Quiz: Are You The 'Difficult' Person In The Office?


Most difficult people don't realize quite how difficult others find them to be. They have their own – perhaps quite reasonable – explanations for the things they say and do, and they don't acknowledge how they're affecting other people.

In his excellent book The No A****** Rule (I'm omitting the title not from prudery but from fear of spam-blockers), and also on his blog, Work Matters, Bob Sutton has a quiz to help people recognize if they are a******* - I was inspired to adapt that material for this quiz.

These questions apply to a team putting out a product, to co-workers, to family members gathering for a holiday, or to any group of people who are trying to get along with each other. To be happier, it's very important to know yourself.

  • Do you often find that when you do something nice for people, they do a lot of grumbling? Do they seem ungrateful or uncooperative?
  • When you join a group of people, does the mood often shift? Does a group tend to break apart after you join it?
  • Do you find it hard to get your calls and emails returned?
  • Are you often puzzled when people dramatically over-react to little mistakes, oversights, or casual remarks you make? You bring up some anecdote from last year, and everyone acts upset.
  • Do you often find yourself saying defensively, "It was just a joke!"
  • Do you think it important to express your true feelings and views authentically, even if that means upsetting other people?
  • Do you find that people seem resentful and angry when you offer objective, helpful criticism or advice?
  • Do you find that even when you're trying to be helpful by explaining something or providing information, people don't want to seem to listen to you?
  • Do you feel annoyed because people tend to refuse to acknowledge your greater experience or knowledge in an area, and instead, ignore your suggestions?
  • Do people tend to gang up against you – when you're arguing one side, everyone takes the other side, or when one person criticizes you, everyone else chimes in?
  • Do you find it funny to see other people squirm?
  • If someone asks for your opinion, do you think it's right to tell them frankly what you think?
  • Do you think it's useful to point out people's mistakes, areas of incompetence, or previous track records of failure?
  • Is it fairly common for one person to tell you that he or she will speak to a third person, so that you don't have to? In other words, do people volunteer to act as intermediaries for you, rather than let you do your own talking?

A "yes" may be a red flag that you're a source of unhappiness for others. If you took this quiz, did you find it helpful?

Other posts by Gretchen Rubin
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