9 Tips for Handling the Difficult People in Your Life

There will always be people in your life that seem impossible to deal with. It could be that relative constantly posting nonsense on social media, that coworker who makes you dread coming into the office, or a messy roommate who never cleans up after themselves.

At some point, everyone will have that person in their life who they can’t deal with and yet cannot get away from.

So, what can you do to deal with difficult people?

Focus on The Problem, Not the Person

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I came across a quote years ago that resonated with me: “If you are willing to look at another person’s behavior toward you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time cease to react at all.” ― Yogi Bhajan

In other words, you should start thinking of the conflict as a problem you can solve, not as a person you cannot force to change. Especially if you are in a situation where avoiding them or cutting them out of your life isn’t an option, such as a coworker, neighbor, or family member.

Reframing your thinking this way can help you find more effective solutions and approach the whole situation more objectively and with less emotion. It allows you to view the problem from a different perspective and take a more proactive and constructive approach to overcoming your challenges.

Communication Is Key

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People say they like someone who says what’s on their mind but then can suddenly be offended when they hear the person’s views.

Direct communication is important for resolving conflicts, but you should do it in a way that is focused on solving problems rather than attacking the other person. When you’re having a discussion with someone you disagree with, always keep the objective of resolving the issue in mind to avoid allowing communication to boil over into traded insults.

You may solve your problem by speaking directly to the person who is annoying you. For example, tell them, “I am working on part 1 of the project alone,” or “You cannot leave your shoes in the doorway.”

Hopefully, you’ll find the other person is cooperative in reducing the annoying behavior.

Find Common Ground

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No matter how much people fight, arguments can quickly dissolve when something happens to remind them that they share a common goal. So figure out what each other really wants.

Your coworker may never communicate with you, but you both want to complete the project. Or you argue with your spouse and kids about the household chores, but you all want clean clothes and delicious meals.

Finding the shared goal can shift the focus away from the conflict and towards finding a solution. It can also foster a sense of teamwork and collaboration, which can improve the overall quality of the relationship.

Offer Solutions

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No one wants to hear you complain. So when you have an issue that needs to be fixed, don’t just whine about it—offer solutions.

When you propose potential solutions to a problem, you take ownership of the issue and demonstrate a willingness to work toward a resolution.

For example, if you’re frustrated by the lack of communication within your team, propose setting up a regular team meeting to keep everyone informed and updated.


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Compromising can be a powerful tool for moving beyond differences and working together to find a solution that satisfies everyone—at least to some extent.

So figure out what you’re willing to give to get more of what you want, even if you only want that person to leave you alone. If you are working on a project with a coworker you don’t get along with, for example, you could divide tasks based on your different skills and work separately.

Control What You Can

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Ideally, both sides will come to some agreement or compromise, but that’s not always possible. If you don’t have that commitment from the other person, you’ll need to set boundaries to cope and protect yourself.

A good example would be to set limits on how much time and energy you spend dealing with the conflict or others involved and follow this limit. Don’t let it consume you!

Think Long Term

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It’s doubtful that you will only have one conflict with a difficult person. Chances are that another disagreement will happen again, or they’ll never let go of this first dispute—especially if you two never resolved it.

When dealing with difficult people, it’s important to remember that their behavior often arises from deeper underlying issues. Individuals hold onto grudges or resentments, so you need a long-term plan.

Finding the answer will require patience and persistence. You may need to adapt your approach and try different strategies until you find one that works.

Protect Yourself From Their Negative Influence

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How you handle toxic people in your life says a lot about you. So how do you respond to their negativity? Are you resilient and able to handle them gracefully, or do you get pulled down to their level?

If you consistently let them get the best of you, take a step back and reflect on your actions. Perhaps you’re not setting clear boundaries, or you’re not being assertive enough.

By learning from your actions and reactions, you can take steps to improve your responses and become more effective at handling the negative people in your life.

Know When to Walk Away

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Despite your best efforts, sometimes the best thing you can do is walk away from the situation and the person. You might not be able to avoid them forever, but you can avoid them for the moment. And a break might be exactly what you need.

You can return to the situation with a calmer head and might come up with an idea that could resolve the issue.

Don’t Let “That Person” Ruin Your Day

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Dealing with difficult people is inevitable and can be a challenging experience that tests our patience. However, there are several strategies that we can use to effectively handle dealing with people we can’t stand.

Ultimately, we shouldn’t let one person’s negativity ruin our day… or week… or month…

Don’t let difficult people bring you down! With these effective strategies, you can handle anyone, no matter how challenging.

Improve Your People Skills

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How you interact with and relate to others can impact your success in life and your career. No one wants to work with someone who is negative and always complaining, and no manager wants to hire or promote someone who is rude, temperamental, or unreliable.

Strong people skills help you navigate the day-to-day tasks, office politics, and team projects you face at work. Here are 18 easy ways to improve your interpersonal skills.

Work Alone Instead

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Don’t want to deal with people? Get a job where you work alone! From data entry jobs you can do from home to working late nights at a hotel as an auditor, here are ten relatively low-stress jobs that allow you to be alone.

Amanda Kay, the founder of My Life, I Guess, provides valuable career advice and support for anyone striving to make a living and, more importantly, make a life. Whether it's navigating job searches, learning new skills, overcoming unemployment, or dealing with debt, My Life, I Guess has been a go-to resource for career guidance and financial stability since 2013. Amanda's expertise and relatable approach have been featured in trusted publications such as MSN, Credit.com, Yahoo! Finance, the Ladders and Fairygodboss.