How to Handle Bossy People and Stop Them from Having Their Way with You

Is there someone in your life right now who has the habit of ordering you around?

You know, the type of person who doesn’t ask you to do things, but instead commands or orders you to do them, meanwhile they expect that you’ll just passively comply with their demands?

Makes you want to slap them in the face, doesn’t it?

We all hate being told what to do, right?

So how do you handle bossy people who tell you what to do as if they’re some kind a dictator, and relieve yourself of the resentment that often follows?

How do you skillfully deal with the situation and communicate that ordering you around is unacceptable behavior and you refuse to tolerate it?

And perhaps most importantly of all, how do you do it in such a way that it doesn’t cause any blow-back or negative repercussions?

After all, if we deal with it the wrong way, we’re liable to actually anger the dictator, who will wrongly look at us as the problem instead of themselves due to their own ignorance, which will only cause us even more grief.

Here’s the good news...

I’ve discovered there are three powerful ways to handle bossy people who try to order you around. The method you choose to use may depend on the situation and the relationship you have with this person. Sometimes our survival depends on complying with bossy people and sometimes it doesn’t. And that makes all the difference.

Let’s take a look at them from the most subtle to the most obvious...

Delay Your Compliance

In situations where you almost have to comply, like at a job where your livelihood depends on you keeping it, the best way to deal with a bossy person is to simply put a delay between their command and your compliance.

When they give you an order, pause and refuse to comply immediately. Take your time in fulfilling their wish. If you were already absorbed in something, continue what you were doing and wait a few moments before you do what they’ve told you to do. The longer you can make the pause, the better.

This will non-verbally send a strong message. It will tell the dictator that you follow orders only on your own terms. You don’t hop, skip and jump to theirs or anyone’s demands.

They will probably expect you to do what they tell you to instantly, but when you don’t do it immediately, it makes them feel powerless over you or like they lack authority over you.

And that’s exactly the affect you want to have.

It will cause them to have a moment of silence where they realize that their commands carry little weight with you.

Question Their Commands

Under circumstances where there’s less riding on you complying with a bossy person, a great way to handle the situation is to question their commands, almost like you didn’t hear them.

If they ordered you to take out the trash, for example, you would simply say, “You want me to take out the trash?”

When they confirm your question, you can follow-up with, “Oh! I see.”

In this case, you’re once again putting a delay between their command and you complying with it, except that you’re taking it a step further and questioning their authority over you.

When bossy people don’t get their way immediately, they often feel at a loss over what to do. Often, they’re so used to people following their orders without protest that if you first question their command (like you didn’t even hear what they said), it will cause them to lose their perceived power over you or the situation — which is exactly what you want.

It sends the message again that their commands carry little authority over you, and you don’t simply do things just because they ordered you to.

You know how when someone asks you to repeat something because they didn’t hear you the first time?

It makes you feel a little small, doesn’t it?

Well, that’s exactly the affect you want to have on bossy people when you question their commands by repeating it in the form of a question.

Refuse to Comply

When all that’s riding on you complying with a bossy person’s commands is your relationship with them, the best way to deal with that situation is to simply outright refuse to comply.

If they order you to do something, just don’t do it. If you were already preoccupied, continue on with what you were doing and act as if you didn’t even hear them. And if you weren’t doing anything in particular, take up the next thing you had planned.

You may think that refusing to comply with a bossy person’s demands is rude or may harm your relationship with them, and if that’s the case, consider how your relationship is already being tainted by them trying to order you around.

They’re the problem here. Not you.

Refusing to comply altogether sends a very strong message, the strongest of these three methods. It sends the message that you refuse to be ordered around and that bossy behavior is something unacceptable and you won’t tolerate it.

Only accept people asking you civilly.

The dictator may even follow-up by complaining and criticizing you for not complying with their wishes.

But that’s the irony, isn't it?

They try to order you around, which is completely unacceptable, and then when they don’t get their way, they start looking at you as if you were the problem.

If they do try to condemn you for standing your ground, just laugh and leave their presence. The best communication is non-verbal. It sends a way stronger message than trying to tell them and explain that they’re the problem (which they probably won’t listen to and accept anyway).

You Are Not a Slave

If you have bossy people in your life and you’re sick of giving in to them, perhaps because it makes you feel small and weak and like you have no backbone, remember these three methods for dealing with dictators who attempt to order you around.

With practice and experience, you’ll likely find that it preserves your sense of self-respect, by preventing these types of people from getting and feeling like they can easily get their way with you, whenever they want.

What you’ll likely find when you start using these methods is that bossy people will stop trying to order you around. They’ll catch on sooner or later. Then they’ll probably start asking you to do things instead of commanding you, often very meekly (because bossy people tend to be people who have little power over themselves, and thus they try to compensate for it by ordering others around).

Only slaves are ordered around.

You are not a slave.

Never let anyone treat you like one.



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