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How to deal with a stubborn person

How to deal with a stubborn person

Do you know someone who is stubborn and doesn’t change his opinion? How can you deal with a stubborn person?

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A stubborn person is one who refuses to change his mind about an idea, opinion, or an action that he wants to take, and refuses to give explanation to why he is resisting. Often times, it is hard to try to convince someone who is stubborn and doesn’t believe in anything except his ideas, so what makes a person stubborn?

Causes of stubbornness

1. The person defends his opinion

A stubborn person might feel that his opinion or idea is not liked by others and neglected, so he tries to make himself important by imposing his opinion on others.

2. Belief in his opinion

He might believe that what he thinks and believes is the truth and it is a fact, hence opposes anyone who doesn’t agree with him.

3. Pride

A stubborn person might oppose anyone who says he is wrong. This stubborn person might stick with what he thinks for the sake of his pride.

4. Inner feelings of inferiority

A person could be stubborn because he might feel that he is inferior compared to others. He tries to cover his weakness by screaming and imposing his opinion, so he can feel that he is better than everyone else.

Dealing with a stubborn person

To learn how to deal with a stubborn person, follow the quick guide below:

1. Be flexible

Learn to be flexible and don’t try to impose what you say on someone who is stubborn. When you try to force your opinion, this might lead to arguments. Try to find common ground with the person who is stubborn and try not to appear that you know more than him.

2. Respect his opinion

Don’t tell the stubborn person that he is wrong. A stubborn person doesn’t like it when someone tells him that he is wrong and he might close all doors of understanding and will not accept any other opinion.

3. Don’t attack

To make a stubborn person accept your point of view, you must not attack him. Try to show him during your discussion that this is how you feel regarding the idea based on what he said.

4. Agree to disagree

If the conversation gets heated, then it is better to agree to disagree. If you believe that the other person will not agree with you and he is being stubborn, then why you want to continue with the conversation?

5. Be patient 

When you are with a stubborn person, you have to be patient. Don’t give him a chance to irritate and upset you.  If you give the stubborn person a chance to irritate you, then this could affect your mood.  As I stated in my book “The ultimate guide to achieve your goals” being patient is an important attribute that all successful people have. 

6. Avoid rushing in speech

When you talk, you have to be careful which words to use. If you react in a negative way towards him without listening to his idea, he might put you in a difficult position. It is a good idea to mention something positive about his ideas each once a while, so you can encourage him to understand you better.

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For more information, read:

How to defend your idea without getting defensive

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31 Comments

  1. When it comes to stubborn people, all you have to do is avoid them. There contagious, don’t get infected.

    • Dia says:

      Hi John,

      Yea, many times it is best to avoid stubborn people as they are likely not to change their minds.

  2. Bryan says:

    Good thoughts here, man. I followed you over here from Jonathan’s blog. When in the presence of a stubborn person ranting about things, I always am inspired by that guy (or girl) who stands and smiles quietly, though you know they disagree. The calm person may disarm the stubborn person with something harmless and walk away. Somehow it doesn’t break the stubborn person’s spirit, but it does shut down the argument. I want to be the person who can do that.

    “It’s better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open one’s mouth and remove all doubt.” – Abraham Lincoln

    Good stuff, man!

    • Dia says:

      Hi Bryan,

      I agree, appearing calm and smiling infront of the stubborn person can disarm the stubborn person. It has great affect and you will appear to be powerful and not affected by this person’s stubbornness.

  3. Dandy says:

    Hi Dia,
    Yes, that can be a tricky one. In dealing with a stubborn person it is easy to attack. I agree with all of your tips. People are who they are & it isn’t our responsibility to fix them or give them help when it isn’t wanted in the first place. I limit my time with people like this. Especially if they cannot be fully avoided. It’s always a good thing to take the high road! Thanks Dia!

    Dandy

    • Dia says:

      Hi Dandy,

      I agree with you it is not our responsibility to change people or offer them help if they don’t want to. We after all can’t help change someone for better, it has to come from him or her. Limiting the time spent with stubborn people is a good way, so you want get their bad energy.

  4. rob white says:

    I always like to keep in mind that, “a man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still.”

    • Dia says:

      Hi Rob,

      For sure my friend, we can’t force someone to think the way we want him or her to think. We can try to help, but it is up to that person to accept it or not.

  5. I am from a family where being stubborn is considered almost a badge of pride.

    Because of this I am myself stubborn to a degree and do not think it is ALWAYS a bad thing. In my mind being stubborn does not mean that you are inflexible. It is a lot about the way someone approaches you. When two stubborn people approach each other with opposite ideas head on it becomes more a battle of wills. There is no winner in those situations.

    If you present simple facts and let the stubborn person draw their OWN conclusions you can often achieve success. Being stubborn does not HAVE to mean that you are not intelligent, reasonable and willing to change, it is more of a case of being sure of yourself and willing to force through issues to get where you want to go.

    Like I said, I do not necessarily think it is always a bad thing….but your lessons for dealing with a stubborn person are perfect.

    Many successful people are in fact stubborn I think. I would rather have a leader who was stubborn (but at least willing to listen to reason) rather than someone who waffles with indecision any day.

    Many times a bad decision is far better than none at all.

    • Dia says:

      Hi Steve,

      I agree with you. There is a positive side to being stubborn. :) It all depends on the situation. For example, someone who is tries to do whatever it takes and is being stubborn to achieve his/her goals is a good thing. This is the positive side of being stubborn.

      On the contrary, some times people are stubborn, not because they have something to achieve, they are stubborn just to cover up their inferiority, prove that they are always right among other things, so it all depends on the situation.

  6. Adam says:

    We are all different natures and to learn how to get along with other people is one of the most important things you have to learn if you want to be successful in your life. But of course this does not mean to accept other’s opinion just to avoid conflict.

    When it comes to stubborn people it is often hard to get along with them without getting into the conflicts, the reason is that they usually do not want to accept logical arguments and keep on their opinions no matter what.

    There is no point to argue with the people who actually do not want to see or accept others’ points, therefore the only thing you can do is to leave. There is no point to waste your valuable time.

    Thanks Dia for sharing.

    • Dia says:

      Hi Adam,

      Yea, if someone doesn’t want to change his opinion, all we can do is respect his opinion and end the discussion as there is no reason to keep on arguing for no reason.

  7. Jk says:

    Dia – aren’t those stubborn people difficult? I face many of them on a daily basis for all the reasons you listed above. It’s a very self-centered stance to be stubborn, and it’s exceptionally bothersome when it affects me [someone else]. I do thrive on the challenge in converting the stubborn to open-minded. But what a challenge that is! Great article!

    • Dia says:

      Hi JK,

      I agree with you my friend, it could be a challenge to covert someone and make him open-minded. One of my favorite ways to deal with such person is agree to disagree.

  8. You are the ‘list master’ Dia…and you always seem to address subject that most don’t even consider writing about online yet are very, very important, like this one.

    My favorite one here was ‘avoid rushing into speech’..Man, if we could only all just count to 50 before we respond in anger…the results are never good!!

    Thanks for all you do man.

    • Dia says:

      Hi Marcus,

      Thanks my friend :) In regards to avoid rushing in speech, I agree with you, if we all take some time to think before we speak, we could avoid arguments and we can avoid saying something that we might regret.

  9. Dia,

    I am sure we all have met some stubborn people and I admit, I might be one occasionally too. I like how you explains the tips. I especially like #1, #3 and $5.

    Preeti

  10. Honestly, I don’t like spending too much time convincing the stubborn ones…

  11. Frank says:

    Dia,

    Dealing with stubborn people is extremely difficult. It is so funny that you wrote this at a time when I have to have a challenging conversation with someone I really respect. This person is extemely stubborn and I am a little nervous but I am sure your tips will help.

    • Dia says:

      Hi Frank,

      Yea sometimes it could be difficutlt to deal with stubborn people. How we respond depends on the situation. Good luck my friend :)

  12. Hi Dia

    Firstly thanks for coming over to my blog and staying to comment. Thought I would come check your blog out and see what you write about.

    Interesting post. I had thought of stubborn as a negative but I can see from Steve’s comment it can also be a positive attribute.

    Patricia Perth Australia

  13. Ishan says:

    Hi Dia,
    According to me, the best way to deal is to try to avoid arguments. Argument, once started, does no benefit to us or the other person.
    You have some great tips here.
    Thanks for sharing!

    • Dia says:

      Hi Ishan,

      Avoiding arguments is crucial that is why it is a good idea to agree to disagree if the person is being stubborn.

  14. Hi Dia,

    Ok, I have to admit that I use to be one of those stubborn people. Not to the point that I was annoying. Once I learned more about my self and what I could learn from others it has made life much better and happier. These are really good tips. I do have a sister that is really, really stubborn and I have used some of these tips, but there are times where I have just had to walk away.
    Debbie

    • Dia says:

      Hi Debbie,

      Yea if the person is being really stubborn, it is a good idea be flexible and agree to disagree. We really have to be patient sometimes and never attack a stubborn person, otherwise, the situation will get worse.

  15. Gus says:

    Dear Dia,

    In this article you named four causes of stubbornness. I would like to name a possible fifth cause of stubbornness, namely that some of the brain functions (like: able to understand other point of views) of the stubborn person is not working correctly due to possible psycho-logic (emotional) problems. In the past I had emotional problems and at that time I was label by others as a stubborn person. When I tackled (found a solution to) my emotional problems, my brain started to work correctly and then I was able to understand other point of views.
    Note: I believe that their are many truths (beliefs) on the same matter (subject). In other words, their is not “the truth” of something.

    • Dia says:

      Hi Gus,

      Thanks for your comment and sharing your thoughts. Yea, I can understand that in some cases, if someone has emotional problems that can sometimes make the person stubborn. It varies from person to person. I’m glad that you were able to overcome this problem :)

  16. Mark says:

    Excellent article. My wife is so stubborn that its not even funny. I really dont know what to do, she wont listen to me – for her own and family.

    I am just lost and cant take it anymore:(