We all have someone in our life who drives us nuts! And they are exhausting, frustrating and annoying to deal with—but I have some ways to help.
Here are some ideas for how you can handle the difficult person in your life:
1. Identify the 4 Types
There are 4 different types of difficult people. Think about the person in your life and figure out which category they are in:
- Downers are also known as Negative Nancy’s or Debbie Downers. They always have something bad to say. They complain, critique and judge. They are almost impossible to please.
- Better Thans are also known as Know It All’s, One Upper’s or Show-Offs. They like to try to impress you, name-drop and compare.
- Passives are also known as Push-Overs, Yes Men and Weaklings. They don’t contribute much to conversations or people around them and let others do the hard work.
- Tanks are also known as being explosive, a handful or bossy. They want their way and will do anything to get it.
2. Don’t Try to Change Them
When we meet a difficult person, or if we have one in our family or circle of friends our instinct is to try to change them. We try to encourage Downers to be more positive, Passives to stand up for themselves, Tanks to calm down and Better Thans to be more humble. This never works! In fact, when you try to change someone they tend to resent you, dig in their heels, and get worse.
3. Try to Understand Them
The way to disengage a difficult person is to try to understand where they are coming from. I try to find their value language. A value language is what someone values most. It is what drives their decisions. For some people it is money; for others, it is power or knowledge. This not only helps me understand them, but also helps them relax and become more open minded. For example, sometimes Tanks just want to explain their opinion. If you let them talk to you, that might help them not blow up or try to dominate a situation.
4. Don’t Let Them Be Toxic
Some difficult people can be toxic. Toxic people can be passive aggressive, mean or hurtful. So if you have to deal with them, you can understand where they are coming from and then keep your distance. Toxic relationships are harmful so you need to create a buffer zone by surrounding yourself with good friends, seeing them less and if you have to be with them, do it for the minimum amount of time.
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