Some people are just a handful to deal with. Cranky co-workers, rude salespeople, nosey neighbors. Here are four tricks to help turn impossible people into pussycats:

  • For the person who won’t take no for an answer: Keep it brief. Instead of just saying “no”, we tend to hem and haw and offer lengthy explanations for why we can’t do something. By simply saying “thank you, but I can’t” you can put an end to a person’s pesky pleading.
  • For the control freak who’s trying to take over: Stand up for yourself – literally! Staying seated symbolically gives your rival the upper hand. So stand up and tell them you have things under control. It shows authority and they’ll leave you alone.
  • For the person who keeps telling you “no”: Give them an option. For instance, if a salesperson refuses to give you a refund for an item you bought, say something like “I know what the store policy is, so we can try to work this out or I can talk to your supervisor.” Giving someone the choice of handling the situation themselves makes them more likely to give you what you want.
  • For the boss who criticizes you for no reason: Ask “What do you mean?” This will take a bully by surprise, since one of the reasons they lash out in the first place is to see a person squirm. It will also help you get to the root of the problem, if there really is one. If it’s just your boss throwing his weight around, you’ll disarm him by asking for details. It’ll also give you time to compose yourself so you don’t say something you’ll regret.