Why Is He/She so Difficult

Michael by Michael Thompson

Published Sat, Apr 14th 2018, 19:35 | Self Help

We all know some difficult people, don't we? It's frustrating enough when there are people that we deal with casually, but it is worse when they are members of our family or a boss. If these people are coworkers, it's irritating, but we can possibly keep interaction with them to a minimum. If they are people we can't get away from, it takes a little skill to deal with them and come out unfrazzled.

How many of these types are familiar to you?

  1. The Big Bully.
  2. The Come From Behind Artist.
  3. The Volatile Volumizer.
  4. The Know It All Non-Listener.
  5. The Wishy Washy One.
  6. The Yes Me To Death Fraud.

These fairly familiar types show up in all walks of life as coworkers, family, neighbors and friends. They can terrorize and paralyze you. You don't like working with them or even talking to them.

Luckily, you can outsmart them and help them. If you understand them and then use some easy strategies, you have a good chance of keeping peace and getting what you want done.

No longer do you have to suffer in silence while your frustration builds up. You may have thought this was your only option, but it isn't.

What Makes Some People Difficult?

The first thing we need to do to improve relationships with difficult people is to understand where they're coming from. People behave based on what they're thinking. Their behavior can change very quickly as their thoughts change, but understanding their frame of mind is the place to start.

Everyone has a wide range of behavior including normal behavior and  behavior under difficult circumstances. In their book Dealing with People You Can't Stand, Dr. Rick Brinkman and Dr. Rick Kirschner talk about intent being at the root of behavior. They believe there are four types of intent: getting it done, getting it right, getting along, and getting appreciation. Depending on what they want at the time, difficult people can shift from one of these states to another.

You can easily tell where people are coming from by looking at their communication style. In the "get it done" mode people are focused on a task to be completed. Communication is brief and to the point.

In the "get it right" mode focus is on the details of the task, with documentation to prove the task has been done correctly.

In the "get along" mode the person is considerate of others' feelings and opinions.

In the "get appreciated" mode the person has an elaborate style that calls attention to himself.

Clearly, if people who are working together have the same communication style, it would be smooth sailing. Problems arise when people with different communication styles or intent are working together.

For instance, when people want to "get it done" and it's not getting done, they become more controlling. The Big Bully, The Ambush Artist, and The No It All Non-Listener all become more controlling when they feel threatened.

When people want to "get it right" and are afraid it's being done wrong, they become more perfectionistic. The Deep Deep Freeze, The No, Not, Never Person, and The Complaint Central Person all become more perfectionistic when they feel something is being done incorrectly.

When people want to "get along" and think they're being left out, they become more approval seeking. The Wishy Washy One and the Yes Me to Death Fraud become even more approval seeking when they feel they are being ignored or rejected.

When people want "to be appreciated" and think they're not, they become more attention seeking. The Volatile Volumizer and the Think They Know It Alls try harder to get attention when they feel they are not being appreciated.

Have you noticed that while you're reading through this list of the 10 most difficult behaviors, you might have run into yourself? If we’re going to be honest, don't we all whine, complain,  procrastinate about making a decision, and all the other behaviors from time to time? The difference is probably that we don't do it as often as difficult people and we don't do it with the intensity they do. When we see ourselves acting this way, we often deliberately change our behavior.


Difficult people become more difficult when they feel threatened and not understood, so how we interact with them is key to them behaving at their best, not their worst.