Difficult people exist in every workplace. Whether it is a boss, client, or customer, you have undoubtedly faced a situation where you’ve had to deal with an unpleasant person.

You can’t always avoid these people, so it’s important to have the skills to deal with them. Often, you cannot change how a difficult person communicates with you, but you CAN make your workplace a better environment just by how you respond.

Here are a few ways to equip yourself in order to deal with difficult people:

Remain Calm
A lot of the time, situations are heightened simply because we cannot keep our emotions in check. When we feel wronged or attacked, it’s not always easy to remain calm. If you find yourself in that type of situation, excuse yourself for a second and take a deep breath. Lashing out can trigger an already tense environment to become explosive. But when you remain calm, cool, and respectful in the midst of conflict, often it’s diffused all on its own.

Get Perspective From Others
When dealing with difficult people, we can be at a loss of what to do. But odds are we have friends or family that have been in a similar situation. If you find yourself unsure of how to handle a particularly difficult person at work, it may be a good idea to ask for advice from people you trust. Not only will they probably have good insight into how to handle interactions with that person, but they may also be able to give you some perspective that you haven’t thought through on your own.

Establish Boundaries
There is nothing wrong with having boundaries. Boundaries often allow us to remain mentally healthy. Sometimes, depending on the work environment, you may be unable to set clear boundaries on dealing with difficult people. But if you are able, be proactive about how often and to what level you interact with a particularly difficult person. As a result, the times you have to interact with them may be easier for you because you won’t be constantly dealing with their chaos. 

There’s no exact way to handle a difficult person at work. But there are ways to alleviate tension and protect your own mental health when dealing with them.  Trying these different techniques can help you handle the stress and frustration of working with tough people without sacrificing your sanity!