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Difficult People. Make getting the job done harder Can really hurt and confuse you Are usually self centered Lack insight Don’t DO teamwork Cause conflict. Difficult People Can Make Us. Feel angry, frustrated, and powerless Miss work/activities Feel unskilled Lose concentration

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difficult people
Difficult People
  • Make getting the job done harder
  • Can really hurt and confuse you
  • Are usually self centered
  • Lack insight
  • Don’t DO teamwork
  • Cause conflict
difficult people can make us
Difficult People Can Make Us

Feel angry, frustrated, and powerless

Miss work/activities

Feel unskilled

Lose concentration

Lose our cool

Want to quit

Wonder why we chose our profession

the whiner
The Whiner
  • Can’t someone else do it?
  • Complains incessantly
  • Always finds fault
  • Never happy
  • Full of excuses
  • Brings everyone down
  • Very irritating
  • Never wants to work
the tank
The Tank
  • Rude and tactless
  • Aggressive
  • Insensitive
  • Forces others
  • Orders others around
  • Never considers others needs
  • Get what they want
the sniper
The Sniper
  • Keeps track of everyone else
  • Always in others business
  • Loves to spread gossip
  • Agrees with everyone
  • Denies any bad feelings
  • Loves to “help” others
  • Snide remarks
  • Sabotages you behind your back
the grenade
The Grenade
  • Explodes with little warning
  • Always on the edge
  • Poor problem solving
  • Poor long term thinking
  • Usually mostly noise
  • Counts on others to be civil
  • Wants immediate gratification
  • Uses threats to get what they want
the think they know it all
The Think They Know It All
  • Exaggerates
  • Brags
  • Misleads
  • Distracts
  • Legends in their own minds
  • Irritating
  • Hard to contradict
the no and nothing person
The No and Nothing Person
  • Doleful and discouraging
  • Take no chances
  • Always a reason not to
  • Give no feedback
  • Seal their mouths
  • Stare past you
  • No response
what they do
What They Do
  • Take advantage and leave us feeling foolish
  • Drain our energy
  • Let us down
  • Humiliate us
  • Use up precious resources
  • Leave us angry and upset
  • They are not likely to change
narcissistic legends
Narcissistic Legends
  • Knowledgeable
  • Use and then discard people
  • Very controlling
  • Expect special treatment
  • Rigid
  • Low tolerance for correction or confrontation
  • Demand obedience and submissiveness
the obsessive compulsive
The Obsessive/Compulsive
  • Workaholic
  • Can’t relax
  • High standards
  • Extremely organized
  • Difficulty making decisions
  • Rigid and controlling
  • Black/white-right/wrong thinking
  • Finds fault with everything
the paranoid
The Paranoid
  • Few friends
  • Demands absolute loyalty
  • Holds grudges
  • Makes big deal of nothing
  • Angry at even small slights
  • Sure everyone is up to no good
  • Greets every change with


blanch duboise
Blanch Duboise
  • Always depends on others

to do the work

  • Needs constant assistance
  • Never follows through
  • Great at eliciting help
  • “Fragile”
  • Trades on looks or other attributes
anti socials
  • Rules don’t really apply
  • May be charming
  • Good at reading others
  • Give you what you want
  • Unreliable
  • Untrustworthy
  • Take advantage of others
  • Never really produce
know what they want
Know What They Want

Know who you are dealing with:

  • When they want power you feel angry or humiliated
  • When they want your attention you feel annoyed and irritated
  • When they want revenge you feel hurt
  • When they want to be taken care of you feel hopeless, worried and concerned
  • When they just want to win you feel worthless
know their history
Know Their History
  • Have they done this to others
  • Have others had difficulty with them
  • What is their reputation
  • Are they successful at what they do
  • How do others view them
know your goal
Know Your Goal
  • Is this person necessary to you
  • What do you want out of the relationship
  • Can you ignore this person’s behavior
  • Do you need to escape
  • Will confrontation work
  • What limits can you set
  • How will you enforce the limits
  • How can you gain advantage
the lens of understanding
The Lens of Understanding

From: Dealing With People You Can’t Stand

Dr. Rick Brinkman & Dr. Rick Kirschner

cycle of high conflict thinking

Mistaken Assessment of Danger

Aggressively Defensive Behavior

Negative Feedback

Cycle of High Conflict Thinking
listen to understand
Listen to Understand
  • Blend with their style visibly and audibly
  • Backtrack or repeat what you hear
  • Clarify the meaning, intent and criteria
  • Summarize what you hear
  • Confirm to find out if you got it right
speak to be understood
Speak to Be Understood
  • Monitor your tone
  • State your positive intent
  • Tactfully interrupt interruptions
  • Tell your truth
  • Be ready to listen
managing anger
Managing Anger
  • Receiving and absorbing anger - be the sponge!
  • Using deflecting statements – “That may be”, “Be that as it may”, “OK”, “Thanks for sharing that”
  • Coming back to the point
  • Visualizations to do ahead of time – Blue Light, Golden Light
listen with e a r
Listen with E.A.R.
  • Empathy – I’m sure this is difficult for you.
  • Attention – I am here to listen to you and you will have my full attention
  • Respect – I have a lot of respect for your commitment to your child
b i f f for hostile communication
B.I.F.F. for Hostile Communication
  • Brief
  • Informative
  • Friendly
  • Firm
practice new skills
Practice New Skills

Standing Strong

Saying Nothing

“And your point is?”


Using Humor

  • “Agreeing” with the bully
  • Walking away
  • Wise retreat
  • Reporting
  • Making a plan
business like communication
Business like Communication
  • Sticks to the point
  • Is courteous and polite
  • Is always respectful
  • Is interested in getting results
  • Never burns bridges
  • Is not open to provocation
  • Is win/win
dealing with the whiner
Dealing With the Whiner
  • Listen for a limited

amount of time

  • Express respect for the

things they do well

  • Ask them to come up with solutions
  • Change the subject to something positive
  • Express faith that they will be able to master the task
  • Redirect the conversation
dealing with the tank
Dealing with the Tank
  • Stay calm
  • Use a strong stance
  • Don’t back down
  • Ask if they mean to be disrespectful
  • Use I Statements and Reflective Listening
  • Use assertive voice
  • Explain that you will consider everyone’s needs
dealing with the sniper
Dealing with The Sniper
  • Call them out on nasty comments
  • Show interest in their opinions
  • Ask them what their comment

has to do with the presentation

  • Confront their behavior directly
dealing with grenades
Dealing with Grenades
  • Allow one minute to vent
  • Don’t react to insults
  • Take control of the conversation
  • Take a strong stance and assertive tone
  • Get their attention with a strong statement
    • “Hey, I’m on your side”
    • “I understand, but that is not going to happen”
dealing with a know it all
Dealing With a Know-It-All
  • Make sure to have facts
  • Be assertive
  • Counter misinformation in neutral way
  • Keep staff abreast of all new info
  • Confront false facts and information directly
  • Don’t attack their self esteem
dealing with dr no
Dealing with Dr. No
  • Recognize their expertise
  • Draw out their opinions by:
    • Inferring thoughts to them
    • Thinking out loud
    • Staying silent
  • Ask for their help
  • Connect with them on a personal level
specific strategies for fighting vampires
Specific Strategies for Fighting Vampires
  • Get outside views and advice
  • Don’t get caught up
  • Maintain your composure
  • Set limits
  • Follow through
  • Center yourself
  • Do things that feed your spirit
dealing with the narcissist
Dealing with the Narcissist
  • Is this person necessary to you
  • What do you want out of the relationship
  • Can you ignore this person’s behavior
  • Feed their ego to get what you want.
  • Confrontation rarely works
  • Find ways to work around
  • Acknowledge their expertise
dealing with obsessive compulsives
Dealing with Obsessive/Compulsives
  • Appeal to their need for order
  • Give lots of warning and information
  • Connect with their emotional side
  • Help them see the benefits in time and stress
  • Let them have input into planning
dealing with the paranoid
Dealing with the Paranoid
  • Give them lots of warning
  • Give them lots of information
  • Tell them why
  • Reassure them of support
  • Recognize their expertise
  • Ask them to help plan
  • Keep them abreast of all information
dealing with blanch
Dealing with Blanch
  • Show faith in their ability
  • Be direct, clear, firm
  • Set a tone of expectation
  • Empathize with the difficulty
  • Continuously point out strengths
  • Help them see the students as helpless and in need of their expertise
dealing with an anti social
Dealing with an Anti-Social
  • Have a clear understanding of the rules and your own limits
  • Check everything out
  • Don’t fall for charm
  • Resist giving in to their


  • Repeat the rules and limits
  • Never make quick decision
soothing your emotions
Soothing Your Emotions
  • Breathing
  • Talk to someone
  • Art and writing
  • Planning
  • Visualizations
    • Blue Light
    • Golden Light
    • Calm Places
  • Music & smells