How to Deal with Difficult People

Matt Mylin   -  


Do you have any difficult people in your life?

For most of my young adult life, my mindset for dealing with difficult people was simply trying to remove myself from interacting with them. That is not a good plan. I didn’t understand why some people were so demanding. More importantly, I was naive that I was likely a difficult person for someone else to deal with. All people experience pressures in life:

– Job pressure

– Financial pressure

– Family relationship pressure

– Physical or emotional health pressure

When a person is under pressure, they can easily become difficult. I’ve learned over time and through experience that dealing with difficult people will generally help me grow and mature. I don’t want to remove myself from a growth opportunity. Just a side note, I’m not referring to abusive people. If you’re in an abusive situation, please reach out for help.


Long-suffering is the fruit of letting the Holy Spirit work in your life. The Apostle Paul instructs us how:

“We pray that you’ll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth, but the glory-strength God gives. It is a strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy, thanking the Father who makes us strong enough to take part in everything bright and beautiful that he has for us” (Col. 1:11-12 MSG).

If someone is long-suffering, they are behaving calmly and sensibly about a situation they have a right to be very upset or angry about.

Some people can patiently endure difficult circumstances but lose their tempers with a friend or loved one. Moses was an example. He endured the problematic interactions with Pharaoh in Egypt but lost his temper with his people. As a result, he missed out on the opportunity to enter the promised land.

If you find yourself interacting with a difficult person, here are three things to remember that may help you be more long-suffering:

1) The difficult person is a child of God.

2) Dealing with difficult people is a growth opportunity.

3) Thank God for his strength to endure, don’t just grit your teeth.

Endurance is produced from joy in the Lord. Joy in the Lord comes from being thankful. Being thankful in any and every circumstance builds endurance.