We have all dealt with difficult people at some point in our lives.
If you have come across someone who is difficult to handle, you are not alone. We have all had our fair share of people who criticize us, bring us down, and refuse to communicate like adults. While everyone is different, Vanessa Van Edwards writes that you can group difficult people into four distinct categories:
These people are negative and pessimistic. They always have something to say as they are the first to criticize and judge you. In addition to this, they complain incessantly and are always unhappy. Downers are also known as “Negative Nancys” and “Debbie Downers”, Van Edwards writes.
2. Better Thans
Is there someone in your life who is always trying to compete with you? If so, you might have a “Better Than” or “One Upper”. This person will belittle all of your accomplishments in an attempt to make you feel inferior. Moreover, they will always try to prove that they are better than you. Unsurprisingly, being around this person can destroy your self-esteem.
The “Passives” or “Yes Men” do not contribute in conversations or at the workplace. This makes them difficult to work with as they stand back and wait for others to do the hard work. Being in a team with such a person can be especially frustrating as you know that all the responsibility will fall on you.
These people are bossy, judgmental, and controlling. They expect everything to go their way and they will stop at nothing to ensure that they get what they want.
How do you cope with a difficult person?
1. Identify who you are dealing with
The first step to figuring out what you should do is to identify what type of difficult person you are dealing with. Think about the way they make you feel and what makes them hard to be around. Is it their negative energy, their need to be superior, their passive nature, or their constant control?
2. Do not try to change them
When you identify what it is that makes this person difficult, your instinct will be to change them. Unfortunately, you will not succeed. No matter how much you want to help someone, they will never change as long as they do not see the need to do so. It is important to note that trying to change them might only make your relationship even more difficult as they may grow to resent you.
3. Try to understand them
Although this is easier said than done, try to be patient and understanding. Put yourself in their shoes and see things from their perspective. For example, the passive person might just be anxious and shy. Similarly, the “better thans” seek validation and approval due to their insecurities. In any case, being able to understand them can change the way you view them.
4. Walk away if they are toxic
There is a difference between a person who is difficult and one who is toxic. While you may understand and accept someone who is hard to deal with, it is almost impossible to maintain a relationship with someone who is toxic. If they are aggressive, manipulative, or hurtful, you should walk away.