Chapter 12

How to deal with difficult people

‘Life is a mirror, if you frown at it, it frowns back; if you smile, it returns the greeting.’

William Makepeace Thackeray

The assertiveness techniques that are described in this book cover many difficult situations. But there are some people you may meet who remain a problem, despite your best efforts at being assertive with them. It doesn’t matter so much if the people you find difficult – the awkward customer, the bad-tempered taxi driver or the unhelpful receptionist – are ones that you encounter only rarely. If, however, the person is a family member or a work colleague and you feel you are constantly fighting a battle with them, or waiting anxiously for the next upset to happen, then ...

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