The silent type:
Some people can be in a social setting yet choose to be unsettlingly quiet. These people have mastered being able to take part in a conversation as little as possible. You can communicate with these people effectively by encouraging their participation or just simply being patient with them – wait for their response!
The boring type:
Instead of staying silent, these people will corporate in a conversation by being extremely under-stimulating and, well, boring! At a social event they may go into detail about their favourite movie no one cares about or resists suggestions for a new activity. To deal with these people try changing the subject, ask deeper questions or try to show genuine interest!
These guys’ go-to conversation style is complaining, they always appear drained and have the outlook on life that the glass is always half empty. An example of this could be ‘Life is so unfair, guess what happened to me…’. A way to deal with this is through suggesting solutions, and showing them that there are strategies to not live a bad life.
Pessimists are very similar to whiners, however instead of complaining after the event, they complain before. They always expect the worst. They will often say things like ‘That’ll never work’ or ‘That sounds too good to be true’. Ways to combat this can be by encouraging a balanced perspective.
The ‘yes’ people:
These individuals find it hard to say ‘no’ to anything and everything. This is usually due to their fear of missing out. They may say ‘whatever you think is best’ or readily agree to plans before hearing what’s properly happening. To avoid this, you can make it known that they can say ‘no’, or point out that it’s okay to express their own needs.
The ‘maybe’ people:
For these people, ‘maybe’ is their standard response. They’ll say ‘I might come’, ‘I’ll see how I feel’ or ‘Let’s discuss this later’. A way to deal with the ‘maybe’ people is to narrow down their choices to make the decision process less daunting or encourage clarity by showing it’s okay to have definite options.
The ‘no’ people:
This person is similar to the other 2 above, yet they are opposite. These people will automatically say ‘no’ to plans and seem uncooperative. They may reject ideas by saying ‘that won’t work’ or express negativity by saying ‘That’s impossible’. Instead, you could show them the benefits of the idea, or encourage some open-mindedness.
The nothing people:
The nothing people avoid making decisions at all and often come across as disinterested. They may regularly avoid engagement like choosing not to interact with others and when asked about their feelings will say ‘I don’t care’. To deal with these people you could ask them about their opinion and show that you want their encouragement.
These guys are easy to spot because you won’t be able to get a word out when speaking to them! This habit is usually out of excitement or impatience. But the people they speak to will often feel pure frustration. To combat this issue, you could kindly ask them to stop, or simply practise patience… but it’s hard!
The know-it-alls are self-explanatory – they think they know it all! Of course, it’s good to be confident in a conversation, but it can become problematic if it comes across as arrogance. They will constantly correct people and dominate the conversation. A way to deal with this is to acknowledge their knowledge, but encourage humility – show them that everything’s a learning curve!
While it’s most commonly associated with abusive behaviour from a spouse, you don’t need to be in a relationship with someone for them to gaslight you. It refers to an effort to distort memories and downplay your emotions to avoid a conflict, it’s about somebody controlling your reaction. Stand strong in your resolve and don’t let them manipulate you.
These are a specific kind of difficult, as they’re not as repellent as some people. They are energetic, driven, and used to taking charge, which makes them an excellent friend to have around. Sometimes they have too much energy though, and are liable to take charge of conversations and plans. They can be reeled in with honesty, reminding them they need to slow down.
Some introverted people will latch on to those more social that they get along with. This isn’t an issue exactly, it’s nice that somebody sees you as a personable and comforting presence, but it can get a little much! If they’re a good friend, you can take your time trying to get them to open up to others and foster their independence.
The outside voicer:
Sometimes it can take a drink to power the amplifier, but most groups have one friend who, isn’t exactly rowdy or a nuisance, but can’t seem to keep a cap on the noise. Depending on the situation, you can just remind them where they are in a friendly way, and ensure that your volume stays consistent and hope they take your lead.
Thanks to skyrocketing anxiety rates, everybody has a bit of this person inside them, making them easier to deal with. Neurotic types will internalise everything through a web of self-doubt, ultimately making everything about them. Like many anxiety-driven behaviours, comforting them and prompting them towards more logical conclusions can help.
The powder keg:
One of the more volatile and destructive kinds of personality, these tend to have short fuses and explosive tempers. This leads to everyone around them walking on eggshells out of fear of setting them off. This is a deeply abusive and unfair dynamic, and unless they are willing to seek professional help, there’s not much you can do for them.
Though it’s a behaviour mostly attributed to teenage girls, that unfair association ignores that everyone, of all ages, is capable of becoming this. Obsessive tendencies manifest in hyper-fixation towards Taylor Swift, K-Pop, a politician, a brand… genuinely anything. This can stunt communication topics, but some guided questions usually distract them from talking about Succession.
The clear artificiality that ‘alphas’ conduct themselves with makes it difficult to navigate conversations with them. People who see themselves as in, or feel they deserve, control of a room, often exude a confidence that mismatches their position. Confusion is the most common reaction, which is often quite agreeable so the alpha feels they have won. Simply push back and watch them crumble.
These people will have their entire day itinerated and timestamped before their coffee is at drinking temperature, and of course, they nailed it with about 32% accuracy. Planners hold themselves back, sometimes out of fear or anxiety, by trying to control and organize situations they can’t predict. Try and encourage spontaneity, plan something to have them think on their feet for a change.
This usually comes from a good place, openness isn’t a weakness and it’s good to share your feelings with people. But, there is a time and a place for that, and outside of it people tend to get uncomfortable. Those who do this are usually introspective and aware they do it, so there’s nothing wrong with a gentle reminder that it’s not appropriate.
The decision maker
While they’re not exactly bossy, they always have a particular idea of where they want to go or what they want to do. You can recognise them by their insistence bordering on stubbornness, and while they do go along with alternatives they’ll spend the time comparing it to their version. Remind them to try and enjoy the present moment, and get them engaged.
The overly superstitious
Everybody is entitled to their beliefs, and you should even respect them unless you’re given an actual reason not to. But some are more forceful for cautious due to their beliefs, and that does affect your relationship with them. You should never feel forced to accept something you don’t believe, but depending on the relationship there might be some small concessions you can both make.
Clearly, we need some standards to hold people to, that’s why we have courts, allegedly. The issue with judgemental personalities is they lack the empathy to step outside themselves and reflect on how little they know about the situation. Our perceptions are inherently flawed, and some people need reminding of how prone we are to confirmation bias.
The takes things way too far
Several behaviours fit this type of person. It could be a friend who insists on staying out drinking when clearly, everybody has had enough. They could be impulsive and aggressive, incapable of de-escalating a situation like an adult. The context is always important, but it’s usually a bad idea to enable anything that could be a destructive cry for help.
Nobody is born bigoted, it’s a thought pattern shaped largely by their environment and upbringing, as well as thousands of other things we can’t measure. Bigotry in close relationships, like a couple or a friend group, often gets overlooked, but if you care about them you should try and reach out. It’s never acceptable, and it can be difficult to pull people from deeply held beliefs.
Spending time with people whose main area of interest is their friends’ lives can be a little exhausting. It’s nice to know what everybody is up to, but when the conversation steers towards their personal lives and issues, it can get quite invasive. It’s easy to steer the conversation away with questions, and don’t then repeat what they have told you.
The mother hen
Though we associate this personality with women, there’s nothing to stop anybody from being overbearing in their nurturing. It’s another attitude that likely comes from a good place, but it’s detrimental to everybody. When relationships are too nurturing, it takes away your ability to grow and develop for yourself, so remind them you need your independence.
To a degree, everybody constructs different personalities and modes of speaking and acting, depending on who we are around. You might have heard someone answer the phone with a voice you have never heard before, this is a similar phenomenon. Sometimes they become quite adversarial to show off humour or aloofness, which is where it crosses a line.
The won’t tell you how they feel
It’s a struggle opening up to people, particularly when you’re not entirely sure how you feel and need time to digest it. These kinds of individuals have such anxiety surrounding their uncertain emotions, it creates an entirely new issue where they shut down and won’t communicate. “I won’t tell you, you have to guess” is a ridiculous request. We’re normal, non-telepathic humans.
The nickel and dimer
While ultimately understandable, it can nonetheless be exhausting to deal with people who are, to a fault, penny counters whether it’s splitting a bill between a group, or even non-financial situations like favours and IOU’s. They will give precisely what they get and nothing more, and though being reminded of the bigger picture can help, it’s a deeply ingrained behaviour.
Being spoken down to as an adult evokes a very specific and quiet fury. It stems from the kind of main character syndrome that fuels a lot of abrasive personality types, they simply don’t consider that you (fully sentient, autonomous) have put in as much work to be where you are as they have. Respond with authority and reinstate yourself in the conversation.
The overly affectionate
This could be the person who asks where their hug is every time you see them, or a partner who engages in something akin to love bombing. While affection is nice, it has to be wanted. Our evolving understanding of consent shows us the importance of bodily autonomy, and there’s nothing wrong with voicing your discomfort at any unwanted physical or emotional affection.
The takes the office everywhere
There are times in life when prioritizing work makes a lot of sense. That does often come at the expense of personal relationships if for no other reason than the excess stress associated. That tension is core to understanding those relationships put under strain by work-related matters, understanding why it’s happening and seeing if there’s any support you can offer. Remember your boundaries, though.
While snakes are unfairly used as a label for all sorts of duplicitous behaviour, here we can simplify it to its Biblical/Jungle Bookical connotations. Someone who manipulates others to do things they shouldn’t. It could be cheating on a partner, to give them something or get closer to someone, and you shouldn’t tolerate these kinds of people in your life.
The friend zoner
This applies to people who use terms like ‘friend zone’ without a hint of irony. It’s anyone who invests themselves in a relationship expecting that some kind of reciprocation is inevitable. Relationships, and people, don’t work like that. The issues are immaturity and a lack of empathy, which are exceedingly difficult for any one person to fix,
Some of the most difficult-to-navigate relationships are those that have some inherent imbalance to them. There are many reasons you can’t simply cut unreliable people out of your life, often the issues are temporary, but they can still demand a lot of energy from you as you try to help. Depending on the source of the issue, professional intervention could be necessary.
The sore loser
Sore losers tend to be overly competitive and overestimate their skill. It shows a lack of humility that somebody can’t accept even a minor, inconsequential setback without looking for somebody or something else to blame. It helps to remind them of the relative triviality, and for more serious setbacks perhaps lend a hand if they’re close to you. Avoid mentioning mistakes their mistakes initially.
The passive aggressive
Passive aggressiveness usually stems from uncertainty. When somebody doesn’t know whether or not to be offended by something, they need to adopt an attitude of plausible deniability while they figure out what they feel. Nobody says that, though, and it’s best to bite the issue in the bud and ask them sincerely if they’re okay before they make start making assumptions.
There’s a reason “constructive” criticism isn’t just called criticism. It’s a very specific thing that not everybody knows how to do, and that’s fine but in that instance, it’s best to just apologise and remove yourself from the situation. Effectively dealing with hypersensitive people doesn’t have to mean walking on eggshells, try being affirmative and guiding in your engagements with them.
This is another difficult one because usually, they’re not doing anything wrong per se. They just exist as life passes through them, either intentionally or as a result of detachment. It can be a struggle to see someone you care about seem so unengaged with life and often averse to help, but often time and presence are the best things you can offer.