Office 101: Dealing With Difficult People

Office 101: Dealing With Difficult People

We’ve all been in that position. Whether you have an office job, a job in retail, a teaching position, it doesn’t matter. There are difficult people everywhere you go, especially when you’re trying to get a job done. Unfortunately, it often happens that part of your job is to deal with, and sometimes even work with, these difficult people. In these cases, it’s important to keep your cool and take care of it – for the sake of your job and for the sake of your sanity. For those times when you don’t think you can lock it down and stay levelheaded, here is a list of helpful ways to deal with the stress of all different kinds of difficult people.

9 Tips For Dealing With Difficult People In the Workplace

1. Don’t Let Problems Fester, Deal with Them ASAP

This is particularly important when dealing with people who actually work with you on an everyday basis. It’s incredibly important to maintain a civil relationship with those you work with because no one wants drama in the office. If you face the problems that come up as soon as they become problems, you’ll feel a lot better immediately, and you can avoid holding grudges and blowing what should be a small problem out of proportion.

2. Let Go of the Small Things

This also applies most to people you are in constant contact with at work. If you already have problems with someone, the things they do will start to eat at you, and you have to keep in mind that their actions are extra irritating just because of their demeanor. Simply being aware of this will help you to better deal with these situations.

3. Have a Stress Ball

A stress ball is a great way to work off the stress you feel coming on. When the person in the cubicle next to you just isn’t pulling their weight or the teacher down the hall asked you to cover her lunch period again, squeezing a stress ball is a great- and low key- way to calm down.

4. Work Out Before or After Work

Working out releases feel good endorphins that make you happier in general, but working out also releases tension and aggression that you hold about the difficult things and people in your life. If you punch out and feel like you need to punch something, head to the gym and take a boxing class! It’s much more productive than the alternative.

5. Have Some of Your Favorite Snacks Within Reach

Eating is essential to life, and it’s also a source of comfort for many people. Chewing on a handful of your favorite snack (especially if it contains chocolate) can help your brain focus on something other than how angry the kids in your 6th period English class make you when they completely disregard your favorite poems.

6. Keep Reminders of Things That Make You Happy in Your Work Space

Many people have a happy place, a pet or significant other that makes them happy, or children that are the sunshine in their lives. Keep photos or reminders of these things on your desk or in your apron to make you smile even when the man at the table you’re waiting on insists he asked for three pickles, not four.

7. Play Your Favorite Feel-Good Music

Music is another source of happiness, and it is a proven mood booster when you hear your favorite song. Try to keep the music either upbeat or soothing. Something too hardcore might just end up being the soundtrack for a day full of plotting against the guy who can’t seem to remember to restock the ink in the copy machine when he’s done with it.

8. Take Deep Breaths Before You Act

Before trying to deal with something stressful, try physically stopping and taking a few deep breaths. This gives you time to clear your head and calm your brain functions before diving into the mountain of paperwork your principal just dropped on your desk that “MUST be completed before tomorrow morning”.

9. Find a Calming Activity to Cool Off

Whether it’s the crossword, reading, writing, or playing an online game, having something entertaining and relaxing within reach is always helpful. When the workday gets really long and it seems like everyone around you is doing their best to make it longer, it’s important to take breaks for your brain. Too much exertion of the brain and body without breathers can lead to feeling overwhelmed and even more stressed out.


You are now armed with all of the tools for being totally levelheaded and chill even when the most difficult people in your workplace stress you out to the max. Everyone de-stresses differently, and it is also important to experiment with different methods and see what works best for you personally. Once you know, you’ll have the coolest head at the office, and nothing will be able to throw you out of whack.

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This article was written by Kate Stefanski. Kate’s no stranger to difficult people in the workplace, but her calm nature and level headedness has always gotten her through the worst of situations. With writing as her stress outlet, Kate is a part-time professional content creator for To read more of Kate’s work, visit her Google+.

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