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Dealing With People You Can't Stand

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Dealing With People You Can't Stand

How to Bring Out the Best in People at Their Worst


15 min read
10 take-aways
Audio & text

What's inside?

Ready to punch that office bully? Wait. Instead, try some verbal tactics designed to soothe problem personality types.

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Editorial Rating



  • Applicable
  • For Beginners
  • Engaging


You know these people from the office: the dominating Tank, the undermining Sniper, the explosive Grenade and the smarmy Know-It-All. For your sake, here’s hoping you only have one or two of them running around your cubicle farm. Unfortunately, the work world is fraught with complainers, cheats, toadies and downers. To avoid becoming a downer yourself, you need coping strategies. Authors Dr. Rick Brinkman and Dr. Rick Kirschner describe 10 difficult, if slightly contrived, personalities and provide communications techniques for dealing with them. This is not a textbook, being slim on attributions and facts. It is, rather, a feel-good handbook of simple suggestions for using tactics and popular psychology to deal with someone you’d actually rather strangle. Given that choice, conversation is a better strategy. getAbstract hopes it works for you, and suggests this light but well-intentioned book to human resources professionals, managers with problem employees and you, if you’re feeling particularly homicidal about that knuckle-cracking, gum-popping slacker in the next cubby.


Take Charge Communications

People do not always get along with each other, but you don’t have to be the victim of a difficult person. Take charge of seemingly impossible personalities by developing communications techniques that make them alter their behavior towards you when you have to deal with them.

Most dislikable behavior stems from being too timid or too aggressive. With that in mind, identify the personality types of the problem people in your corner of the corporate world. Then use appropriate communications strategies to defuse and positively re-direct their troubling tendencies.

The Cast of Characters

The first step begins with trying to identify problem personality types, who include the following:

  • Tanks – They epitomize aggressive, in-your-face behavior and are often angry and confrontational. They dominate any meeting or social situation.
  • Snipers – Their specialty is making others look foolish to diminish their effectiveness and credibility.
  • Know-It-Alls – They do not like to be contradicted, especially in front of a group, and will react defensively if threatened.
  • Think-They...

About the Authors

Dr. Rick Brinkman and Dr. Rick Kirschner began their careers as holistic physicians who addressed the emotional and mental aspects of wellness and healing. They co-authored Life by Design, Making Wise Choices in a Mixed Up World, as well as video and audiotapes. Their clients include AT&T, Hewlett-Packard, Texaco, the U.S. Army and the Young Presidents Organization.

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    J. S. 1 decade ago
    I would hope the full book has more specific tactics for dealing with each of the types mentioned. The sound bite nature of the abstract is not so helpful on this topic and if this is a genuine request for help this will not really help more than helping to classify what kind of problem person you are facing