• News
  • Columns
  • Interviews
  • BW Communities
  • Events
  • BW TV
  • Subscribe to Print
  • Editorial Calendar 19-20
BW Businessworld

5 Simple Ways To Deal With Difficult People

Difficult people will always exist in the world, so too will our power to choose how we respond to them. Do we let them make their pain our own? Or do we choose to transform that pain into personal growth and strength? Do we let them win? Or do we choose to win?

Photo Credit :


There will always be those difficult people that no matter you say or do will try and pull you down.

Their aim is to make you feel poorly about yourself just so that they can better or experience a power trip. The unfortunate part is that not only do these negative people they make you feel bad but they are reinforcing the painful parts of what made them who they are.

The Art of Handling Difficult People
We can not control those around us, but what we can control is how we respond to them.

To each their own.

Those bullies just want to make you feel bad all day long.  That's their goal.  And if you continue to feel bad about their foolish antics, those difficult people win.  However, if you let go of their foolish antics, and instead focus on feeling good and helping other people feel good, you win.  There's always a winner in these situations.  And it's always your choice.

Difficult people will always exist in the world, so too will our power to choose how we respond to them.  Do we let them make their pain our own?  Or do we choose to transform that pain into personal growth and strength?  Do we let them win?  Or do we choose to win?

When we choose to make conscious choices to win, despite the heat of the moment, and transform pain into personal growth and strength, we aren't just improving our own lives, we're also improving the lives of the people we love, and the people who look up to us.

However, its easier said than done, when you feel attacked.

A few strategies to deal with difficult people

1.    Model the behavior you want to see.
Despite all the hostility a difficult person hoists on you, ignore it. Focus on authentic communication. Express yourself from a place of peace compassion and love. It doesn't come easy. It takes a lot of practice to be able to tame the mind in face of adversity. You will slip up many a time, but the reward at the end will be priceless. When the bully sees you are unfettered, they will relent and hopefully transform.

2.    Remove your expectations of people - Don't lower your standards, but do remember that removing expectatons of others is the best way to avoid being disappointed by them. No other person has a heart like yours, so why expect them to be like you? Everyone comes with their own set of conditioning and experiences. No one is born difficult. Remember that and meditate on it. So when people are rude and difficult, be mindful-be your best.  Give those around you the "break" that you hope the world will give you on your own "bad day" and you will never, ever regret it.
3.    Practice detaching yourself from other people's opinions. 
How people react to you is a function of their experiences, all the more baggage in the case of a difficult person. It is imperative that you detatch yourself from their opinions. Do not take what people say personally.

In most cases it's far more productive and healthy to let go of other people's good or bad opinions of you, and to operate with your own intuition and insight as your guide.

4.    Take positive control of negative conversations. - 
Usually when we feel attacked by a negative person we become paralysed and play out the drama the way they want it to.

This is the time to reclaim your space and steer the directions towards areas of positivity. Use your voice. There is no harm being authentic and honest if their overly negative attitude is what's driving you away:  "I'm trying to focus on positive things.  What's something good we can talk about?"  It may work and it may not, but your honesty will help ensure that any communication that continues forward is built on mutually beneficial ground. It can also help reset the equation.
5.    Proactively establish healthy and reasonable boundaries. The best way to take care of yourself is to tune into your own feelings and needs. When you operate from a feeling awareness and then deal with negative or difficult situations or people you are far more empowered. On a flight the attendant always instruct you to take care of yourself first. Put the oxygen mask on yourself before you try and save someone else. So take care of yourself and set safe boundaries for yourself. Clearly establishing boundaries helps enforce healthy and reasonable boundaries with difficult people. It will be one of the most charitable things you can do for yourself and those you care about.  These boundaries will foster and preserve the best of you, so you can share the best of yourself with the people who matter most, not just the difficult ones who try to keep you tied up.

In the end, isn't that what you want? To be the best version of yourself?

Tags assigned to this article:
healthcare corporate people management