In a perfect world, everyone would be cordial and nice with each other, and conflict and uncomfortable conversations would be a thing of the past.  Unfortunately, reality does not match this utopia - in the course of running a business, you will almost certainly meet someone you dislike but are forced to do business with that person.  How do you deal with such a person, and what can you do to make business with them easier? 

Don't take it personally

More often than not, the reason we hate dealing with unpleasant people is that we dread the feeling of awkwardness or anxiety that comes with dealing with such people.  Keeping emotions in check is a key part of dealing with those you dislike.  Try not to take any negative comments personally, and try to brush them off as a cost of doing business.  Adopt an attitude of "letting it go" - it's only business, after all. 

Find positive means of communication

When dealing with difficult customers or vendors, it is important to speak to them in a neutral and non-confrontational manner.  Try to avoid making any accusatory statements or being overly aggressive.  Be specific, but do not place any blame.  Speaking in a way which seeks to find a resolution, rather than place blame, often prevents a dubious situation from escalating out of control. 

Be firm, yet courteous

Remember that at the end of the day, you are in a professional environment.  As such, maintaining a sense of decorum is key to maintaining the current business relationship as well as fostering future ones.  Treat everyone in your business (and personal) life with dignity and respect, even if they may not show it in return.  Avoid personal attacks, and politely brush off any such attacks against you.  Speak firmly and decisively, but always remain polite.  Having the moral high ground not only feels good but can have positive impacts on your reputation and business. 


Dealing with unpleasant people is just part of life.  It is how you act and react that will determine the outcome of the situation.  By remaining calm, cool, and courteous, you will be able to protect your business relationship and your company's reputation.