~Lea

  • Hi, Lea,

    WOW, what an article, and oh my, that picture! LOL So very well conveys your message!

    Love the word β€˜invincible,’ and really enjoyed your article. You have a wonderful way with words and have the ability to use the exact adjectives to describe just what you’re trying to get across. Awesome!

    I have definitely had my fair share of dealing with difficult people. I make a conscious effort to remind myself to breathe deeply. It actually helps. πŸ™‚

    Love your fifth point. Keeping a sense of humor through it all is a great strategy, and I make sure to remember that I could potentially be a difficult person for someone else. So I try to keep it all in balance.

    Thanks for getting me to think about this important part of life – Relationships – as we are constantly dealing with others, and it can be joyful or a pain in the patootie.

    Talk to you soon,
    ˜Carol

    • Lea

      Hi Carol,

      The picture, I know, doesn’t it say it all! LOL

      Thanks Carol, I’m so glad you enjoyed it. You’re too kind!!

      I find that breathing deeply kind of slows things down in a weird, unexplacable way, so that you can deal with them. It does help.

      The fifth one is my fave too. It makes things fun and managable.

      It sure can! Thanks for commenting and your so kind words!!

      ~Lea

  • Hi Lea,

    #2 is so essential to know and remember. We can’t allow difficult or toxic people to take up all of our time and energy. We should make it a point to be around those who are more positive and optimistic about life while avoiding the difficult people. I’ve found when I have to be around a difficult person to not take on what they say to me, I hear them and let it go.

    • Lea

      Hi Dan,

      So right. You don’t want to be around them too long, not more than you have to really. Other peoples energies at contagious and that is one you don’t want to adapt.

      Thanks for sharing your strategy. Letting it go can be the best thing sometimes.

      ~Lea

  • Hey Lea,

    Yes we all hate dealing with difficult people, but one thing I do is get centered and focus what I have to do to keep progressing.

    You are definitely right that it’s something within themselves that their dealing with and nothing that has to do with us. Sometimes they like to project those inner conflicts on you which can be a not so pleasant interaction.

    These are some great extra tips I can add to deal with those difficult people. Yes they are a part of our lives, but they don’t have to be our life. Applying these tips and focusing on what you have to do to get you through the day are great anecdotes!

    Thanks for the sharing Lea! Have a great rest of the week!

    • Lea

      Hey Sherman,

      Yes. Misery loves company so sometimes its just about getting someone else to be on their same level.

      Exactly, just because you have to interact with them doesn’t mean their attitude as to become your life.

      Thanks for commenting Sherman! Enjoy your week!

      ~Lea

  • mark newsome

    Excellent tips Lea!

    And sadly, since we all at one time or another have encountered at least a few
    individuals that you’re describing!

    Now thanks to you, we’ve got five extremely solid, practical ways to consistently and effectively neutralize their constant negativity! Thanks!

    • Lea

      Thanks Mark!

      Yes, unforunately. They become a part of your life at some point or another.

      Thanks for your kind words Mark.

      ~Lea

  • Hi Lea

    I thoroughly enjoyed this post and I would also add that it is a timely column. No matter how much we try to avoid it, there will always be some person that we will come across who make other people’s life miserable – ie they are just difficult to deal with.

    Nonetheless, you provided some simple but great solutions of how to deal with them. I especially love #3 and #5. Been laughing off a lot of things these days. Thanks for sharing.

    • Lea

      Hi Yvonne,

      I’m glad you did!! Very true, it’s almost like it is their sole purpose. But misery does love company.

      Thanks. That’s good Yvonne, I love a good laugh. Keep laughing and smiling! Thanks for commenting.

      ~Lea

  • Neamat Tawadrous

    Hi Lea,

    This was a much required post

    I think we all relate to this. At some point we all have to deal with difficult people in our lives. I encountered it when I had a job and in my marriage life with my in-laws. Of course a lot of other times but these two encounters were the most difficult as I had to face it everyday.

    You provided great and practical tips that can be helpful especially the one that we should not take it personal. It has nothing to do with us, it is about them. If we can keep that in mind when dealing with these kind of people, we will be okay and on our way to go back to our work without anything holding us back. It is freeing.

    Thanks Lea for sharing!! Enjoy today and the weekend ahead.

    Be Blessed,

    Neamat

    • Lea

      Hi Neamat,

      Thanks. I struggled with this a while myself.

      Yes, you have to remind yourself not to be so defensive, not everything is about you. Sometimes difficult people try to make it seem that way to draw you in. It’s just a trap.

      You’re right staying on track is key. We should certainly release anything that is holding us back. Yes, so freeing, we should always be this way!

      Thanks for sharing your experience Neamat! Have a good weekend also!!

      ~Lea

  • Hi Lea,

    There will always be those difficult people coming into your life, especially while doing business. I did learn a long time ago never to take it personal, but to find the humor in it. Get them to laugh…hey laughter is the best medicine! Once you can lighten them up a bit, it is easier to communicate with them.

    We need to stay in control and it can be done. We are not out to change them by no means, but we can communicate our boundaries well and not let them take the “lead” because if we allow that, we get sucked into the trap.

    We have to handle it in a professional way and once we can accomplish this, we can keep them on track.

    Thanks for raising this issue up…it happens to all of us!

    -Donna

    • Lea

      Hi Donna,

      I feel the same way. Business is probably where you will encounter them the most, and for the longest.

      Laughter is surely the best medicine! Probably why it’s one of my favorite strategies.

      I agree, you have to retain control. If you let them take over nothing will be accomplished.

      Thanks for commenting Donna.

      ~Lea

  • Hey Lea
    Great post. I love your tips and this is a topic I think most people can relate to to some degree! There is one tip I would give for people who seem to encounter the same types of challenges people-wise over and over again–go within and see how these encounters make you feel. There is a good chance there are similar beliefs and feelings being evoked in the various situations. Our outer experience is just a mirror, and when we can shift the beliefs and feelings that contribute to our current reality, we can change our experience, including our interactions with others. It’s a beautiful system!

    • Lea

      Hey Kelli,

      Thanks so much!

      Certainly, difficult people can be in abundance. I know there once was a time when I felt like I was surrounded by them. But not anymore and it’s great.

      Of course, there are still some challenging people but they are not that to me anymore.

      Thanks for sharing your tip.

      ~Lea

  • Hi Lea,

    You made some good points here. Knowing that it has nothing to do with you will help you not take it personal. It took me some time to learn that and I still fall short at times.

    What helped me the most is knowing my limits and accepting who they are. I can’t change them but I can change my perspective of them. If I know Im about to go around a person who’s difficult then I have a self talk reminding myself to stay cool and not take it personal.

    It’s the one that catches me off guard I find myself struggling to get back centered around.
    You gave us some excellent tools that’s practical. Thanks!

    • Lea

      Hi Vernon,

      When trying not to take it personal, sometimes you have to ask yourself how much this person knows about you. Typically it’s not everything, so then you can brush it off to them not knowing what they’re talking about.

      Accepting who they are is big. A lot of the time people try to change others but that’s impossible and ends in aggravation.

      Knowing my limits helps me also. I just get away when it gets to be too much. Afterall, who want’s to deal with that? I’d rather not have the stress.

      Thanks so much Vernon!! Keeping it practical is my goal! I find it’s easier to apply that way.

      ~Lea

  • I’ve always handled difficult people by the kind of difficulty they present. Sometimes it just comes from a different point of view. In that case, I try to ask them questions and learn from them as much as possible. Usually we can come to some sort of compromise or understanding – that gets rid of the difficulty entirely. If they’re just being plain mean or rude, I become open and honest with them (if that’s possible). Once again, they may not realize that they’re being mean and talking to them about it bridges the gap between us. I’ve found that difficult people usually come from communication errors.

    • Lea

      Your stragetgy is a good one when you’re trying to resolve the difficulty. Sometimes when you’re working with a difficult person or have to encounter one at a store, you just need to get things done and move on.

      I would definitely use the reasoning you suggested with someone I care for or have a deep relationship with. The nature of your relationship with the difficult person depicts the best way to handle them.

      ~Lea

  • Hi Lea,
    Great post indeed πŸ™‚
    There are many time it happened in our life when we need to handle very difficult people so we should have a skill to handle them otherwise it make a negative effect on them which leads many problems.
    Thanks for sharing your tips with us to handle them.
    Have a great day πŸ™‚
    Naveen

    • Lea

      Hi Naveen,

      Thank you πŸ™‚

      Yes, handling them the wrong way can surely make matters worse. And if you think they were a challenge it’ll get much worse once you’ve add that fuel to the fire.

      You’re so welcome. I’m sure they’ll be so helpful.

      Have a nice weekend!

      ~Lea

  • Great points Lea
    This is a post for all the people because each of us has to tackle some difficult people.
    I can relate to the fifth point. Whenever, I meet such difficult people, I try to lighten the mood by connecting things in a fun manner. In this process, the overall effect of annoying person minimizes
    Ya, you are right that we must not take it personal. Otherwise, it will add more misery
    Thanks for sharing these points. I will apply them in practical use next time
    Have a nice week ahead, buddy

    • Lea

      Hi Yatin,

      I feel the same way, which is why I felt it was so fitting. No one person suffers from dealing with this encounter.

      That’s is so true. Like I said, I think it kind of trips them up, which makes it easier for us.

      Being too defensive just makes matters worse. Taking it with a grain of salt is appropriate.

      Thanks, appreciate the comment. I’m sure these points will help you greatly.

      Enjoy the weekend!

      ~Lea

  • Hi Lea,

    Wonderful post indeed πŸ™‚

    Such a post is required for all of us I think, because we deal with ALL kinds of people in our lives, as we come across them daily! Such difficult people can make life tough for us if we don’t know how to deal with them or handle them.

    You mentioned the apt ways, and I think I follow most of them, the best being the last one to laugh it off or take them lightly, till of course, they are not harming your or hurting you in any way.

    I know it’s not easy for most people to handle toughies, but there is no choice! If you let them act tough, they’d harm/hurt you, or leave you feeling low and negative, which would harm your inner-self. I think it’s nice if you try reasoning with them or making them understand, and if they don’t listen, just let them be and move on!

    Thanks for sharing. Have a nice, rest of the week πŸ™‚

    • Lea

      Hi Harleena,

      Thanks, I appreciate it πŸ™‚

      Yes, the varying personalities take much getting used to.

      Laughing it off is my fave. I like to use humor to break the ice. And it’s fun too! Who couldn’t use a good laugh?

      No we don’t have an option in this matter. If it were that easy we would all just avoid them like the plague. But it’s not that simple. You need to build up that resilience.

      I couldn’t agree more! Don’t put too much energy into something that doesn’t work. If they don’t get it it’s their loss, carry on!

      Thanks for commenting. Enjoy the weekend!

      ~Lea

  • Hi Lea

    Wow! This is an awesome post. You know I do agree that difficult people are everywhere. Scary but true and the only way you can keep your head cool is to tactically deal with such kind of people.

    You are right that these kind of people are not challenging. So they best we know this the better. I agree that we must know our limits. Sometimes people feel there is a weakness in having a limit but this not true. When you know your emotional threshold, you avoid unnecessary conflict.

    I agree that nothing every thing is personal. Sometimes we have a wrong mindset which can affect our relationship with people which is why one must be careful when dealing with people especially those that are difficult.

    If you get to the stage where you can light itnoff , kudos to you. Thanks for sharing.

    • Lea

      Hi Ikechi,

      Thanks, I try πŸ™‚

      Knowing your limits is definitely powerful. It keeps you in control. If someone else gets the better of you, you lose. So knowing how to prevent that is empowering, definitely a strength.

      Displaced anger is pretty up there with causes for conflict. When you don’t have a healthy outlet you can unleash your frustration on the wrong person. This would make anyone difficult to deal with.

      Laughing it off is so my thing. I use humor to break the ice.

      ~Lea

  • Barbara Charles

    Hi Lea,

    Great tips for sure. I constantly am in situations where I have to deal with people who are not happy with decisions I make. It’s my day job. πŸ™‚ It has taken a while to learn how to be tactful and now I think I’m a pro at it. I have tactfully learned how to bring a person back to the point at hand and to help relieve the tension. It took a long time, but now I’m pretty good at it.

    It takes time, patience and practice. Perfect post for people to understand in business.

    Great job.

    Barbara

    • Lea

      Hi Barbara,

      That’s great! Being tactful does take some getting used to, especially since people can get offended easily.

      Thanks so much!!

      ~Lea

  • Hi Lea, Good tips thanks. They remind me of a saying my Nan always told us to live by: “A soft answer turneth away wrath”.

    Other words that mean a lot to me are: “Don’t take anything personally. Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. (Sorry – I’m sure those words should be attributed to someone more clever than I – but I don’t know who πŸ™‚

    Joy

    • Lea

      Hi Joy,

      Exactly. Another person’s responses is a clear indication of where their mind is. If they’re unhappy they’re going to be negative. If they feel the world is against them, they’ll be defensive. Just have to remember it’s not about you.

      Thanks for sharing your Nan’s saying, very insightful.

      ~Lea