6 Ways to Deal with Difficult Personalities



We all have at least one person in our lives that strikes a nerve. No matter what they do, we recoil or think the worst about their intentions. We’ve already made up their story line about how they’re trying to make our lives a living hell.

As a coach, I’m supposed to operate without judgment, but I’m human and it’s a daily practice to not revert into past middle school antics. Now that I’ve lowered your expectations, I’ll tell you what’s worked with me to navigate a world filled with people who don’t flow on the same current as me.

1)      Chill the F@$% Out – I have a piece of artwork near my door that highlights this point. Nothing is that serious, yet I can have the tendency of shifting urgency to unimportant situations.

2)      It’s Not About Me – If someone’s having a bad day and vents or has a nasty look on their face, 9/10 it has nothing to do with me. For that 10% if it has something to do with me, unless that person wants to address it, I keep it moving.

3)      Acknowledge that Everyone Has Their Own Crap – We all have our own baggage that we’re coping with. Whether it’s trust issues, insecurities or fear, we’re doing the best we can to make it through unscathed. It’s not a pissing match to see who has it worse off or who has it easier.

4)      Open Up – Once we get through acknowledging our crap, we can drop our guard and stop being an untouchable hard ass. Funny thing is, when we start sharing our most vulnerable experiences, most people will exhale and share with you.

5)      Offer Support – If someone has a difficult personality, they’re usually protecting themselves from a past hurt and push people away before someone hurts them. If you see them challenged by something, offer a hand or ask how you can support them. Even if they decline, the intensive of the trigger will lessen from them.

6)      Change Your Route – If you don’t have to be around the person, but find yourself running into them and getting triggered, shift your route and routine. It may seem like an inconvenience, but I would argue that being fired up and annoyed will take more out of you.

My guess is no one wants to be viewed as difficult, but unfortunately, we don’t know how to get out of our own way. A little compassion and empathy goes a long way, but if the person impacts you on a toxic level, you have every right to stay away and avoid the situation. You are only in control of you and can only change your thoughts, beliefs, behaviors and actions.