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Dealing with Difficult People

The Six Types of Difficult People...
and How to Avoid Conflict with Each.

  1. The Backstabber.
    The backstabber is someone who betrays confidences. To protect yourself against backstabbers, be friendly and cordial without spilling your guts and revealing your innermost thoughts.
  2. The Know-It-All.
    The know-it-all is usually a person who feels superior to everyone else because of intimate, firsthand knowledge of their business. When dealing with the know-it-all, be polite and as non-combative as possible. Acknowledge the know-it-all's advice and opinions with a quiet "I see," or "I appreciate the advice."
  3. The Martyr.
    Martyrs spend a great deal of time moaning, sighing, and complaining about their problems, long hours, and hard work. The best way to handle martyrs is to give them the words of sympathy they feel they deserve but seldom get. Once they receive the attention they've been craving, martyrs are likely to lighten up and complain less.
  4. The Manipulator.
    Manipulators get others to do their jobs for them through trickery, charm, or by eliciting sympathy. What do you say in response to these maneuvers? Some possible replies: "I'd be glad to help you, but I'll have to clear it with my boss," or "I'd love to help, but I'm swamped today, too."
  5. The Gossip.
    There's at least one in every office: someone who loves to talk about and judge what everyone else is doing. You can discourage this kind of verbal garbage by tactfully refusing to listen to it or contribute to it. By stopping the gossip before it starts, you'll get across the message that you're not interested.
  6. The Overseer.
    Overseers are people who, when they give you a job to do, won't let you alone to do it. Once the overseer understands that you'll do a better job when let alone, he or she will probably be more willing to give you some breathing space.

Source: American Media's How-To Book, Managing Conflict at Work.