16 Ways To Get An Irrational Person To Hear You

16 Ways To Get An Irrational Person To Hear You

1. Stay calm.

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When dealing with an irrational person, you’re not going to get anywhere if you don’t maintain your composure. If you lose your temper, the situation could escalate. By staying calm, you set the tone for the conversation. The other person realizes you’re totally zen and coming from an objective place, so they may be more likely to hear you out.

2. Listen to what they have to say.

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Before you present your case, make sure you understand theirs. Active listening can sometimes help defuse the tension and make the person feel heard, which can make them more receptive to your viewpoint. If you’ve ever worked in customer service, you probably know all too well how just listening to an irate person’s problems can magically dissolve a lot of their anger. The same principle comes into play here.

3. Try to be empathetic.

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Try to see things from their perspective, as hard as that might be. Expressing empathy doesn’t mean you agree with them, but it shows that you respect their feelings, which can help open up the lines of communication. Just because their feelings are off-base or too extreme doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be respected.

4. Keep your language neutral.

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Avoid using language that might come across as confrontational or judgmental. Stick to the facts and discuss the issue at hand without resorting to personal attacks. This works alongside staying calm — by not hurling insults, accusing the other person, or belittling them for their behavior, you can stay on more even ground.

5. Ask open-ended questions.

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Instead of telling them why they’re wrong, ask questions that encourage them to think critically about their position. This can help them see things from a different perspective without feeling attacked. While it’s unlikely that they’ll admit then and there that they’re being unreasonable, you leave them with food for thought.

6. Use “I” statements.

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Instead of saying “You’re wrong,” say “I feel that…” or “I think that…” This makes your message less confrontational and more about expressing your feelings or thoughts. If they care about you, it should matter to them that you’re hurt, angry, or unhappy with how they’re handling a situation and they’ll want to do something to address it.

7. Offer solutions, not criticisms.

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Instead of focusing on what they’re doing wrong, try to come up with solutions to whatever issues are at hand. This shows that you’re interested in resolving the problem rather than just blaming them. Even if it is their fault, telling them so isn’t going to get you any closer to working things out (or calming them down!).

8. Wait for the right moment.

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If the person is too angry or upset, they may not be capable of having a rational discussion. In that case, it might be best to wait until they’ve calmed down before attempting to talk to them. This might mean you both need to cool off for a few hours, or maybe you revisit the conversation in a few days. Don’t to force a resolution when the other person is too emotional because it will never work out.

9. Keep your expectations in check.

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Understand that you might not be able to get through to them in one conversation. It may take several attempts, and you may need to accept that they might never see things your way. In that case, you have to figure out what you want to do about it and how you’ll handle them and the situation if that’s the case.

10. Know when to walk away.

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If the person refuses to listen or the conversation becomes too heated, it’s okay to walk away. Sometimes, the best you can do is to agree to disagree and preserve your sanity. If you find that their irrational behavior is becoming too frequent or starting to disrupt your life as a whole, it may be time to cut ties with them.

11. Maintain your boundaries.

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Boundaries in a relationship aren’t just healthy, they’re absolutely vital and totally non-negotiable. That’s especially true when you’re dealing with someone who’s toxic. If the irrational person is being disrespectful or offensive, make it clear that this behavior is unacceptable. This can help ensure that even challenging conversations are conducted with respect.

12. Validate their feelings.

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Even if you disagree with their viewpoint, acknowledge that their feelings are real to them. Saying something like, “I understand that you’re upset,” can help them feel heard and might make them more open to hearing what you have to say, or it might not. Either way, you can walk away from the conversation feeling confident that you have done your part in trying to resolve things.

13. Use humor.

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If appropriate, a little humor can help defuse tension and make the conversation feel less confrontational. However, be careful to ensure your humor isn’t at their expense or you could end up with a full-blown fight on your hands. If the irrational person is a friend, family member, or someone else you value a relationship with, making light of things could be a good tactic.

14. Be consistent.

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If you’re dealing with this person regularly, be consistent in your words and actions, which can set a positive pattern for better communication and establish expectations. Over time, this can help create a more effective communication dynamic.

15. Seek mediation.

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If the situation is not improving, consider seeking a neutral third party to mediate the conversation. This could be a mutual acquaintance, a manager, or a professional mediator. Their impartial perspective can help guarantee constructive conversation.

16. Practice self-care.

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Interacting with irrational people can be draining. Remember to take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and mentally. Engage in activities that help you relax and recharge, and seek support from loved ones or a professional if needed.

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Phoebe Mertens is a writer, speaker, and strategist who has helped dozens of female-founded and led companies reach success in areas such a finance, tech, science, and fashion. Her keen eye for detail and her innovative approach to modern womanhood makes her one of the most sought-out in her industry, and there's nothing she loves more than to see these companies shine.

With an MBA from NYU's Stern School of Business and features in Forbes and Fast Company she Phoebe has proven she knows her stuff. While she doesn't use social media, she does have a private Instagram just to look at pictures of cats.