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Cut The Crazy: Dealing with Difficult People

*long siiiiiiiigh*

Alright, kids. Here’s the story…

There are people out there who you’re just going to have to deal with in your life. Right? There are the teachers, bosses, coworkers, and even family members who you just can’t get around dealing with completely.

Hey, it’s good to know that going into this post…

Even though we can’t get around dealing with difficult people entirely, there are certain ways we can, say, minimize the crazy in our lives.

Just recently, I had to diffuse a situation with someone I worked with at a gym. This guy is a very sweet person, but totally high-strung. When I told him I couldn’t do what he was asking due to scheduling issues, he blew a fuse. He started accusing me of many things I had no idea he had a problem with. He blew things out of context and blamed me for things I had no control over. Then, he wanted to charge me extra for not abiding by his schedule! What?!

Though inside I was doing a mini-panic, outside I kept calm and open.

Luckily, I was able to calm him down and explain my situation a little more clearly to him so that he understood that it wasn’t personal. He apologized and we speak now, even though I’m a little bit afraid to ever talk to him again for fear of another freak out…

When you just can’t get around dealing with the difficult ones, what do you do? I get asked a lot about this subject due to my post on firing your friends.

Well, folks, I’m going to cover that issue as much as I can by drawing from my experience. I hope it can help you, too!

First off, cut the unnecessary crazy

Wherever you can, cut the crazy. Crazy fuels crazy, and if you don’t want that in your life, get as far away from it as you can!

Here are some ideas to cut down on the crazy without looking like a meanie yourself:

  • Spend less time at the proverbial water cooler
  • Wear headphones while you work
  • Eat lunch somewhere else or *gasp* bring your own
  • Don’t answer your phone every time they call
  • Set boundaries (nicely and respectfully for best results)
If you’ve cut as much as you can, and are still having trouble dealing with this person, read on…

Try to understand

We’ve all been there; we blow up on someone close to us because we know deep down inside that they can handle it. …Some people just think that everyone can handle it.

Even this guy at the gym who went off the handle wasn’t “crazy” per se; I really do understand where he was coming from. We all blow fuses sometimes when we’re under a ton of stress.¬†¬†Maintaining that understanding saves me a lot of anger toward him.

Stay open-minded. Try to understand where this person is coming from.

Maybe you were raised not to act like him, but what if he just doesn’t know better? Have you thought about what his life must be like outside of work/school?

Have compassion for the human condition, even if it isn’t your human condition.

Kill ’em with kindness n’ calmness

One of the tactics that helped me diffuse the situation at the gym so effectively was acting from a place of love and kindness. Half of that will come from trying to understand their situation as explained above, and the other half will be an effort to stay calm, collected, and kind.

Even if you feel like screaming their ear off in retort, there is a way to stick up for yourself without setting them off further and worsening the situation.

What would you want to hear if you were in one of your fuse-blowing episodes? What kindness would make you feel betterDo you have it in you to give them that response?

Just as important as acting from kindness is acting with calmness.

No matter how kind you are, they won’t interpret it as such if you yell it at them. Take some deep breaths and consider what you say before you say it. Take the high road here and hopefully they’ll realize that they need to step up…

Ooh, something shiny!

There are those people who create drama just to get attention. I know. I was one of them.

If you just don’t want that drama in your life, but don’t want to deal with the confrontation, deflect, deflect, deflect!

The more you do this and the less attention you give them, the more they’ll realize that their crazy tactics don’t produce what they want from you (attention).

  • Direct their attention to someone else.
  • Start talking about something else entirely.
  • Leave the room.
  • Pretend you’re on the phone.

Seriously, anything you can do to show them that they can’t get any drama out of you, do it.

Call It Quits

If you reach the point at which you’ve done everything you can, and their negative energy poison is still just too much to handle, you have to call in reinforcements or leave the situation entirely.

Even those people you think you can’t ditch entirely can in fact be cut out of your life. It just might require a drastic life change on your part as well.

If this person is someone you deal with at work, either go to upper management or HR and file a complaint or even a request to change positions. It may even come down to leaving the company entirely if they refuse to change. If this person is causing you stress outside of the work environment, it’s definitely something to consider.

If this person is a family member, you’re probably more used to their craziness. If it hurts you, however, there’s no need to stand for it. Settle for seeing them at family occasions (unless you just don’t feel like going), and other than that, severely limit contact. Just because you’re blood doesn’t mean you have to take on their drama!

I know I can write all of this advice and hope that it speaks to you, but executing this process is more complicated than simply reading it.

The most important thing for you to remember is that you are worth a drama-free, happy life. Anyone who interjects their nonsense into it does not deserve your time.

Even after all is said and done with crazy gym guy, I’m glad I stood up for myself. Every time I do, I’m proving to myself that I won’t allow someone else to control my mental state.

How about you? Are you standing up for yourself and just saying “no” to crazy?

For this week’s challenge, I’d like to push you to cut the crazy in your life.

In the comments below:

If you’re down for cutting unnecessary stress and drama from your own life, write “I’m in” below with the action you plan on taking to get free of the nonsense.

Here’s to you and your drama-free life. :)

Stay strong, guys,



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16 responses to “Cut The Crazy: Dealing with Difficult People”

  1. Tammy R says:

    Amy, I really love how you exhausted all options but did offer up the ‘cut them off’ option at the end. I have had to do this, and it is extremely hard. My life is so much better without the crazy. I tried the high road, the low road, the middle way, and finally had to just say Goodbye – sometimes with silence and sometimes with words or emails. Perhaps it is temporary, perhaps not. In the meantime, I am getting on with the business of living life!

    • Amy says:

      That’s exactly what you have to do, Tammy: get on with living your life! No one has the power to stand in your way unless you allow them to.

  2. Wendy Merron says:

    Great suggestions. It’s wonderful to read how you were able to calm the guy at the gym and facilitate a good conversation.

  3. cj says:

    This is a beautiful post, and as I see it, the most daunting obstacle to enjoying ourselves (beside ourselves) in modern society. The last few years have been a big move away from crazy and life has never been better, although not everyone is so happy about it.

    Can’t wait to read more and thanks for a fantastic look at a very sticky problem.

    • Amy says:

      Happy to help, CJ! It is most certainly daunting. There’s nostalgia, duty and other friends/family that often cloud the situation so it’s hard to hear your own thoughts. We can justify til dawn the reasons why we are at fault, when in fact, it’s not personal at all. Maybe the other person is just not supposed to be in your life.

      Excited to have you here! Thanks for reading!

  4. Paula says:

    I am in. How timely this post is. I have a co-worker that just doesn’t know when to shut up. Usually I just ignore him but this past week. I finally gave it to him in a nice way and now I just plan to cut him out. If it isn’t work related, I just don’t listen to him. He’s tried to be nice but too late. This was not the first run in, but it will be the last. Like you said, there is no reason to lose my temper. Better to ignore him all together. Kindness and understanding don’t work with some folks.

    • Amy says:

      Glad you’re “in,” Paula! I hope this matter resolves in a pleasant way for the both of you. Give him a chance to take what you said to heart; he may actually want to change. :)

  5. Heidi says:

    Dear Amy….
    what if it’s a sibling you live with that’s acting crazy and you can’t get away from?

    • Amy says:

      Oof. That’s a tough one, Heidi. You can’t cut them out of your life, but you can control how you deal with them. Try reacting to what they do in a different way; take the high road here. Do not let them get to you. If they realize that they’re not having the same affect on you anymore, they may just stop being difficult on their own.

  6. vincent says:

    My name is vincent .I’m having some problems with a girl named olivia. She’s loud mothed and strsses me out ….any advice ???????

    • Amy says:

      Hi Vincent! I’m not quite sure what the situation is. Do you have to be around this person? Can you limit your time with her? Can you move further away from her (if you’re in an office)?

  7. amber says:

    I’m in. Oh man…. now HOW do I cut a crazzzzzy family member out of my life that just won’t leave?

    • Amy says:

      Hey Amber! Welcome to Strong Inside Out!

      Family’s tough. I don’t know your situation, but some boundary declarations might be in order. Have you tried to create boundaries with this person? Have you been up-front about how you feel around them?

  8. Kathy says:

    How about dealing with an over exuberant boss? I have one that will defy rules and when he KNOWS your are mad at him will come up and bellow loudly near your face “what a great shift” or something equally annoying. I have tried getting to know him only to be told I talk too much. Then when I don’t talk there MUST be a problem with him. I have dealt with A LOT of different types of people but this person is like “nails on a chalkboard” to me. I have read both your articles and have gotten some really good advice on how to deal with other issues. But this is something I will be FORCED to deal with 4 out of 5 workdays and I don’t want to leave the job I love..

  9. Hodo says:

    In am in i live with two crazy people one is leaving and other is tough to cut

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