We all encounter people we find difficult, and typically conversations with them leave us feeling stressed and frustrated. This workshop explores what is happening in those exchanges and demonstrates how people can adapt their strategies to bring about more productive conversations with those they find difficult. Individual approaches for dealing with difficult people will be discussed, with an emphasis on understanding and adapting one’s approach to create different results. Participants will explore how to deal with patterns of passive-aggressiveness, resistance, and chronic anger, and how to begin to change difficult patterns using a straightforward, five-step approach.

About This Workshop

Some of the Topics Included

  • Who is a Difficult Person?
  • Shift Judgment to Curiosity
  • The Cycle of Escalating Difficult Behaviour
  • Approaches for Dealing with Difficult People
  • Strategies for Dealing with Bullying Behaviour
  • Skills for Dealing with the Passive-Aggressive Person
  • How to Defuse the Angry Person
  • Strategies for Dealing with the Resistant Person

Target Audience

This is an introductory-intermediate level workshop.


Half-day version
The half-day version includes a framework to address difficult behavior patterns. The half-day version does not include bullying behaviors and has less emphasis on skill development.

One-day version
The full-day version of this workshop includes all four difficult behaviors, a framework for addressing difficult behavior patterns, as well as time for reflection, discussion, and skill building.

Method of Delivery

Presentation, video, case study exercises, experiential practice, personal reflection, and small group discussions.

Learning Objectives

At the end of this workshop, participants should be able to:

  • Understand their own areas of influence and control in their difficult relationships with others
  • See how their personal style may impact their conversation with a person they find difficult
  • Apply a practical approach for dealing with four different types of difficult people, including the Chronically Angry Person, the Resistant Person, the Passive Aggressive Person, and the Bullying Person
  • Develop a plan to positively engage with a difficult person they have identified