The Simple Test That Reveals If You Are A 'Difficult Person'

There are seven traits that make a person "difficult."

woman with jean jacket Merla / Shutterstock

No one wants to be thought of as a "difficult person," but what does that really mean, anyway?

A difficult person may exhibit traits such as callousness, aggressiveness, manipulative tendencies, and dominance. A difficult person, however, can be exhausting in different areas. They may like to argue or refuse to do anything that isn't their way, for example.

If you think you may be difficult or know someone who is, there's actually a test you can take to know for sure. And it's known as the Difficult Person Test.


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What is the Difficult Person Test?

Dr. Chelsea Sleep, Ph.D., and her colleagues at the University of Georgia conducted research into the structure of antagonism to scientifically quantify the specific personality traits that make a person "difficult."

Of course, it’s not always easy to know whether or not you embody certain traits. This is why we tend to like taking personality quizzes that give insight into the traits that we may externalize but not know how to describe.

And now, the Difficult Person Test can tell you just how difficult of a person you actually are.


How to Take the Difficult Person Test

IDRLabs created a (free!) 35-question test based on Sleep’s research. The test aims to score you on the seven traits that underpin antagonism and give you an idea of how hard it is for others to get along with you.

Each question is presented as a statement, which prompts the taker to agree or disagree on a scale. For example, the first question asks you to rate whether or not you believe others should “pay special attention” to you.

Your test results are then presented in a graph that portrays how you were rated on each trait and gives you a percentage of how easy (or difficult) you are to get along with.

Difficult people are those that score high in each trait.


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The test is largely based on not only honesty but also having a high sense of self-awareness which, to be fair, is actually pretty rare in people.

While it’s based on Sleep’s research, IDRLabs makes it clear that free online tests like this one are for educational purposes only and shouldn’t be considered as a “definitive personality evaluation” or mental health diagnosis.


However, Sleep’s research is one of the first to break down the underpinnings of difficult personalities and the Difficult Person Test makes it easier to see how they manifest themselves in people’s daily lives.

7 Specific Traits That Make Up a 'Difficult Personality'

1. Callousness

Callousness is the amount of empathy a person has. The more callous you are, the less empathy you have and the harder you’ll find it to understand others’ feelings.

2. Grandiosity

Grandiosity is a feeling of self-importance. People who score high in grandiosity typically believe they are better than others and have a strong sense of entitlement.

3. Aggressiveness

Aggressiveness is the tendency to act with hostility toward others.


4. Suspiciousness

Suspiciousness is a strong distrust of others. People who are considered suspicious question others’ motives and find it difficult to open up to others.

5. Manipulativeness

Manipulativeness is the tendency to exploit others for personal gain, often while giving very little in return and discarding people who are no longer “useful.”

6. Domination

Domination, like grandiosity, is a feeling of superiority. Dominant people like being in charge and are controlling.


7. Risk-taking

Risk-taking is the penchant for putting yourself in danger for the thrill of it. While taking risks is sometimes a good thing, it becomes a difficult trait when those actions put others at risk as well.

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Micki Spollen is a YourTango editor, writer, and traveler. Follow her on Instagram and keep up with her travels on her website.