How to Deal with Difficult People When Walking Away is Not an Option

Jun 2, 2015


Even if you’re the kindest, most understanding person in the world, there’s always that tendency to encounter difficult people. They can be a family member, friend, workmate, or even your boss. No matter how hard you try to get along well with them, there would always come a time when you can’t help but get upset or irritated with them. If you’re dealing with a difficult person at home, in your circle of friends or in an environment that you’re constantly in, what would you do? Consider these five tips.

  1. Learn to listen

  2. Typically, we tend to simply ignore a difficult person. However, this can result to bigger problems along the way because the more you don’t take notice of them, the more they will try and get your attention—and this can be even more infuriating.

    Often, difficult people have a lot of baggage and this is probably why they also hurt people around them. Just like bullies, they probably resort to bullying as a way of responding to the stress they experience at home or from another person. A lot of factors are actually involved why a person becomes difficult to deal with.

    In reality, there will always be people who have a hard time saying what they want. That’s why they resort to expressing themselves in such a way that we can’t easily understand. One of the ways we can help them is to take time to listen to them and find out where they’re coming from just like how we normally listen to people we like and get along well with. Sometimes, all a difficult person needs is someone who listens.

  3. Stay calm and don’t let them get into you.

  4. The best way to deal with an unreasonable person is to remain calm, so that you can properly think of ways on how to handle the situation. Take a deep breath and try to relax before you communicate with the person about the issue at hand. This way, you can avoid escalating the situation into a heated argument. If you think that you can’t calm yourself down right away, it’s best to let some time pass before you talk to the person.

  5. Don’t take the person’s words or actions personally.

  6. When you deal with a difficult person, you might feel that their actions and words are always directed at you. Always remember that it’s not your character being reflected, but theirs. If you take the situation personally, you will only get offended and you will end up reacting negatively towards them.

    You don’t need to accept, much less, like their behavior or reaction. You don’t need to adjust just to fit right into their perception. All you need to do is let them express themselves without resistance. This way, you can avoid conflict and even learn something from the situation.

    I used to have friends who like to joke around and say words that can really get into my nerves. From that experience, I learned how to lengthen my patience and not let them ruin my mood. Now, it’s just easy for me to deal with similar situations; I learned not to fight back and just go with the flow and laugh about it or snap back with a witty retort or joke.

  7. Help them face their problems.

  8. It’s easy to avoid people who always complain about their problems just so you won’t get affected by the negativity in their lives. However, if that person is a loved one, it wouldn’t be wise to just let them be and not help them. If you’re in this situation, simply offer advices on how they can deal with their challenges. You don’t need to be an expert because ultimately, your goal would be to offer them a listening ear and shoulder to cry on without judgment or criticism. Otherwise, you’ll just add more insult to the injury, and it can make the situation worse.

  9. Learn when to stop and set boundaries.

  10. If you already tried all the ways just to get along with difficult people, you have every right to distance yourself from them. It can be draining to face them and if you think you’ve done enough, you can detach yourself for a while and just trust that everything will eventually be okay in time.

    My sister and I don’t get along well before. We used to fight a lot and say hurtful words to each other. We have a huge age gap and often, my mom was always in favor of me, which was probably why she was so irritated with me. As a result, we simply resorted to not minding each other. It lasted for almost five years, but when our father died, we had a chance to restore our relationship as siblings. As the eldest, I reached out to her and our relationship gradually became better.

It’s very challenging to deal with a difficult person especially if you’re always with them because they’re part of your family or they’re close friends of yours. It’s not easy to turn away from them especially if you love them and have their best interest at heart. If you’ve tried everything to help them but still to no avail, maybe it’s time you stop because you can’t control their behavior. If you keep on trying to change them, you will only be more frustrated with them. But because you know better, just try your best to understand them. If you simply try to be there for them, this may be a way to encourage them to treat others better, even gradually. In the first place, they don’t need a person to tell them to change. What they need is a person who will show them that they are loved and accepted regardless of their character and imperfections. Believe me, love and compassion can transform a person or situation, regardless of how impossible it seems.

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Aris Moreno is the owner of, a blog that aims to inspire and motivate people to be positive and happy. Life was not easy for him in the past and he went through different problems, but because of a positive disposition, he was able to rise up and overcome his trials. These experiences became his guide and inspiration to write meaningful articles in his blog. For him, being able to give direction and encouragement to others is what gives him genuine joy and happiness. It’s also his way of giving glory back to God for all the blessings that he continues to receive.

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