How to Deal with Bossy People

Two Methods:Tolerating Bossy PeopleStanding Up To Bossy People

Controlling people can make your professional and personal life miserable. Before you fall into a submissive role, or even after, learn how to encourage respectful relationships and say, “No.” You can deal with bossy people by tolerating them or standing up to them.

Method 1
Tolerating Bossy People

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    Take a moment to cool down. Refuse to respond to the person with anger. Recognize that people often try to control other people because of feelings of insecurity or helplessness.
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    Don’t be passive aggressive. An eye-roll or sigh will build tension, instead of diffusing it. When you act huffy, but still let the person control you, you can place yourself in a childlike role.
    • If you find yourself responding in the way you might have as a teenager, rethink your response. It is not going to make your relationship with the person better or make you happier.
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    Move on. At times when you know that the person is stressed or going through a difficult time, take the high road. This is only a good option if you don’t feel you are encouraging the person to disrespect you on a regular basis.
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    Refuse to give someone “payoffs” when they are pushy. Avoid giving an immediate “Yes” or “whatever you want” when they tell you what to do.
    • If you have ever had a pet, you may have learned about negative reinforcement. People also take note when a colleague or family member immediately acquiesces to our demands. [1]
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    Try humor, after someone tries to boss you around. When they’ve told you what to do, you can say, “It sounds like you want to do my job for me” or “Did you get promoted and not tell me?” Only use this method if you can keep it lighthearted.
    • A humorous response will act as a warning that their behavior has not gone unnoticed.
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    Ask your manager to clarify the chain of command when you start any new project. If you have had problems with people in the past, you can ask the chain of command to be include on official project documents.
    • If the person still tries to boss you around, you can say “The project lead and I have been discussing the best way to do this. If you think it should be done another way, we can call a team meeting.”
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    Recognize when you start to feel like a victim. Letting someone be domineering for too long can create feelings of resentment and humiliation that can destroy a relationship. When this happens, the person is controlling or trying to control you, and you should move onto the next method.

Method 2
Standing Up To Bossy People

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    Say no. Take a deep breath and refuse to go along with what the person is suggesting. [2]
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    Refuse as respectfully as possible. This is especially important if you are talking to an authority figure, like a boss or a parent. However, do not apologize for your refusal.
    • Try saying, “In this case, I don’t agree with you” or “No, I don’t think that’s the best way to do it.”
    • If you say “No” confidently and respectfully, the person is likely to be taken off-guard and accept your respect you for your opinion.
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    Expect some defensiveness. Some bossy people enjoy confrontation. If this is the case, and they respond poorly to your refusal try to stay calm.
    • Say “I understand that you feel strongly about it, but in this case, it sounds like they can’t agree.
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    Be silent. After you have expressed your opinion and responded calmly, refuse to start a fight. They may become uncomfortable with silence and acquiesce or leave.
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    Tell them they are being disrespectful. Sometimes bossy people have thought things through and have good ideas. If you like their opinions, but feel as they command you rudely, you can take another tack. [3]
    • Respond by saying “I think that’s a good idea, but it is disrespectful when you talk down to me.”
    • Consider saying “I agree that this is the best way to do things, but I don’t appreciate it when you are rude or commanding with me.”
    • This is another way to stand up for yourself, without letting them dismiss you as emotional or juvenile.
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    Take some time away from the person, if they refuse to respond to these methods. A person who is always disrespectful or tries to control everything you do may be a destructive force in your life.
    • Try a more serious statement, such as “I don’t like the way you treat me.”
    • At work, say “I think we should work separately on this project. I can’t work well when someone is micromanaging me.”

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Categories: Managing Conflict and Difficult Interactions