Maintaining A Stress-Free Life By Handling Difficult People Effectively


We log long hours at work with the fear of losing our jobs through downsizing hanging over our heads. Then we fight rush hour traffic to get home in time to be super-parents, putting dinner on the table, helping our kids with their homework, and checking in with friends and family members we feel we have neglected because we are so overwhelmed. — Denise Cummins Ph.D.

If you are all for efficiency, working with a great team is an advantage. However, that is not always the case. Because we came from different backgrounds, we are bound to clash with some individuals that may be considered as “difficult.”


Working with a “difficult” person brings about a lot of unnecessary stress because your actions may be misinterpreted not only by that person but by others as well. If you are the kind of person to get anxious quickly by the fact of people talking behind your back, here’s how you can retain your productivity while handling difficult people effectively.


Maintain Professionalism

Even if that difficult person attacks incessantly, be the better person and maintain civility. Sometimes, treating these people with respect can also lessen their attacks.

It will also preserve your peers’ high regard and respect for you.


Also, don’t take their attacks too seriously. Just keep your head up high, especially if you know you are on the right. However, consider these criticisms as catalysts to further improve the quality of your work.


Know Your Red Flags

If you want to maintain your calm, you should be able to foresee your “red flags.”

These could mean emotional triggers that will lead you to unleash unprofessional actions.




Awareness of these triggers can enable you to check yourself. These triggers will also allow you to disengage in a conversation when you feel that it will lead to a negative turnout.

 When most of us consider stress, we think of it as a negative force in our lives—one to be avoided at all costs and managed quickly when it appears. As you might imagine, avoidance is not often the best tool for becoming more adept at managing stress when it does inevitably occur. — Mandy Beth Rubin, LPC

Keep Communication Lines Open

Keeping communication is very important, especially if you will have to work with him/her long-term.  It is easier just to assume things. Thus, disagreements and misunderstandings are more likely to rise if you do not communicate with this person (or any other person within your office).


Also, it is especially true if you are working in a team setting. Open communication is beneficial to keep team members posted on your interactions with the difficult co-worker. They may be able to suggest ways on how to interact with him/her, based on their knowledge of the person.


You can be proactive in initiating a conversation with that person and lead him/ her to a constructive dialogue. Listen to the person’s accusations and address them professionally. You may even do this through an email, so you can be able to keep track. Doing this may also pave the way for eventual reconciliation!




Raise Concerns With Your Superior

Of course, it would be helpful if you let your superior in on what’s happening in the office.

If matters get worse, your superior can intervene in the situation and act as a mediator between the two of you. Furthermore, your superior can create specific rules for interaction in the office. In dire circumstances, this may even include inhibiting the person from interacting with you.

A coping response that is grounded in the burgeoning field of positive psychology is proactive coping, which characterizes how individuals detect, interpret, and prepare for anticipated stressors in their daily lives. — Monnica T Williams Ph.D.

However difficult dealing with this kind of people may be, remember that no man is an island. Whether you are working home-based or office-based, you are bound to collaborate with another individual.  By keeping in mind these simple tricks, you can surely save yourself from a lot of stress!


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