14 Phrases That Can Help Anyone Deal With Difficult People

Difficulty in people can take many forms. David Brown describes such types as control freaks, perfectionists, creative, aggressive and submissive. But it’s important to remember that each person can be unbearable sometimes and you can prevent misunderstandings by using some simple words.

We at Bright Side wish for everyone to solve conflict successfully and found phrases that can help you deal with a problematic person.

1. Show that you understand and ask to hear more if a person is angry or upset.

To reduce tension and make a person feel calmer, you can use empathy. Think about the person you’re talking to and complete the sentence with, “It must not be easy.”

For example, if your colleague is very angry about new obligations, say, “It must not be easy to be a manager of such a big company.”

Also the phrase, “I understand” doesn’t always work. It is better to say, “To understand you even better, tell me more.”

2. Say words of gratitude.

If you need to tell your boyfriend that he needs to do something more or you need your colleague to rework something, start with appreciation by saying, “I truly appreciate what you do. You have done this part perfectly. There are some things that can be improved. Let’s work on it.”

3. Be softer with your words instead of pushing a person.

Don’t push a person if you want something. It’s better to try a “soft” approach. For example, if your friend is free and you need her to go with you to buy a new dress but she’s feeling lazy, say, “I would love for you to come with me. Unfortunately, I can’t pick a dress out by myself.”

4. If a person is too pushy, say that you need time.

You have a right to think to make a proper decision, so it’s better to stay calm, straightforward and maybe repeat again nicely, “I need time to think. I hope you understand me and my wish not to make a mistake.”

Changing the subject and ignoring the issue doesn’t always work.

5. When someone is screaming at you, state that you’re not okay with that.

They may be your boss, but understand that it doesn’t give them the right to treat you badly. State that you’re not okay with the way they’re speaking to you but in a polite way. You can say, “Yes, I understand you’re angry but I am not okay with you screaming at me.”

6. Don’t accept, “Sorry, but you...” Instead, say that you’re open to discussing things.

Blaming is not a solution, even if you did something wrong, and it’s always better to find a constructive way to speak. Say, “You’re right. I’m happy and open to discuss my mistake but without yelling.”

7. Warn about the fact that you’ll go away if someone is too aggressive.

An aggressor can say that you’re stupid and it can turn into a quarrel if you respond with the same energy. A good phrase to say is, “If you treat me with disrespect I’m not going to talk to you. It’s your decision about what to do.”

Of course, it’s necessary to follow through with what you say if the aggressor keeps spitting out offensive words.

8. Break the ice with humorous phrases.

Your neighbor never says hello and complains a lot about you even though you don’t make any noise. Just next time try to smile and make a joke. Humour is powerful! Say, “I’m not stupid. I’m just saving my energy!” But it’s important not to be sarcastic.

9. When you don’t like something, speak nicely about it.

Passive aggression can be fixed with a phrase like, “It’s okay, I’ll deal with it myself.” So next time, when your roommate finished your milk again, instead of just being just nice and letting it go while you’re really angry, say, “It’s okay, but we need to reconsider our shopping list.”

10. Ask for respect when someone criticizes you too much.

If there’s a person who always criticizes everything, including you, and you feel like you’ve had enough, yelling won’t help. First say the name of the person, pause, and ask, “Can you please be respectful about my things/feelings and be more welcoming toward me?”

11. To make another person understand you, talk about feelings.

Instead of constant blaming and attacking with phrases like, “You never understand me,” or “You always make a mess at home,” try using the words “I feel.” For example, if your boyfriend always throws his socks on the floor and you see it again after a long working day, say, “I feel so exhausted today and want to explode when I see you throw your socks on the floor. But I really don’t want to quarrel.”

12. To calm someone down, ask if they need your help.

If there’s a person who feels anxious, don’t try to give them any pieces of advice. Instead, it’s better to ask, “Is there anything I can do for you?”

13. To compromise with a colleague, talk about you both.

Use the phrase, “Both of us need to” to show that you want to share responsibility and don’t blame only one person.

For example, if you’re having a discussion with your colleague about a part of their job that wasn’t done well, You can say, “Both of us need to do our best to get a good result.”

This phrase can also work in your private life.

14. When you try to find a compromise but nothing helps, suggest to take a pause.

You stayed calm, straightforward, and didn’t place blame but still, a person may behave like a spoiled child. In cases like this, call it off. The discussion can wait till tomorrow or even the next week. You can say, “Since we can’t agree and find a solution, can we continue talking another day so we can think of better options.”

Do you have a difficult person in your life with whom you can’t find a common language? Do you have your own phrases that help you to escape conflict or misunderstanding? Please share your experiences with us below!

Illustrated by Alena Sofronova, Natalia Tylosova for Bright Side
Share This Article