How to Deal with Difficult People

difficult people

You will not find it difficult to agree with me that there are people in this life that actually make life miserable both for themselves and for others around them. Difficult people are everywhere and most times they try to dominate and control you. I’ll be showing you how to deal with difficult people.

Think of yourself as the wife of the house, your husband is proving really difficult to live with. What if you as a father, your children tend to be the most difficult ones on the planet Earth. As an employee, your boss seems to be the last man you wish to see each day.

Troublesome people lurk everywhere. They are not really criminals, but they give others pain in the neck. They are the ones whom we might call difficult people. Most of us deal with them every day without knowing who they are, why they are so, and how to deal with them. Knowing them and why they seem to be difficult will equip us in dealing with them, and even in helping them.

The most identified reason why people tend to be difficult is the issue of PRESSURE. When pressures in life start to get out of control, a difficult person is born. Life pressures are common. We all encounter them in certain measures, and the degrees vary each day.

They help us mature gracefully if handled well. But the moment it controls us, we tend to pass the pressure on to others and we become a thorn in the flesh, so to say. Pressure can be overt (coming from outside) or covert (coming from within a person). Difficult people are not necessarily bad people, it depends on how we relate to them.

Below are some of my suggestions on how to go about dealing with difficult people.

This is basically after you have identified the person whoever he or she may be.

9 Ways to Deal with Difficult People

1 – Kill your ego:

The first thing to do is to bring down yourself. Forfeit your rights in the meantime and allow the difficult person to shine. A Chinese proverb goes, “the first enemy to defeat is you”. A Jewish proverb mentions that “conquering the self is greater than conquering a city.” Two people cannot be difficult at the same time; otherwise they cannot do anything together. You make people hate you when you try to show superiority over them.

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Never claim a monopoly of goodness, knowledge, or skill. If in a meeting with people, you consider difficult and you are knowledgeable about a topic while they are not, it is safer to wait to be asked for your opinion. It is also good to politely offer your opinion but do so more on a note of sharing rather than lecturing. Do not allow anyone to say “who asks you?” Never give unsolicited advice. When the self is controlled, any difficult person becomes a piece of cake. So be disciplined to ignore the cravings of your ego. Sometimes our ego may even be the thing that is making others look difficult.

2 – You must have goodwill:

That a person seems to be difficult does not mean you must do everything possible to bring him to earth; at least have Goodwill. Goodwill entails sincerity and honesty (be sincere and honest with yourself and the person), uprightness (do not be shady or dodgy), truthfulness, simplicity, kindness, and charity. Charity as part of Goodwill demands that you do well to the person irrespective of him or her being difficult.

3 – You must love people and praise their worth:

Did you know that hating, disliking and avoiding people are equal to becoming a difficult person yourself? Love breaks yokes. Praising people for their worth and achieving is far from flattery. Learn to appreciate difficult people with the aid of getting to their hearts. It is only when you have won their heart that you can help them. Be certain to take note of their worth and achievements, even if you think differently and have a different idea for success. Appreciate their efforts. Share their triumphs and sad moments. At times, a smile or tap of congratulations or sympathy is enough and speaks volumes. But never overdo it.

4 – Learn to manage pressure:

Learn to let go of things that pressure you. Drop everything and go out for a while. Take a break. Pressure at times can be transferred from a boss to his staff. As a student, a teacher can become difficult to you due to the pressure coming from his many assignments and long lectures. If you are able to manage those pressures coming from him, then such a difficult teacher is already under your control.

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5 – Try not to be a difficult person yourself:

Just as nobody is free from the feeling of pressure, so is also that nobody is free from being difficult. While dealing with difficult people, you must be very careful and diligent not to become a difficult person yourself. Pressures when properly managed can transform people into better and stronger individuals. But when not managed they can stir them to chaotic impulses that create deadlier pressures. People who are able to break through barriers of pressure unharmed come out like diamonds.

6- Learn to smile when you meet with difficult persons and situations:

difficult people may claim to be insulted by your smile but deep down in their souls your smile is making them soft which they do not want to be. So, keep the smile. A good smile always arrests the temper, even that of difficult people. It should be noted that a smile without goodwill is deceit. Let your smile comes from a sincere heart. Most difficult people can be neutralized by a friendly smile. So practice putting on a pleasant, simple, friendly smile in front of a difficult person.

7 – Pay attention to what difficult people have to say:

Do not be too quick to stop listening to their many talks. You must learn to listen to people even when you know they are not making sense. Remember that listening is a virtue. Avoid arguing and talk back only when necessary. You can make difficult people happy when you just listen to them. This is because they feel good talking and seeing people listening keenly to them. They even get to tell you all their secrets. Now when their secrets are told, you understand them better. You know why they are being difficult and the best ways to manage them.

8 – Be respectful:

That someone is proving difficult does not give you the right to disrespect him. The dignity of each person cannot be over-emphasized. In will interest, you to know that difficult people always crave respect even when they do not deserve it. So, respecting them is even a sure means of managing them. Respect people’s opinions, beliefs and rights no matter what they are to you. You must never defame someone simply because you judge him to be a difficult person. You win people’s respect when you respect them. A difficult person will come to respect you if he gets to find out that you speak well of him even behind his back. Respect authorities in their jurisdictions, whether in the office, school, malls, public buses, homes, or lands.

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9 – Learn to say “I’m sorry”:

You must learn to apologize whenever you are wrong. Admit your fault as it is a sign of maturity. Be responsible for what you do. Do not attempt to play the victim; rather you can claim the responsibility for the sake of peace. You will not die when you apologize. You can say the truth, but the manner may be wrong; then apologize for your manners. You can do what is holy, but your timing may be wrong; apologize for the wrong timing. Stop claiming right because it makes people be more difficult for you. You do not look simple, how do you expect people to be simple?


As I said earlier, difficult people are not necessarily bad people. It is a matter of how we relate with them. If you are able to put the above nine (9) points into practice, I am certain that you will have no problem dealing with anybody in the world no matter how difficult he or she could be. Do not think of running away from difficult people because it is not possible. They are everywhere.

Lastly, while trying to manage people you meet, learn first to manage yourself very well because the difficult person might just be you!

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