003: 6 Ways to Handle Difficult People [Podcast]

I am sure some of us at times wish we could escape to the mountains and live as far as possible from certain people. Sorry, it’s just not how life works. Difficult people can exist in every area of life, including work, home, friends, and extended family.

how to handle difficult people

Here are 5 difficult personality types that many of us have to deal with throughout our lives:

  1. The negative person – The “sky is always falling” and the world always seems to be coming to an end.
  2. The controlling personality – They always seem to have an agenda and it always includes you doing something for them.
  3. The angry person – You walk on “pins and needles” with this personality. We can also call them a “walking time bomb.”
  4. The space cadet – We often are not as aware of this personality type. They “live in their own world” and want to do their own thing, which often makes them difficult to manage.
  5. The thumb sucker – They wallow in self-pity and you always seem to be lifting them up. They have low self esteem and don’t think they can do much of anything.

6 Ways to Handle Difficult People


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Items discussed in this podcast include:

  • The 5 dominating personality types
  • How to make room for other’s faults
  • Why you should choose to see the best in people
  • Why sometimes you have to let others face the consequences of their actions
  • How to surround yourself with positive people
  • When to create relationship boundaries
  • How to find common ground with any personality type

Whether it is at our place of employment or in our family circle, we all have to learn how to deal with difficult people. Each of us can name names of difficult people that we have to interact with on a regular basis.

While there is much advice out there among relationship experts, I am just going to share with you some relationship tips I have learned over the years.

By the way, I am not writing this post because I am currently dealing with a difficult relationship. I just thought it would be a helpful topic to cover for my audience.

Assume the best in others

This can be hard to do at times, but I think it is an important life skill to master. We do not always know what is going on in the lives of other people. Sometimes people behave badly because of deep personal struggles that are going on in their lives. We ought to instead choose to see the best in others. A good question to ask is “What do I admire most about ________?”

Make room for other people’s faults

This concept piggy backs off the first point. If you want to learn how to deal with difficult people, then you must learn the art of making room for other’s faults. Just like it is discussed in the Bible, we as humans are so quick to judge others when we have glaring weaknesses of our own. We need to make room for other people’s faults and be more critical of our own shortcomings instead of just making excuses for our own behaviors.

Let them face the consequences of their own decisions

This may sound harsh but it is not intended to be. Some of us feel the need to always fix other people. That does not always work. Sometimes allowing them to face the consequences of their decisions is the best route to take. They will learn more through their own failures.

Be determined to find common ground

I just believe down deep that there has to be something that we can agree on. When you are dealing with a difficult person ask the question, “Where is the common ground among us?” Then you can start from there.

Create a distance if necessary

There is nothing wrong with creating a healthy distance between toxic people. You must do this with the right motives and intentions. It is not because you are better than they. You do this because you choose to not let their attitudes and actions impact yours.

Surround yourself with positive people

You need to counter-balance the negativity by surrounding yourself with people who are spirit-filled and display positive thinking. This will help you from falling into the same downward spiral as others.

Those are some of the ways of how to deal with difficult people.  Use them all or just take a few. Start applying them today to the difficult relationships that you maybe currently facing.

    Jonathan has been blogging since 2009 and is still in awe that the Creator of the Universe desires to have a relationship with him. His passions include spending time with his kids, reading, March Madness, surprise get-a-way trips with his wife, and watching funny YouTube videos.

    Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

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    7 thoughts on “003: 6 Ways to Handle Difficult People [Podcast]

    1. Here is another type.
      The Elitist- they seem to always want to judge you and put you down by comparing their success and resources to yours. They have a hard time being happy for you or celebrating with you when something good happens in your life but always want to “share” their good news with you. When you bring up your blessings, they either tend to ignore you or quickly point out something negative in your life- anything to keep from celebrating because they are often comparing and have a need to come out on top or have the best/ at least better than you. It’s as if when you acquire something great, they get insulted or threatened and therefore, cut you down.

    2. These are some great ideas Jonathan. I’m always amazed how people confuse setting boundaries with being unkind. Yet, it’s unkind to allow someone to continue in destructive or unhealthy behaviors.

      What I normally suggest to my counseling clients with setting boundaries is to first empathize. “Help me understand what this is like for you. Yes, I can see how you could feel that way.”

      The second step would be to set a limit — your limit. NOT – “But you can’t …..” Or “You need to stop …”

      Instead, you could say, “I’m willing to work with you on this project/situation, but I can only do it if you’re not cussing at me.” Or: “I’m willing to watch the grandkids, but I can only do it on Tuesdays and Thursdays.”

      Lastly, it’s good to give choices that fit with what you’re willing to do. “Would you like me to babysit Tuesday? Or Thursday?” “Would you like to discuss this later tonight? Or do you think you can speak more calmly in an hour?”

    3. I have walked on eggs for 27 yrs. and I cannot take it anymore. My spouse is a sociopath and narcisstic. Everything I say he says I am starting an argument. He turns facts around believing his line is the truth. Where do I go from here. I am 67 yrs. old and retired. I would like some happy peaceful years in my life I have left. I have reached a point where I don’t want to look at or come in contact with another male for the rest of my life. They certainly are NOT created in the image of my God.

      • So sorry to hear about your situation. Obviously, there is no one, padded answer that I can provide to solve this. Would he be open to counseling? Have you tried that route?