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Personality Styles Are What Make People Easy Or Difficult To Get Along with

How do your personality styles affect your relationships? How do you even know how you seem to others? Last week I took the Difficult Person Test to measure my personality style and determine how hard I am to get along with. It was fun to explore the questions, but not a scientific measure. The test is limited to the level of antagonism you project as the definer of whether you are difficult or easy to get along with. Turns out I am not antagonistic, but that doesn’t necessarily make me easy to get along with. I do have my own quirks, after all.

The test is just one way to look at personality styles and how they affect human interactions. Personality styles are your way of communicating and expressing yourself. Some people are accepting and easy-going. Others are complainers, or entitled, or critical about everything. Your personality style may get in the way of finding or keeping love, doing well at work, making friends and much more. If you think it’s always the other person who’s difficult in your life, you probably need to take a close look at yourself.

Can you honestly tell what your personality style is like for others? How do you define the difficult people you deal with? Plenty of people in my life are not so easy to be with, but only I can gauge their difficulty level for me. How do I manage my feelings and behavior when confronted with the people who push my buttons and wind me up? One tip for managing difficult personality styles is to analyze where it’s coming before engaging.

First Let’s Define Antagonism

Antagonism, the low pole of Agreeableness, is defined by combativeness, grandiosity, callousness, and distrustfulness. It can be correlated with antisocial behavior, aggression, and the lying associated with substance misuse. In many cases, fighting, anger, and aggression are the hallmarks of alcohol and substance misuse. But lack of agreeableness can also be your mother who doesn’t drink, your cousins, your friends who don’t know any better, or people with personality disorders. Here’s are some categories of difficult personality styles that are just not agreeable.

Personality Styles On The Difficult People Test

Callousness is characterized by lacking empathy or concern for others. People high in callousness typically have deficits in genuine social sentiments and are often experienced by others as coarsely uncivil. In other words, they often make people feel uncomfortable.

How To Cope With The Callous Personality style

First understand where it’s coming from. Sometimes being or seeming callous is a question of having poor communication skills. Where did this person grow up, and who mentored him/her? Some people don’t know what appropriate and civil words to use for every occasion. Kindness may represent weakness to them. They may never have experienced kind or compassionate behavior themselves and never had loving mentors. What if they have been brought up by narcissists or bullies? They will appear to lack empathy. If their behavior is more than careless and unknowing, but rather reveals a cruel and hurtful nature, it’s better to detach and keep your distance. On the other hand, callousness can be a component of Asperger’s or trauma. In this case, it’s not personal to you. In the case of poor communication skills, patience and understanding on your side can help you. You might offer some guidance to your loved one about how to achieve more positive and caring personal expression. Specifically, offer a gentler way to say things.

Grandiosity: When someone scores high in grandiosity, it may reflect their belief that they’re superior to others. They have an inflated idea of themselves and feel entitled to special everything. They are exhausting to be around.

How To Cope With Grandiosity

Who hasn’t come across people who have inflated sense of their importance. They talk incessantly about themselves and their projects and what great things are coming up for them. Grandiosity is not endearing and rarely noteworthy. Those who are truly gifted and successful are more likely to be humble about themselves and generous with their praise and treatment of others. Personally, I think grandiosity often comes from a deep sense of insecurity, but it doesn’t have to be enabled by you. You can discount all the self praise, unless you’re being excluded from recognition that you deserve, in which case the person in question is, yes, toxic. When someone constantly has to tell you how great they are and make you feel less than, it’s your invitation to back away without bowing. You don’t have to stick around to listen.

Aggressiveness is the tendency to behave rudely and with hostility toward others. Aggressiveness may be doubly hurtful to others if combined with callousness, since the aggressive person may thus be both intimidating and unfeeling in their demeanor.

Aggression is a Toxic Personality Style That’s Best To Avoid

Not to put too fine a point on it, aggressiveness is only valuable when fighting in court for the underdog. There’s no upside to it. Aggression is intimidating and scary. Aggression invites conflict and violence with every encounter. Nothing is without comment and argument. Aggressive people won’t listen to your point of view and will bully you into whatever action or belief they think you should have. Aggressiveness makes you more than a difficult person. The only way to cope with people who act out their aggression is gray rock them. Just don’t rise to the bait. You can ignore them or pretend to agree. Next step, avoid them altogether. If you have an aggressive mother or father or sibling, you may need treatment to heal from the trauma.

Suspicion is the tendency to harbor a strong and unreasoning distrust of others. Suspicious people often question the motives of even those who act loyally and devotedly toward them. Such people are often reluctant to open up to others and may interpret kind-hearted gestures as attempts to deceive them.

Coping With Suspiciousness and Paranoid Personality Styles

Here, again I would say that this characteristic doesn’t necessarily make a person difficult. Millions of people have good reason for having a suspicious nature, and it can be a useful quality for survival in many situations. I’m thinking here of those who have fled war, those who have been victimized financially, those victims of abuse and domestic violence, and children of alcoholism and drug addicts. Being suspicious of new people and even relatives and friends is only natural when there is no good reason to believe or trust people. If you have loved ones or friends who are suspicious of everything, try to understand the cause. You can prove that you are worthy of trust, or accept that distrust is a part of this person’s make-up. True paranoia can be pathological and a symptom of a mental illness.

Manipulativeness is the inclination to exploit others to derive benefits for oneself. Manipulative people take other people for granted and use them to realize their own wishes and goals, thinking little of interpersonal reciprocity or the rights of others. Such people often exhaust and frustrate those around them, since they give little in return for the services and favors they extract from others.

How To Deal With Manipulative Personality Styles

There are many levels of manipulation. Not everybody who gets you to do things for them are toxic. Manipulation is a hallmark of substance and alcohol addiction along with chronic lying, so if there is an addict in your family or circle, expect to be manipulated. Check out Al-Anon for understanding and help. Lazy people can be manipulative to avoid work. Kids can, and do, manipulate parents to get what they want. Bosses manipulate employees in many ways, including threats and sexual harassment. Manipulation is particularly challenging for people-pleasers who hate to say no or hate confrontation. Empaths tend to worry about other people’s feelings and consequences when they say no. Anxious people who agonize over potential negative consequences of saying no also have trouble with manipulators.

Here’s where it’s on you to assess what you can tolerate and what you can’t and shouldn’t. Can you leave your job? Is your family’s demanding too much hurting your emotional health? You can learn detachment from fear of hurting someone. It’s hard but creating boundaries can ease the stress of living or working with manipulative people. Gray-rocking is a new term for not taking the bait, for playing dumb, for getting neutral and just not being emotionally available. I love the idea of a gray rock being pounded by other people’s storms and demands and just acting immovable. Hard to learn when to hold people close and when to gray rock, or disappear.

Dominance is the tendency to put on airs of superiority and talk down to others. Domineering individuals have a strong desire to be seen as leaders and often react with combativeness when they cannot get what they want. They frustrate others by meddling in their affairs and with their attempts to control the decisions of those around them.

How To Cope With Dominant Difficult People

Just the word dominance is unpleasant. Who wants to be treated like a child and constantly directed? Children hate it, and so do adults. I don’t like being told what to do, or not having choices in a relationship. Dominant people can be leaders, good parents, and they can be very helpful. They can also be intrusive and controlling. Who is your dominant person, and what can you do about it? Say it’s a father or husband who won’t let anyone else manage money or make choices about restaurants, vacations, or what to buy. Can you negotiate? Maybe not.

You can express your need to take turns making decisions. If your loved one has an open heart, he or she may be able to let go. It takes practice and patience for someone who thinks they can do it better, to let you have a go. If it’s a high functioning mom who tries to be helpful but is actually controlling, you can try the same technique. Everybody needs to do things for themselves, to learn how to make decisions, even if it means making mistakes. Dominant people can step back and learn new tricks if you learn to expressive yourself in a healthy way. If they’re dominant, manipulative, and aggressive, too, you won’t be able to change them. Don’t even try.

Risk-taking is the propensity to engage in risky behavior for the sake of experiencing thrills. People high in this trait impulsively seek sensations to overcome boredom, and often get pleasure from shocking others with their adventures and stunts. Risk-takers often make those around them ill at ease since their actions may have consequences for others as well as themselves.

How To Cope With Risk-taking people

These are the too-fast drivers, the sky divers, the extreme sports enthusiasts. They are also the gamblers. Risk takers are often addicted to the thrill of being close to death or injury or loss which makes them feel alive. It’s a brain reward thing, like alcohol, drugs, shopping too much, gambling, and food addictions. How to cope with them? Is this a difficult person you can influence in any way? No. It’s a person who will not respond to you requests or demands or begging to stop. It’s the same as an alcoholic who can’t stop drinking or a hoarder who can’t stop accumulating junk that will never be used. Detach emotionally. It’s the only way you can keep your own sense of peace and serenity.

Take the Difficult Person Test

Check Out More articles to Read

Who Should We Call Difficult People

How To Deal With Cravings

Baby Steps for Creating Boundaries

Signs of Passive Aggression

How Narcissists Play The Victim


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Leslie Glass

Leslie Glass became a recovery advocate and co-founder of Reach Out Recovery in 2011, encouraged by her daughter Lindsey who had struggled with substances as a teen and young adult. Learning how to manage the family disease of addiction with no roadmap to follow inspired the mother and daughter to create Reach Out Recovery's website to help others experiencing the same life-threatening problems. Together they produced the the 2016 ASAM Media Award winning documentary, The Secret World of Recovery, and the teen prevention documentary, The Silent Majority, distributed by American Public Television. In her career, Leslie has worked in advertising, publishing, and magazines as a writer of both fiction and non fiction. She is the author of 9 bestselling crime novels, featuring NYPD Dt.Sgt. April Woo. Leslie has has served as a Public Member of the Middle States Commission of Higher Education and as a Trustee of the New York City Police Foundation. For from 1990 to 2017, Leslie was the Trustee of the Leslie Glass Foundation. Leslie is a proud member of Rotary International.