Neutralizing Difficult People

Click to play audio podcast

 June 17, 2011


Interview with Ronald Shapiro, co-author of the book Bullies, Tyrants, and Impossible People: How to Beat Them Without Joining Them




Mike Carruthers:
We all have to deal with difficult people; it's part of life. But to be effective dealing with these people, you have to make sure they don't push your buttons. In other words,


Ronald Shapiro:
Neutralize your emotions. Take control of yourself. Do something physical like put a finger on your lip to remind you it isn't personal and you're not going to get personal. And then you begin to take control of yourself.

Ronald Shapiro

Ronald Shapiro, co-author of the book Bullies, Tyrants, and Impossible People...


You do not want to engage in a battle with them. You do not want to flee and run away from them. You want to focus on how you can solve the problem. I'm a person who can lose my temper…with my spouse. I love her more than anything in the world but she might say something to ignite me. And what would I do in the old days? I would come back at her, we'd go back and forth and it would explode. Now I put a finger on my lip or I count under my breath to remind myself that this isn't personal - and I'm not going to get personal. I'm going to start asking her questions and listening in order to help resolve the situation.


And if people are acting outrageous or making impossible demands, Ron says you should call them on it. Tell them you know what they're doing.


But not in a way that sets them off… "Hey I saw that on television, that was like in that show 'Law & Order', good cop/bad cop. That's interesting but there must be a better way we can do this." And then redirect it in order to guide them to a better way to do it. Once you let people know you know they're doing something, they become less likely to do it.




  • Length: 1:44 minutes (1.59 MB)
  • Format: MP3 Mono 44kHz 128Kbps (CBR)
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