7 Ways on How to Deal with Difficult People or Situations

At times, we are all forced to interact with difficult people or find ourselves in difficult situations. Here are some tips on how to cope:

  1. Try to observe rather than interact. What is the real problem? Is it words? Behaviors? Emotions?
  2. Be aware of what feelings the person or situation is bring up in you. Are you angry? Sad? Scared? Worried?
  3. Take a step back. Leave the person or situation and review what is happening and how you are feeling.
  4. Discuss rather than vent. Think of a few people whose opinion you value and run the situation by them in a neutral tone. Tell them you want their honest opinion on the person or situation.
  5. Create “experiments”. Think of a few different options for how you could handle the person or situation. Then in your mind, imagine the different outcomes that might happen. Think about how you would handle those outcomes, etc.
  6. Try an experiment. Next time you are with the difficult person or in the difficult situation, try one of your experiments. Take close observation of what happens next. Try to be a neutral observer rather than part of the situation.
  7. Step back again and review. How did your experiment go? Did it change the person’s behavior? Did it make the situation easier to tolerate? Repeat steps 4-7 until you have a strategy that works!

I hope this information is helpful. If you like this approach, you may like working with a Cognitive Behavior Therapist. We would be happy to help! Please call us at 919-636-5240 for a consultation.

Live mentally healthy,
Dr. Jennie Byrne

Dr. Jennie Byrne, M.D., PhD.

You Might Also Enjoy...


There is nothing permanent except change- wise words from a Greek philosopher. We all know this to be true yet we struggle with change and transitions just the same. What is it about change that is so hard?

How To Say No

Do you struggle to say no to people? You are not alone in this.  Some people find themselves stretched thin and hard-pressed for time, yet are unable to decline more demands on their time from others.

5 Myths about Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT)

Dialectical Behavior Therapy, or DBT, has become a popular psychotherapy treatment model over the last few years as more people are becoming aware of it’s benefits. However, that increase in popularity has also led to some confusion and misconceptions

5 Non-medication Ways to Manage Stress

Stress can be a part of everyday life. We often deal with stress at home, at work, with friends, when we travel, at school, etc and we often get worried about our past and our future. Here are 5 techniques to reduce stress with the help of your five senses