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Charles J. Keating `Dealing with Difficult People`

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Communication and human interaction are the most difficult and complicated processes studied by sociology and psychology. In the book ‚ÄúDealing with Difficult People‚ÄĚ, Charles J. Keating gives simple pieces of advice how to deal and communicate with difficult people around you.

The book covers such important areas of human relations as communication and conflict resolution, personal development and reaction to changes, anger management and personality conflicts, etc. The purpose of the book is to help people to get along with difficult personalities including relatives and colleagues, friends and business partners. The author explains the idea that people must therefore know why others act in the manner they do, and the psychological, social and other factors which motivate them.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† The book consists of nine chapters covering different issues and problems explaining such terms as ‚Äúdifferences and difficulties‚ÄĚ, psychological ‚Äúgames‚ÄĚ and difficulties, types of personality and anger, etc. Also, the author pays special attention to difficult relatives and colleagues, problem resolutions and conflict management. The author underlines that ‚Äúthe key to coping with difficult people, the secret of maintaining out own tranquility in a stormy relationship, frequently is understanding ourselves and why we respond the way we do‚ÄĚ (p. 7).

A certain part of the book is devoted to this problem helping people to understand themselves, their way of thinking and their own behavior patterns. The book includes information about different types of people, their hopes and beliefs, psychological drivers, ‚Äúpersonality conflict‚ÄĚ and motivations. The main part of the book is devoted to the problem why people behave in a certain way.

The topical issues discussed in the book are extremely important for everyone who wants to construct positive and friendly relations with community and peers. For me, it is important to understand motivational intents of friends and relatives in order to find appropriate solutions and approaches to communicate with them. The ideas discussed in the book are extremely important for modern people faced with stress and changing social and economic environment they have to cope with.

I like the idea that ‚Äúwe tend to feel most comfortable with those of the same personality as ourselves‚ÄĚ (p. 9), but in some cases we have to deal with difficult people at work or at home. Reading the book, I understood that we should not avoid or ignore difficult people, but try to understand their intensions and way of thinking. The book met my expectations because I learnt how to predict behavior and respond effectively to difficult people. The book emphasizes the need for free expression and encourages open com¬≠munications, especially between friends and relatives, and methods of continuing consultation and negotiation between a superior and subordinate. Taking into account these rules, I improved communication with my aunt trying to avoid blunt remarks and answers.

The ideas expressed in the book can be applied to difficult situations at home and at school. The author‚Äôs ideas can be applied to conflict resolution and anger control helping to understand behavior patterns of other people and their emotional response.¬† The first, an individualism approach is based on dissolving differences. In this case, differences are not seen as being distributed systematically according to membership of a social group, but rather as random differences. The result is that men and women behave in different ways, often fail to understand each other. The author underlines that ‚Äúpersonal life is also affected by personality differences of introversion and extraversion‚ÄĚ (p. 10).

In future, I will apply these ideas in every aspect of my life dealing difficult people at work. Effective communication is very important for everyone, because nonsensical action can ruin the world of people and their traditions because of dishonor, falsehood, low moral values, and absence of strong power which would be able to protect these people from insults and misunderstanding.

This book helps me to improve my relations with neighbors. Today, I pay a special attention to words and expressions while communicating with others. The second goal I try to follow is to avoid unpleasant and offensive situations as a result of poor non-verbal skills. Communicating with neighbors, I understand that the need, therefore, is to understand the causes of conflict and to develop constructive measures to control conflict. It has been realized that not all conflict is harmful and that perhaps a certain level of conflict is inevitable.

            I suppose that the book missing information about friendship and dealing with friends. If I had a possibility to re-write the book I would reduce number of examples and personal stories of difficult people but add real life situations in order to demonstrate how the main principles can be applied by readers. It would be useful to add theoretical concepts and interpretations to make the narration more sophisticated and vivid. Also, I would add more sociological concepts and terms in order to explain the main tendencies and trends in modern science. Also, I would include a discussion of ethical principles in communication: moral, aesthetic, socio-political, intellectual and epistemic values.

¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬†¬† This book is helpful to everyone who is interested in psychology and HR management. Also, it can be interested to everyone because ‚Äúdifficult people‚ÄĚ are around us and we have to manage our relations with them finding effective ways to interact and communicate with different people. This book could be recommended to everyone who is interested in modern philosophy of life and personal psychology, and for those readers who want to find new approaches in self ‚Äďunderstanding and self-realization. The main changes, depicted in the book include new perception of the world and self, new interpretation of freedom and culture.


  1. Keating, Ch. J. (1984). Dealing with Difficult Peopl. Paulist Press.


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