Dealing with Difficult People- Silent People and Busybodies

Everyone knows difficult people, right? That's why a few years ago we developed a presentation to start helping people to deal with difficult people in the work place. We decided this week to share the types and how to handle them. I hope you are learning a lot. It's kind of funny to think of people when you read...and see some things about ourselves, right? :) Silent People

These are people who ignore you, give sullen looks and/or respond to every question with either, "I don't know" or silence because they are timid. They get away with not talking because most people are uncomfortable with the silence and are too quick to fill in the gaps.

Ask them open-ended questions that cannot be answered with just a "yes" or "no" response. Try to draw out their perspective and press for conclusions and responses. If need be, point blank ask them, "Why is it uncomfortable for you to answer my questions?"

Wait at least one full minute before you say anything. This long silence may make them uncomfortable enough to say something. If they do start talking, listen carefully and don't interrupt.

Don't evaluate yourself by their responses. It's more about their timidness than it's about you. Try to find something about them that stands out and comment on that.


This person is zealot to police people's lives! They attempt to force others to conform to their expectations. They are judgmental, overbearing, a gossiper, and a meddler in other people's business.

When dealing with this person, try to commit to sticking to only good, positive information. It's easy to fall prey to gossiping, but try to stay away from doing it with a busybody. Confront them about the facts, and be specific that you only want the facts (what they heard and witnessed). Press them towards personal responsibility. Don't repeat/spread what a busybody shares.

Remember, everybody has some of these characteristics we are talking about this week. But it's when it's to an extreme. If you do identify with some of the difficult people, find some ways to work on that (or ask us for help!) Or if you know of anyone, we hope these tips will help. Tomorrow Joleen will go over the Know-It-All. Sounds fun!! Have a great day!

Written by Natalie Chandler

Natalie Chandler, MA, LMHC is a therapist at Imagine Hope Counseling Group. Natalie enjoys doing marriage counseling, individual counseling, and couples counseling.  We also specialize in family counseling, child, and adolescent counseling. Imagine Hope serves the Indianapolis area including the surrounding areas of Carmel, Fishers, Noblesville, Westfield, and Zionsville