Deal With Difficult People in the Workplace

Whatever you do in life, there will always be difficult people in the workplace. Learning to work alongside them, or finding ways to be civil while maintaining your distance, offers the best chance of dealing with difficult co-workers. Here are some suggestions to help you.

Watch out for control freaks. Often, the best way of dealing with control freaks is to avoid them altogether if possible. However, if for any reason, you find it is not possible to do so, you need to assess your situation and your options taking into account your priorities at the time. For example, you have a colleague who is a control freak but the job is absolutely essential to you then, you may have to find other ways of dealing with him/her while you buy time looking for another job/change in your circumstances.

Always be conscious of the negative impact that a difficult co-worker can have on you. Ultimately it's your responsibility to look after yourself and not give in to his/her tactics.

Develop a supportive network both in and out of work which may help vent your frustrations.

Use humor. Defusing any uncomfortable situation with humor can be a very good defense mechanism.

Most difficult co-workers act that way because they can. They either don't care about the consequences, or there aren't any. If they are making money for the company, the boss will overlook their bad behavior.

Have a Balanced Lifestyle

"Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance and order and rhythm and harmony." - Thomas Merton. Happiness can only be achieved if there is a balance between the physical, the mental, the spiritual and the social/emotional. However, intensity does help on occasion.


Get sufficient exercise. Regular push ups, sit-ups, crunches, jogging or walking are examples. Unless you are disabled in which case you can learn a modified exercise regimen.

Get sufficient rest. About eight hours of sleep helps the body repair itself. You may personally need more or less, as sleep requirements vary between people.

Eat healthier. Look online and find the food pyramid, then try balancing your caloric intake with your exercise. There are several competing food pyramids, so pick one or two because following all of them would be too hard.

Find time to relax. Just lie down and think about what you did before you started relaxing. Think positive thoughts or take up a relaxing hobby like sitting or sleeping.

Pick a hobby that you enjoy. Hobbies can counter daily stress. Unless the hobby is stressful, like base-jumping or self-mutilation. You could try collecting model trains or postage stamps.


Plan out your day, and set goals. But don't stress out if you don't accomplish everything just the way you planned. Remain flexible and try different approaches to your goals. Remember, sometimes life happens, and you may not have time for everything. Just be productive in the time you have.

Write but keep it positive. No negative thoughts. If you have negative thoughts, do not write them down. Find someone you can vent negative thoughts to -- pretending to be happy all the time will do no good for you in the long run.

Find out and develop your talents. Go out and do activities to find what you like and then pursue the one or two that strike your fancy. If you do three of them that will be too stressful.

Keep a diary or journal. This would be a good place to write things. But remember, no negative thoughts.

Read. Try classics such as Shakespeare, Jane Austen, Montaigne, Proust, or Tolstoy. If you are not fond of those, try the newpaper, a fantasy novel, bibliography, or mystery. There's something for everyone- check out your local library to test the waters.

Try to set goals that are reasonable to achieve. Unreasonable goals are harder and will probably just lead to disappointment.


Pray effectively or meditate and learn different types of asana, such as: the lotus, the corpse, the tree, downward dog, the snake, etc.

Communicate with nature. Go outside, hike, go camping, or have fishing trip. You may find yourself doing most of the talking.

If you are religious, study the Bible, Qu'ran, Geeta, Ramayana, Guru Grant Sahib any Psalms, etc. Learn about Heaven and Mahavir, Jesus Christ, Muhammad, Buddha, etc.


Do a good deed for other people.

Cooperate with other people that you meet.

Listen to other people. There is difference between just hearing the words and actually paying attention and listening to them.

Synergize mutually advantageous compatibility of elements, resources or efforts.


Get a good education. To get a good self-supporting job, master the skills necessary for your advancement. That way you will not be dependent upon anyone else.

The job has to be the one you love. "Love it or leave it."

Money is not that important. Happiness is the most important thing. Remember people on Forbes 100 are no happier than average people.