If there’s one thing that used to boil my blood, it was unreasonable people. Whenever I have found myself in a situation with an unreasonable person, I would always walk away feeling frustrated, angry, and just over it. I’m also the type of person who bites back when someone comes for me or one of mine in a malicious way, but it’s also taken lots of practice to not do this.
With practice, trial and error, and some good old time, I’ve come to understand the basics of dealing with unreasonable people. I’m not a therapist or a psychologist of any kind, nor did I talk to one, so these tips and tricks may not work for you. However, I’ve found that when I finally switched my thinking, controlled my natural fight-or-flight response, and really took the time to understand an unreasonable person, I became less affected by their bullsh*t.
The truth is, you can’t really reason with unreasonable people. Read that again. While you may not be able to reason with an unreasonable person, you can, however, try to understand them to the point where their lack of reason no longer affects you. The word “unreasonable” is so broad, and I’ve come across numerous types of unreasonable people in my life (see below!). If you know anyone who doesn’t respect your boundaries, mentally lives in the past, thinks they’re always right or is too quick to judge, twists words and manipulates, or gets satisfaction of putting others down whenever they can, I’d say they’re pretty f*cking unreasonable! Below are ways I’ve learned to deal with different types of unreasonable people, and hopefully there’s something in here for you.
The Unreasonable Friend. If you have an unreasonable friend, and you’re still friends with this person…then maybe their type of unreasonable is just enough to bear. When it comes to unreasonable friends, I’ve found that listening, staying calm and staying away from topics that set them off is the best thing to do. I’ve also put myself in their shoes and tried to see what they’re trying to accomplish by being unreasonable. Sometimes doing this can show you exactly what your friend needs. Do they want someone to listen to them? To motivate them? To always take their side in an argument? You may never know their “why”, but you can try to figure out what they’re looking to achieve. If they’re still in your life, there must be a reason for it. Treat them with love, and try to give them the benefit of the doubt. On the other hand, if they’re words and actions seem a little personal and flat out rude, then ask yourself why you’re even still friends in the first place.
The Unreasonable Family Member. This is another one where unfortunately, there’s not much you can do to change the person. Seeing a trend here?! Family is everything to me, and unreasonable or not, I know that I will also do what I can to keep my family members close. HOWEVER, lately I’ve noticed that some fam members give me much more anxiety than others. If someone in your family is highly unreasonable, just know that you don’t have to put up with the drama. To avoid arguments, I typically try not to drink (or drink too much) at family events where I know the unreasonable person will be at because it has only led to bad sh*t in the past. I no longer try to get them to see my POV, because if they haven’t by now, there’s no way they will in the future. I minimize how much time I spend with them, try to treat them with respect and try not to get defensive. That being said, you can be respectful, but you don’t have to be a doormat. I do believe in setting firm boundaries and limits because after all, they’re family and you’re likely to see them again. Last but not least, I try to remember to give myself some credit for willingly putting myself in the same room as someone unreasonable. It takes a lot of energy, emotional intelligence and control to not react to an unreasonable person, let alone be around them. Give yourself a pat on the back for going into a situation you know is one you unfortunately can’t win.
The Unreasonable Ex. I’d like to say that this doesn’t apply to me, because my exes and I are very cordial and have no bad blood. Then again, we’re all adults now and I personally don’t see any reason to hold anything against an old flame that sparked between two kids. I have, however, come across an ex of someone I love who just can’t let the past go…years and years later. The only way to handle an unreasonable ex is to empathize with them and wish them well. What this person does may come from a very personal place, but you don’t have to take it personally. Honestly, it’s more of a compliment if they’re STILL talking about you/your S.O. as time passes by. Use your logic, let it go, ignore and be indifferent. Responding to their irrational behavior won’t be the end, it will be the beginning. It will fuel their fire and need for attention, and no one wants a bitter ex hanging around. Be the bigger person – they’re an ex for a reason right? You don’t have to love them, you don’t have to hate them, but you can be indifferent to them and their behavior. When all else fails, then just know you can’t reason with crazy.
The Unreasonable Co-Worker. I’ve luckily never had a colleague demonstrate this type of behavior but if I did, I’d immediately address it or find a way to smother the fire. This is definitely a tricky situation to navigate, especially if you are in the early start of your career and you do not want to negatively influence your trajectory in a company. Also, note how I said co-worker in my title, not boss. An unreasonable boss may have some power over you, but an unreasonable colleague has perceived power over you. There is no room for retaliation or an emotional response, because this is a professional, working relationship and you want to have a positive future at this company. However, succumbing to a co-worker’s manipulation, short-handed communication, and attempt at intimidation isn’t the way to go either and isn’t healthy for your career. If I were in this situation, I’d find a way to put as much space between me and the other person as possible (literally and mentally!). If they are the type to throw unreasonable projects at you and they are not your supervisor, I’d kindly say I’m too preoccupied with my other duties and decline, or offer them ideas on how to handle their workflow better. If they find ways to discredit your work and block your innovative ideas, I’d keep the conversation about the task at hand (not them personally) and suggest they share alternate ideas or solutions. You’ll find that the people who are quick to sh*t on other people’s ideas are the same ones who rarely have their own. Set your limits, keep your emotions out of it, keep tabs of what has happened, focus on the solution and not the problem, and rise above it. Good work always speaks for itself – work hard in silence and let your success be your noise.
The Random Unreasonable Person You Meet. You know…the person in line ahead of you at the grocery store, or the one you accidentally bump into while out running errands and they give you the look of death. These are the types of scenarios that seem to piss me off the most lol. When it comes to these random folks, there’s nothing that you can do but let it go. Chances are, you’ll never see them again, and you get nothing out of giving them a response. To be honest, this is the hardest type of person for me to be nice to when they act unreasonable…and I don’t know why! Just know that there’s a reason for the way they are and none of it has anything to do with you.
Have you ever found yourself in an unreasonable situation? What have you done to get through that situation? Tell me in the comments section below!