How to Deal with Difficult People


Difficult People

Another year and those people are still in your life, if not in your face. Could this be the year you change that? How might you do so?

Difficult people range from mildly annoying to impossibly infuriating and in some cases even dangerous.

I’ve posted two recent articles about forgiving. Now that you’ve worked through the forgiving part 😉 how do you deal with the person who may be a frequent presence in your life?
Posts – “Joy Through Forgiveness” and “Joy of Forgiving”

Mildly Annoying People

You may be in a situation where you cannot avoid the person. If you can ignore the person you probably need to read no further.

My three children each had troublesome peers to deal with growing up. They lived in a very different time frame than the one in which I grew up. I might be better able now than I was then to help them, primarily because I have a better understanding of human nature and personalities. I’ve also learned ways to deal with difficult people myself. One lesson I’ve learned through first-hand experience is to do all I can to keep a distance between me and the people who cause me mental suffering. This isn’t always easy. Sometimes your nasty is a coworker, a relative or an ex. Then you have to plan ahead and take charge of your life circumstances.

When doing so you might consider that all people want:

  • to be heard,
  • to know that you care, and
  • attention.

Some try to be heard and get attention in the most obnoxious ways. It is much easier to deal with people who are just obnoxious. Avoidance is a most effective technique.

Dangerously Difficult People

The more problematic is what to do about people who have caused you pain, physically or emotionally. These people may be risky for you to associate with. You have to decide whether or not to allow the person into your personal circle. That is a key decision for you to make. And make it you must. Indecision is crippling. If your difficult person is a real nasty you may have to cut ties for your own safety. It may mean loving from a distance. (Or you may want to read my post coming up on “Acceptance.”)

In a previous post, “Setting Boundaries with Difficult People” you will find valuable points on handling the real nasties in your life.

Women have a gut intuition that we have, unfortunately, been taught to ignore. More and more research shows that we should trust the messages that our intuition sends us.

A year or so ago my husband and I were about to board a plane home and were definitely ready to be back. As we waited at the gate area we noticed a man pacing back and forth and wearing a thick hooded coat in summer weather. Others in the area were also watching him and getting nervous. My husband, Sam, went to the desk and spoke to them. Their response, as you might expect, was, “We can’t do anything about it because he passed through security.” A young man with a wife and child went and spoke to him, explaining that he was making people uneasy. Nothing gained there either. Sam even spoke to the pilot as he passed through and he said nothing he could do about it. So Sam and I decided we wouldn’t take that flight. We were following our gut instinct and good sense. We never found out what happened on the flight, but I know one thing. I didn’t spend an hour and a half in terror. The suspicious man may not have been a terrorist, but something was definitely wrong with him-he was a difficult person.

Chances are your difficult person is someone you know personally. I do hope that you have a plan for dealing with your person so that you have a year filled with the best of what life brings.

Life Coaching can help you deal with difficult people. To schedule a free “Discovery” Life Coaching session contact me at

Gail in purple speaking with hand gesturesI raised three children as a single mother before I remarried. I have experienced the potholes, pests, and perils of being the single head-of-household. As an educator in regular and special education for twenty years I know a great deal about child development and how to handle kids. I am the founder of SMORE for Women, a nonprofit whose goal is Single Moms, Overjoyed, Rejuvenated, and Empowered. I’m also a Certified Professional Coach and my stories have been published in several Christian books and magazines. My book, Living Learning Loving is available on Amazon.

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