Are some people in your life making it hell? Psychologist Andrew Fuller shows you how to work out who is the problem and how to deal with them (no pitch forks necessary!)


Backstabbers are your negative PR agents. They are the masters and mistresses of looking sweet as pie in front of you, but turn your back and you are easy pickings. It is important to hold these people accountable for what they say behind your back. Gather your evidence and confront them directly by saying ‘I’ve heard what you’ve been saying about me and I’d like you to stop.’

Blamers and Whingers

Often blamers and whingers are so painful for everybody anyway, you don’t need to do anything. They annoy everyone so much that people tend to avoid them. These people are addicted to complaining so don’t fall into the trap of trying to fix their complaints – you will only waste your energy.

Bullies and Tyrants

Bullies and tyrants are rarely self-aware people and they inflict a lot of pain on other people. The first strategy is to study them carefully so you learn how they operate. You need to develop some shields for yourself, using your own thoughts or some humour to distance yourself from the bully’s behaviour. Remember to try and deflect their behaviour rather than confront them, as they are more comfortable and experienced with conflict than you.


These are the control freaks, the micro-managers and the nitpickers, that can railroad you in directions you don’t want to go. Never let a controller have total access to your schedule or plans, and never give in to an ultimatum issued by a controller. Be very clear about where you stand and don’t be pushed into offering more of yourself than you’re really prepared to give.

High and Mighties

The high and mighties appear to have a surplus of self-esteem, and in their esteemed opinion other people really aren’t worth the time of day. Never try and prove you are as good as they are – they will always find a way to outdo you. Focus instead of getting over your own insecurities which leave you vulnerable to being annoyed or intimidated by these folk.


Avoiders are those lazy, infuriating escapologists who are unable to face up to even the most obvious of their actions, and wheel and deal to get out of it. Never loan an avoider money or chase them to do something, and always base your judgements on what they do – rather than what they say!


This group of self-obsessed egomaniacs and boasters believe they can bludgeon their way through life using sheer willpower. They just can’t resist competing and to them other people are regarded as opponents, obstacles or opportunities. Make use of their energy by giving them a challenge, but refuse any urge to try and compete with them.

Poor Communicators

Poor communicators are those bores, loose cannons, hot-heads, foot-in-mouth artists, and dinner guests who just don’t leave. Poor communicators will inflict their drivel on you as long as you are prepared to give them your time. Your best tactic is to be prepared. Plan a strategy which will give you an ‘out’ next time you need to escape a painful conversation or situation. These people don’t understand boundaries, so make sure you set some for yourself.

The above tips are taken from “Tricky People: How to deal with horrible types before they ruin your life” by Andrew Fuller ($24.95, Finch Publishing). Andrew is also the author of the bestselling book “Tricky Kids” and is a psychologist with many years’ experience. Buy the book at www.finch.com.au

Got a question for Andrew? Ask below and we’ll get it answered! Do you agree with these personalities? Do you have an annoying person in your life? Share your stories!

Get more great health advice here!