Have you ever had to deal with a difficult client or co-worker?

We surveyed every caregiver who completed the In the Know course on “Dealing with Difficult & Combative People” about their personal experience in these situations.

Here’s what we learned:


of caregivers reported that they have had to deal with a difficult client, and


said they’ve had to deal with a difficult co-worker.

It sucks your mental energy.

Dealing with difficult clients and co-workers can take a toll on you. Your job is stressful enough without the added mental energy it takes deflect, ignore, or attempt to defend yourself against these unnecessary assaults.

That’s why we gathered the 10 best tips from the course to pass along to you today!

10 tips for dealing with difficult people:

1. Pick your battles. Try hard not to overreact when dealing with a difficult person. Ask yourself, “Is this issue really worth making a fuss about?”

2. Let things go. When you work with people who have given you trouble in the past, try to start fresh every day. Forget about what happened yesterday, last week, or last month.

3. Keep your cool. If someone is yelling at you or complaining loudly, try standing still, looking directly at the person and waiting. Give the person a chance to get all their anger out.

4. Take ten. Remember that old “rule” about counting to ten? It really does work. The next time you feel angry or upset with a co-worker, breathe slowly and count to ten—before you speak. You’ll feel better about the way you handle the situation.

5. Be the boss. Don’t allow other people to control your moods. If you do, you are giving them tremendous power over you. So, if you’re in a good mood, don’t let someone else’s grouchy attitude bring you down.

6. Be your own cheerleader. The next time you have to work with a difficult person, give yourself a little “pep talk.” Tell yourself, “I’m ready for this. I can handle whatever happens today. I will not get upset, no matter what.”

7. Play it back in your head. If you saw a videotape of yourself from a recent confrontation with a difficult person, would you be embarrassed by your own behavior? If so, how would you like to see yourself behave in the future?

8. Keep your word. It’s always best to avoid making promises that you can’t keep—especially with “difficult” people. If you tell them you’re going to do something, then do it. And, if you have to break your promise for some reason, be sure to apologize.

9. Know your triggers. We all have certain “pet peeves,” most of which developed during our childhoods. For example, maybe your mother always nagged you to keep your hair out of your eyes. One day, a co-worker says to you, “How can you see with your hair in your eyes?” It’s an innocent question, but it sets you off because you’re sensitive to it. (And, you’re not really mad at your co-worker, you’re mad at your mother!) So, think about the little things that tend to bother you and try not to overreact when someone at work does them.

10. Save your strength. Don’t waste your energy trying to change people who behave in a difficult manner. Instead, work on changing the way you react (or don’t react) to their behavior.

Hey, Caregiver! Do You Buy Your Own CEUs?

Want more tips like this?

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