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How to Spot a Difficult Person -7 Traits

by Dean Gee about a month ago in advice
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How to Spot a Difficult Person -7 Traits
Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

Having spent many years in multinational corporations I have come across many people with varying degrees of difficulty, because climbing the corporate ladder can bring out the worst in some of us. I often wondered if there was a way of classifying difficult people, or at least measuring their degree of difficulty.

Well, the good news is that in this information age we now do have some measures for difficult people based on personality traits.

‘My boss is a grandiose, callous, aggressive, suspicious, manipulative, dominating, risk-taker.’

If that statement above applies to your boss, spouse, partner, friend, or any other person in your life, then you have hit the jackpot! The jackpot of the jerk!

The traits above describe a difficult person, or maybe a better name for those traits and the measurement thereof would be the ‘Jerk Ratio’.

Of course all of us have elements of these within our own personalities, it just depends to what extent they come to dominate our interactions with others.

There is a specific test we can take to see just how difficult we are. It is all based on peer reviewed scientific research. Tere is a link to the test below this article.

Callousness is a measure of how insensitive we are and whether we harbour a cruel disregard for other people. Think of many political leaders today, who couldn't care less about how their citizens are suffering, it’s all about them getting what they want and they don’t care who they harm.

Risky people do not care about the impacts that the risk they take has on the people that they affect. An example in my life was years ago my dad worked for an entrepreneur, but he had a gambling problem, with horse racing. One month he was on lavish luxurious holidays and the next month he was hiding his valuables from the liquidators, pretending that his house had been robbed.

My dad received a new BMW, for thanks for his hard work, but a few months later that car was being repossessed to pay off gambling debts. Risky people are feast or famine type people and they can hit it big, but many times they lose it all too.

Grandiosity is a measure of how much we think we are superior to others, and do not confuse this measure with the more positive measure of a healthy self-esteem, this has more to do with haughtiness, thinking we are way better than others, and superior to them. Narcissism is closely linked to this trait and we know that narcissism is a personality trait of the ‘terrible trio’ I referred to in another article I wrote recently.

Aggressiveness is how confrontational and forceful someone is, these people are high on the disagreeableness scale. They don’t seek harmony or peace when negotiating and will protect their ego and opinions utilising force and threats, may not be physical force but veiled threats, and forceful behaviour.

We can all disagree with someone but do it in a respectful manner, when I disagree the best is to ask questions like. ‘I would be interested in understanding why you believe that is the case, can you explain, please?’

Suspicion, it is always good to be circumspect and suspicious to a point, when it spirals out of control, is when we have a problem and are ripe for the next conspiracy theory to lead us astray.

Dominance is a trait that can be used for good or bad, we usually have a dominant position when we have power over another, and some people just have dominant personalities, they seem to guide the opinion of others in group discussions. When the dominant personality type uses that dominance to antagonize others this becomes counter productive. Sometimes the dominant person may refer to the position they hold to exert their hold over others, statements like ‘who is the CEO?’ therefore asserting their positional power. In the words of Mike Myers as Dr Evil ‘throw me a frikkin bone, I’m the boss, need the info.’ A comedic execution of the dominance trait.

People use manipulation to bypass reason in certain circumstances to achieve their own personal goals, this is when manipulation is dangerous. Manipulative people usually have hidden agendas and will recruit others who will be involved in the decision-making process by lobbying them, without them understanding where they fit into the plan. These people are conniving and dangerous. The best manipulators allow those being manipulated only to see a small part of the big picture, but it is the orchestrated whole that they benefit from. These people are usually highly intelligent.

So those are the traits be aware of. It is interesting to take the difficult person test, to see how you score, learning about ourselves can benefit ourselves and others.

To recap here is the list of traits:


Risk Taker






Let me know what you think?


About the author

Dean Gee

Inquisitive Questioner, Creative Ideas person. Marketing Director. I love to write about life and nutrition, and navigating the corporate world.

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