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How to Deal with Difficult People at Work

Priya Johnson
Coping with difficult people at work can be extremely trying and can suck the fun out of work. Going to work every morning becomes a burden too heavy to carry. Here are some tips on how to get along with difficult people at work.
Who hasn't encountered difficult people in their life? The world is not a perfect place, it comprises all kinds of people, some easy to get along with, while some that can cause even the most patient people to pull their hair out in frustration!
The most effortless approach in dealing with difficult people would be avoidance, however, it doesn't take long for anybody sensible to realize that difficult people are everywhere.
You avoid one, and then you bump into another one in no time! So if you try avoiding all of them, you will find yourself avoiding scores of people all the time. But, what do you do about difficult people at work?
It's not possible to avoid difficult people at work, as your work demands communicating with them on a daily basis? If it's a cocky superior or a boss who makes working difficult by showering sarcastic comments, you cannot even show your frustration. Flying into a rage can only cost you your job.
Even if you leave your job in a fit of rage, there is another set of difficult people waiting to annoy you at the next workplace. How many workplaces are you going to leave? So how do you control your responses at the same time enjoy your work? Moreover, if you are a team leader, managing difficult people at work can be very cumbersome.

How to Deal with Difficult People at the Workplace


We've heard  'Be patient with the difficult ones', a lot, but sometimes even the most patient people want to pull out their guns and shoot the one making their life difficult. However, this attribute is crucial. You need to respond to the situation rather than react to them. Do not lose your cool even if the opposing party is flaring with rage.

Don't Say Anything Negative

Unreasonable and difficult people can really irritate and frustrate our core being. We feel like giving him or her a mouthful of how stupid and annoying we think they are. However, this is not wise! It will only aggravate the problem and make things worse at work.
When you find yourself in such a situation, try not to say anything negative, no matter how difficult it is. Control your temper and do not say things in a harsh and angry tone. Follow the 'agree to disagree' rule. Politely, yet firmly tell them how you wish to agree to disagree and put forth your point assertively.

Know When to Let Go

Once you have made your point regarding your stand in a polite and assertive manner, your job ends there. If the opposition party is still adamant about his or her stand, then do not go on arguing. Wise people know when to let go; only imbeciles and immature people go on arguing.
If you are facing a problem with your team member, then politely tell him or her that after hearing his or her point, you still want the job done in the manner you want and it's the end of the matter.
If you are dealing with your superior who refuses to budge, you need to politely tell him or her how you disagree with his or her opinion, but will still go ahead with what he or she wants you to do.
Think about it; no matter how much you argue, yell, refuse to budge, etc. you will still have to do what your superior says, because you work under him or her. So there's no point arguing. Once you make your point clear, let go!


You come out of the meeting all angry and frustrated. You made your point assertively, but still need to go on with what your superior says. It's so frustrating! But now you cannot live with that frustration and bitterness, no matter how unreasonable your superior has been.
You need to forgive! Sounds impractical and too idealistic? Well, harboring bitterness and resentment in your heart against a person will only result in making you a bitter person. You will find release only in forgiveness.
Harboring unforgiveness is like drinking poison with the hope that the other person will die. However, you are the one drinking the poison, so you know who is being affected at the end.
Tomorrow when you face the same difficult person, you should be able to look at him or her without any grudge, not because he's a different person, but because you no longer hold anything against him or her. Forgiving somebody is not easy and will take time, so you have to forgive the person every time the memory of the person floods your mind.
Often the circumstances one faces in life causes one to become and behave in a certain manner. Negative situations, betrayal, harrowing events, etc. cause one to become bitter and angry with life and all people in general.
Not responding to such horrendous situations in a positive manner can cause one to be sadistic and a harsh person, making life difficult for all those around. We need to understand this fact and respond accordingly.
Don't be vindictive and do not tarnish their reputation. Change your perspective about difficult people at work and empathize with them for what they have turned out to become.