How to deal with difficult people

If you cannot deal with difficult people, you will spend your life being beaten to the ground.

Difficult people are, by their very nature, difficult. But it is possible to learn how to deal with difficult people — at work, at home, in restaurants and at social gatherings.

Thankfully, it’s not hard to deal with difficult people if you follow these five simple steps. The following steps, or stages, are cumulative. If, for example, Step 1 does not have the desired effect, move leisurely on to Step 2.

Step 1: Ignore

Upon first encountering a difficult person, you should try to ignore him or her* entirely. This must be done in as complete a manner as possible. In effect, treat the troublesome subject as if it simply does not exist at all. Your sheer refusal to recognize the existence of the person (be they a moron, lowlife, scamp, fuckwit or otherwise) may scupper the onslaught before it gains traction. Be prepared, however, to ignore the person completely and unswervingly for at least five minutes.

*research by QUIMS (Quotient Influence Management Systems) has shown that females are 43% more difficult than men in all common situations. 50% of most people agreed with these findings.

Step 2: Audible Engagement (Nonchalant Non-Verbal)

After at least five minutes, do not be surprised if the subject continues to yap like a small dog. At this point, you may need to engage audibly. However, the engagement should be entirely nonchalant and should not involve actual words. Audible non-verbal responses include bored but thunderous belches, exaggerated yawns and the passing of gas in a lengthy but high-pitched manner.

If such an expulsion of nonchalant non-verbal sound does not work, please proceed to Step 3.

Step 3: Brief Vocal Engagement

Persistent Highly Difficult People (PHIDIPs) will now have entered a state of determined rage. Having largely ignored the subject’s lengthy diatribe up to this point, you can now engage vocally. However, your initial retort should be extremely brief — no more than three words.

Having showed no interest in the subject during the previous at least five minutes, you may now say, for example, “Excuse me?” Speak in a mildly surprised manner that suggests you have only just this moment realized the subject is talking to you — even if there are no other people present. Deliver your response in a heavy foreign accent (like a rural French peasant or like Dracula). Excusee moi?

If the difficult person persists, elevate to Step 4.

Step 4: Heavy Foreign Accent and Limited English

Now that you’ve established a foreign persona, make it clear that you have a very basic command of the English language. Once you’ve done that, you can freely engage in conversation.

The key, however, is to make the conversation as difficult as possible. For example, a difficult person in the workplace may state in an exasperated and threatening manner, “I want to speak with your boss!” You can reply as follows: “You vant to espeek wit my voss? Vot is voss? Is similar hoss?” Carry on in this manner for as long as you can.

Step 5: A Swift Punch in the Nose

By this stage, you’ll probably be deriving some pleasure from the situation (frustrating frustrated people is one of life’s little pleasures). There comes a time, however, when all jokes wear thin. If, for example, you need a beer or a cigarette, you’ll have to end the engagement.

To do this, you’ll first need to form a fist with your strongest hand. Now, punch the difficult person straight and swiftly in the nose. You can then walk away to enjoy your beer or cigarette, safe in the knowledge that you tried to cope with the difficult person in a reasonable and measured way. In the end, however, the difficult person simply deserved a swift punch in the nose.