- Step 1: Know the types Know the types of difficult people, and determine which type you're dealing with. Common ways to be difficult include passive-aggressiveness, open aggressiveness, constant complaining, and destructive criticism.
- Step 2: Realize whose problem it is Understand whether this is even your problem. Difficult people are usually being that way because they're unhappy about something else.
- TIP: Do not take the person's behavior personally.
- Step 3: State your feelings State your feelings, clearly and directly, and don't be afraid that the difficult person will think you're angry. Anger isn't always bad. It can be a signal that something is wrong. At the very least, you will alert the difficult person to your feelings.
- Step 4: Avoid the difficult person If they continue being difficult, limit the person's access to you. Walk away from the situation. Do not waste your energy trying to win a fight.
- Step 5: Listen After you've taken a break, if they still want to talk and are willing to have a civilized discussion, listen carefully to the other person. Wait until they are finished talking, and then express your own feelings.
- TIP: Try to empathize with the difficult people in your life, which can help you maintain a sense of control over the situation.
- Step 6: Learn from mistakes Stop talking about the situation once it is over. Learn from the situation so you can prevent it from happening again.
- FACT: Did you know? In 2007, Duke University's law school began offering a workshop called Dealing With Conflict and Difficult People.
You Will Need
- Thick skin
- The ability to be forthright
- Listening skills