Many books and articles offer advice on how to deal with difficult people. In this article we’ve decided to focus on the other part of this equation — how to be a difficult person.
If you are an easygoing type who gets along with your boss, co-workers, and customers, being difficult won’t come naturally to you. However, by adopting some of the following behaviors, you can quickly become known around the office as the “difficult” person:
Focus on Problems
Let people know every time you notice something wrong, particularly if you notice something your co-workers are doing wrong. Make minor problems into a big deal. For example, if you find a typo in a memo, circle it and bring it to the attention of the person who wrote it. Even better, bring it up at a staff meeting.
When people try to come up with solutions or better ways of doing things, be “devil’s advocate” and tell them why nothing they suggest will ever work. Avoid contributing any solutions that could work.
Talk Too Much
Whenever someone casually says “hi, how are you” assume they really want to know. Tell them about all the problems you are facing in your work and personal life, particularly your health and relationship problems.
If a co-worker asks how your weekend was, describe in great detail what you watched on television, what you shopped for, the relatives you saw, what you ate, and anything else you can remember.
If you notice the other person is turning towards the exit or trying to get away, talk more loudly and quickly. Continue talking without taking a breath to avoid giving them an opportunity to end the “conversation” and get back to work.
If you can’t find a co-worker to talk to, make numerous loud personal phone calls throughout the day.
Make sure you take all the credit for anything good that your company does. If you overhear an idea, act like you thought of it yourself when you bring it up at a meeting. Forget people’s names, particularly when it comes to giving credit to others.
On the other hand, you should avoid taking any responsibility when things don’t work out. And don’t admit you’re sorry if you make a mistake.
If you have been watching The Apprentice, you know how project managers assign credit or blame. So be prepared to make one of the following statements when you are working with a team:
If the project is a failure, tell the boss “they did it.”
If the project works out okay, say “we did it.”
If the project is a great success, say “I did it.”
Be Consistently Difficult
If your aim is to be seen as your workplace’s difficult person, realize that you will need to be difficult on an ongoing basis. It’s normal for almost everyone to exhibit a few bad behaviors on occasion, so if you want to stand out, being difficult must become a habit. The following communication behaviors can help you maintain your reputation:
When you want something, yell and demand that it be done “NOW!”
When you disagree with someone, use both verbal and non-verbal communication to let them know. Cross your arms, roll your eyes, shake your head and say “that’s ridiculous!”
Whenever someone asks you for something, say “That’s not my job.”
If someone seems upset, instead of listening to find out what the problem is, insist that they “calm down” or “relax.”
When someone has an urgent deadline and asks for your help, point to a sign by your desk that says “A failure to plan on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part.”
With minimal effort, you can probably come up with many additional ways to become the difficult person in your office.
By becoming that person you should be able to do your job without worrying about the possibility of being promoted to a more demanding position. Or, even better, you might find that you finally get that well deserved time off — permanently!