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Who is Pushing your Buttons?

Updated on December 28, 2015

We meet people in our lives and, no matter how hard we try, we just cannot like them.

They push our buttons, raise our hackles, make us squirm, they are like fingernails on a blackboard, they constantly challenge our equilibrium.

How you deal with this situation would depend on where you keep meeting this person. An office situation is dealt with in a different way to which you would deal with a neighbor friend, or a friend of a friend.

Occasional Contact with the Person we Dislike

Beside the obvious one of avoidance, let's skim over other actions to deal with everyday unlikeable people who are easy to sort out, such as:

1. People who are distant neighbours or friends of friends of friends are much easier to discourage.When they phone or knock on your door, ensure you are busy, on your way out, cannot stop right now, there are things that cannot wait, or you don’t feel well. Eventually, they will get the message.

2. People who are only friendly when they want something. Let this person know that you are aware of their behavior and when they come to you, ignore their probe into the state of your health, and say, “Yes Ann, – obviously you want something, what is it?” A little harsh, yes it is, but straight to the point. Providing it’s not work related, say you are using it, you don’t lend it out, or you don’t have any available.

3. Toxic people who stop at nothing to get what they want including bullying, passing on guilt, or belittling. Do not accept this behavior, most people know when they're out of line and will back down quickly when confronted.

4 Types of Difficult People - V. van Edwards

People who are more difficult to be rid of

Let's talk about the more difficult people to get rid of – your best friends’ niece, a necessary business associate, someone with whom you have to have regular dealings, the person opposite you in the office.

These are people that can make you feel cornered, diminished and unhappy unless you find another way to handle the situation.

Learning to tolerate people you dislike is an invaluable life skill.

The first thing you have to realise is that you will not change that person – the person who has to change is you. You have to change how you regard the situation and how you react to it. Subsequently, everything else will change as well.

Be aware of the chain reaction of your emotions, and by being self-aware you are subsequently better at understanding the reactions of others. Ultimately, this creates better personal relationships and overall happiness.

Usually we make rapid judgments about the character and intentions of someone else. As humans, we tend to focus on a few attributes of people rather than the circumstances as it’s faster and simpler to stereotype than focus on their complicated entirety.

You Think I'm also to Blame?

Let’s go through different scenarios

In the office

If you have to communicate with this person in order that some part of your work is processed, you will have to think of a way to work with this person. In other words, do what it takes to get the job done and balance out your feelings with reality checks of logic.

You don’t have to sleep with or live with this person; you only have to work with them. In order that your dislike does not permeate and infect the whole workspace, make it work so that it helps fuel your personal development.

There are questions you can ask yourself here:

a. Why do I dislike this person, is it something specific or does the person remind me of someone else?

b. What reaction am I having to the facts of the situation and what could I do differently?

c. Why does this person view things differently to you? Start on their side and work your way back.

d. Would empathy from you improve the situation?

e. Could I improve my communication and listening skills to help manage conflict better? Convey your thoughts in a non-threatening and respectful manner.

f. Could we work on a project together that may help me understand him better?

g. Does this person realise how they come across? Perhaps tell her about the behaviours she can fix, that impact you and your work together.

h. If your relationship is incontrovertibly bad, ask yourself what you can learn from this experience. Many times something you thought was too awful for words turns out several months later to be trivial.

i. If this person is a difficult worker and their attitude has affected a number of people, then take it further. If it’s your business or you are a manager, resolve the mismatch by telling the person they are not right for the job. Communicate clearly, kindly, but firmly. Help them move on to a place where they can succeed.

Success and happiness are not based on power, prestige, or possessions but on relationships with people. The littlest act of kindness you do can change your world.

Dealing with Difficult and Toxic people -

Principles to Remember


Manage your own reaction to the behavior first.

Practice emotional detachment so the person’s behaviours doesn’t bother you.

Spend time trying to get to know the person and better understand what motivates him.


Assume it is all about the other person – you in all likelihood play some part.

Discuss with your coworkers who could be influenced by your negativity or may then think you are a complainer.

Make your dislike patently obvious, this is not conducive to your happiness nor smooth business relations, and could backfire.


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    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 3 years ago

      lifeswirl - Thank you for dropping in and enjoyed your comment!

      imtii, Glad you popped in again - love to read your comments, thank you so much.

    • imtii profile image

      Imtiaz Ahmed 3 years ago from Dhaka, Bangladesh

      It is a very hard thing for me CyberShelley. There are some people that we dislike comes with a helping hand. So keeping good relations with them your points will be very helpful. Thanks for sharing :) Voted!

    • lifeswirl profile image

      lifeswirl 3 years ago from United States

      "People who are only friendly when they want something" yeah right! I've encountered a lot of people like that -- putting up a fake friendly face to get something they want and that's annoying. But I try to control my emotions -- otherwise when I get even with them this will even encourage them to annoy me more. Thanks for you wonderful tips.

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 3 years ago

      ChitrangadaSharan, Thank you so much for your kind comments and visiting my hub!

    • ChitrangadaSharan profile image

      Chitrangada Sharan 3 years ago from New Delhi, India

      Good suggestions on handling people we dislike!

      We can have control on our own behavior, not of others. Sometimes, an introspection is required to know whether we are also responsible or am I doing something wrong!

      Thank you for sharing this thought provoking hub!

    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 3 years ago

      Eiddwen, Thank you so much for visiting Eddy and your comments.

      DDR, Glad you visited and I appreciate your time Devika.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 3 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      People we dislike can be annoying and so difficult. Your ideas sounds most helpful

    • Eiddwen profile image

      Eiddwen 3 years ago from Wales

      Great advice here Shelley and I am sure we could all benefit from remembering this advice. Great hub and thanks for sharing.


    • CyberShelley profile image

      Shelley Watson 3 years ago

      FlourishAnyway, Thank you for your good comments underscoring tolerance. As always appreciate your visit Flourish.

      billybuc, Thank you for visiting, and it's hard to do the right thing sometimes. My husband says my face tells the story even though I think I am maintaining a straight one. Obviously I'd be no good at poker LOL

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 3 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Good suggestions, Shelley. I would do well, at times, to remember this article. :)

    • FlourishAnyway profile image

      FlourishAnyway 3 years ago from USA

      Like it or not, we all play a role in conflict. We can change our perceptions, attitude, or behavior but definitely let the other person be in charge of their own. I like your recommendations.