By Laura Benjamin

These people have been deeply disappointed in life and are unable to work through it. They've lost trust, tend to throw cold water on every idea, easily deflate optimism, and believe in absolute, immovable barriers. They are convinced they have little power over their own lives and believe those who do have power cannot be trusted to act reasonably or consistently. They may be angry and resentful most of the time.

Coping Strategies:

  • Recognize your own vulnerability to discouragement. The impact these people have on others can be contagious unless you meet it directly with confident, assertive optimism.
  • Don't argue with them or embarrass them. You won't get far by making it a "win/lose" battle.
  • Allow them to play the role of "reality checker" by analyzing what could go wrong.
  • Require them to cite specifics rather than make sweeping generalizations.
  • Offer examples of past successes. Show that some alternatives are worth trying by saying, "I have faith that we haven't tried everything."

Other personality types:

Laura Benjamin is the owner of "Laura Benjamin International," an international speaking, training, coaching and consulting firm specializing in workplace relations and professional development issues. Her programs include, "Got STRESS? Balancing Work & Life," "Call of the Wild…Dealing with Difficult People," and "A Manager's Guide to Developing Your People." Contact her by phone: 719-266-8088, email:, or visit her website at