How to deal with very difficult people at work! #1

Aug 9, 2023 | jobs, difficult people, interview, resume advice, Resume Tips | 0 comments

Purchase one of our “Resume Packages” below and continue scrolling to read this article!


Learn more | $300

Our Starter Package is group our most useful tools to jumpstart your career!

Launch Kit

Learn more | $400

The Launch Kit Package provides even more including mock interviews!

Blast Off

Learn more | $500

Blast Off with our most powerful package with ALL our pro services!

Table of Contents

Dealing with difficult people in the workplace can be challenging, but it’s an important skill to develop for maintaining a positive and productive work environment. Here are some strategies you can use:

  1. Stay Calm and Professional: When confronted with a difficult person, it’s important to remain composed and maintain a professional demeanor. Avoid getting emotionally reactive, as this can escalate the situation.
  2. Empathize and Understand: Try to understand the perspective and motivations of the difficult person. They might be facing personal challenges or stressors that are affecting their behavior. Empathizing with their situation can help defuse tensions.
  3. Active Listening: Actively listen to what the difficult person is saying. Sometimes, they might just want to be heard and acknowledged. Listen without interrupting and paraphrase their points to show that you’re paying attention.
  4. Set Boundaries: Clearly establish your own boundaries and communicate them respectfully. Let the difficult person know what behaviors are unacceptable and how you expect to be treated.
  5. Choose Your Battles: Not every issue is worth addressing. Evaluate the situation and determine if it’s necessary to engage in a confrontation. Sometimes, it’s better to let minor issues slide to maintain overall harmony.
  6. Use “I” Statements: When discussing issues, use “I” statements to express how their behavior affects you. For example, say “I feel uncomfortable when…” instead of placing blame with “You always…”
  7. Seek Common Ground: Find areas of agreement or common goals. Focusing on shared objectives can help redirect the conversation towards more positive and productive topics.
  8. Avoid Defensiveness: If the difficult person becomes confrontational or critical, avoid becoming defensive. Stay focused on the facts and your points without resorting to personal attacks.
  9. Offer Solutions: When addressing concerns, try to propose practical solutions. This shows that you’re committed to resolving issues constructively.
  10. Involve a Mediator: If the situation doesn’t improve, consider involving a supervisor, manager, or HR representative as a neutral third party to mediate the discussion and find a resolution.
  11. Document Incidents: Keep a record of any incidents involving the difficult person. This can be useful if you need to escalate the situation or discuss it with higher-ups.
  12. Self-Care: Dealing with difficult people can be draining. Make sure to practice self-care outside of work to manage stress and maintain your well-being.
  13. Focus on Your Response: While you can’t control the behavior of others, you can control your response. Focus on managing your own reactions and emotions to maintain your own peace of mind.


Remember that every situation is unique, and the effectiveness of these strategies may vary depending on the individual and the circumstances. It’s important to approach these situations with patience, empathy, and a willingness to find constructive solutions.

People can be difficult for a variety of reasons, and understanding these reasons can help you navigate interactions more effectively. Here are some common factors that contribute to people behaving in challenging ways:

  1. Communication Issues: Misunderstandings and misinterpretations can lead to frustration and conflict. People have different communication styles, preferences, and abilities, which can result in difficulties in conveying or understanding information.
  3. Emotions and Stress: Emotional states, such as stress, anxiety, anger, or sadness, can influence how people interact with others. When people are overwhelmed by their emotions, they might not respond in a calm or rational manner.
  4. Different Perspectives: Everyone has their own beliefs, values, experiences, and opinions. These differences can lead to disagreements and clashes, especially when individuals are not open to considering alternative viewpoints.
  5. Personal Issues: People bring their personal problems, worries, and insecurities into interactions. These issues can affect their behavior and attitude, sometimes leading to challenging interactions.
  6. Power Dynamics: Hierarchies, authority, and control can influence behavior. People might resist or challenge authority figures, or they might feel defensive when they perceive someone trying to control them.
  7. Lack of Empathy: Some individuals struggle to understand or empathize with others’ feelings and perspectives. This can lead to dismissive or insensitive behavior, making interactions difficult.
  8. Insecurity: Insecure individuals might exhibit defensive behavior, become easily offended, or struggle with accepting feedback, as they fear criticism or rejection.
  9. Past Experiences: Previous negative experiences, such as trauma or past conflicts, can influence how people approach new interactions. They might be more guarded or reactive as a result.
  10. Cultural Differences: Cultural norms, expectations, and communication styles can vary widely. These differences can lead to misunderstandings or clashes if not acknowledged and respected.
  11. Lack of Social Skills: Some people might not have developed effective social skills due to various reasons, leading to awkward or challenging interactions.
  12. Desire for Control: Some individuals have a strong need for control, and when situations are not going their way, they can become difficult to work with.
  13. Personal Goals and Motivations: When people have conflicting goals or motivations, it can lead to competition, misunderstandings, and difficulties in collaborating.

It’s important to remember that everyone is complex, and these factors might interact in different ways for each individual. Practicing active listening, empathy, clear communication, and conflict resolution skills can help you navigate challenging interactions more effectively. Also, remember that addressing your own responses and reactions can contribute to smoother interactions, even in difficult situations.