How to Deal with People Who Drive You Crazy
Crazy people are everywhere. Changing jobs won’t help.
Deal with them now, or deal with them later. You can’t escape!
- Dramatic Dennis thinks everything’s a crisis.
- Helpful Helen doesn’t know what she’s talking about, but offers suggestions.
- Bossy Barry loves telling you what to do.
- Talking Tod won’t shut up.
- Intimidating Irene won’t take no for an answer.
- Meddling Mary needs to know everything.
- Needy Ned fishes for compliments and affirmations.
- Slippery Sally won’t say what she really thinks.
- Tweaking Terry suggests improvements when you’re nearly done.
- Grumpy Gerry smiles every February 29th.
- Angry Andy responds with anger to nearly everything.
- Aloof Alicia knows what you should do, but isn’t doing what she should do.
You get sucked into crazy-world. Angry Andy makes you angry, for example. One of the worst things about the people who drive you crazy is they bring out your worst.
You tolerate behaviors you should confront. You don’t speak up with candor, kindness, and optimism. Worse yet, you don’t speak up until you blow up.
You get what you tolerate.
There’s a bit of you in the people who drive you crazy. Helpful Hellen drives me crazy. But, I’m free with suggestions. You love telling people what to do, but hate it when people tell you what to do.
- Who do I want to be when dealing with people who drive me crazy? Don’t lose yourself.
- What behaviors do I really want? If you can’t see it, it doesn’t matter.
- How am I working to make things better, specifically?
- What line in the sand should I draw?
- How will I explain my boundaries?
- What happens when my boundaries are violated?
- What lessons are the crazies teaching me?
Bonus: How do I need to change?
Who is your “favorite” Crazy? (Feel free to add some.)
How do you deal with people who drive you crazy?
Ironically, got this in my inbox after having exchanged 37 emails with my micromanaging 1-up before 6 this am!
Thanks Sally and best wishes!
This is great! Only because its perfectly true – and comical. I will be sure to share this with my team this week.
Thanks Jason. Isn’t it funny that the funniest things are true to life? cheers
Ouch! You got me! This hits close to home on several levels. Thanks for helping us see ourselves.
Thanks McSteve. I got me too! 🙂
You do what you have to do to make things work, blowing up solves nothing! Smile at them and see their reaction, may clear up a lot, Take them aside and discuss one on one, don’t make a public scene. Ask them point blank what is your point and what do you want, more direct we are the sooner we have a solution, sometimes! The other reality, it is what it is….Cheers
Thanks Tim. “Ask them point blank what is your point…” Oh Yeah!
You might also add, Ask them what they want. Most people are so fixed on what they don’t want that they haven’t thought about what they want.
Procrastinating Peter says, “If you wait until the last minute it only takes a minute.”
Thanks Jeff. I love a well turned phrase. The one you add is too true.
Contradictory Corey brings up counter opinions no matter what stance you take. I’ve found its effective to get Corey’s buy-in by asking his opinion ahead of time (pre-mtg) and specifically asking what changes or considerations he might want me to know.
And in general, understanding the underlying driver behind someone’s behavior that drives you nuts makes it easier to understand and not let it affect your own emotional state. You might just find out it’s more your reaction that’s the problem, not their behaviour.
Thanks James. Great strategy on people who seem to always take the other side of an argument. Very helpful.
You last sentence is TOO true. Would someone please take this stick out of my eye?
This post really struck me Dan, especially: “There’s a bit of you in the people who drive you crazy.” You reminded me that the person I need to work on most is the Guy in the Glass: http://www.theguyintheglass.com/gig.htm
Thanks Duane. Yup! But, I find it so much easier to fix others than work on myself!! 😉
I hate “wash hands ” Walter. He always calls out the problems and the needs but wanted nothing to do with them or fixing them.
Makes me mad every time.
I’m still learning to deal with it but I can’t get my tone right when I ask these people for their suggested solutions.
Any help is greatly appreciated.
Thanks Crazy. Your screen name seems to really work today! 🙂
I’m with you. People who like Washing Hands Walter don’t help. The best suggestions I have are in the post above. Perhaps other readers will offer something.
I’ll add that when I see this coming, I start finding ways to engage them in solution finding. Usually, they just pull back. Which, in my world, is fine for me.
When people drive me crazy, I become upset for sometimes. Then I start thinking and introspecting. Finally after some times, I derive one thing to focus upon. In the process I learn a lot. These people who drive me crazy actually question my capabilities and drive me to focus on potential. Comparison becomes very obvious in the process. You tend to look around and see there are other people who know better. There are other people who are doing better. Many times, you know your potential and you also know that you can do it better. In those moments, people who drive crazy are really motivator.
One of friend who drove me crazy to carry out some major research. I was comfortable in writing practice oriented articles. Finally, I funneled to one point, I will start writing a book. This happened with me few months back. Now, I have written first draft of the book and now proof reading it.
I think how people take crazy man. Many people can not bear with them. People like me, always take the things in positive manner.
Thanks Ajay. Wow! Your experience says crazy people are assets. Now that sure is a kick in the pants. 😉
Very fun reading. Just listing through these names made me smile as I could identify myself and others in this list. As I’ve gotten older, I find that one of the things that helps me the most is to assume positive intent, even when I know there isn’t any. Everyone’s trying to make the contribution in the way they know how based on upbringing and education and other environmental factors. And often I find the people aggravate me the most other ones were most similar to me. That revelation calmed me down considerably.
Thanks Roy. Nice add – assume positive intent. I can do this with some of the crazies but there are others who just trip my switch.
I’ll add that assuming positive intent sometimes translates into taking too long to deal with an issue. That’s my personal experience. I keep waiting for a situation to resolve itself. But, assuming positive intent doesn’t mean ignoring issues.
I agree that the people who are most irritating are most reflective of who I am. OUCH
I absolutely agree with that. It’s easier said than done. And sometimes you just have to cut your losses because it has added too much to the process to walk on eggshells.
Ouch! I needed this truth this morning…have another crazy “Control-freak Caroline” convinced that since she has worked at company for over 30 years certain unwritten privilideges apply that stroke her untamed ego. Appreciate the advice “you get what you tolerate” and can relate to the fact that there is a bit of “crazy in myself, as well. Just found your blog & appreciate the fact that you give 7 questions to apply to help us to grow from this annoying truth about crazy in our workplaces.
Thanks Lisa. Welcome to Freakville. 🙂
One trap leaders fall into is giving themselves special privileges. Good call!
Best for the journey and please keep coming back.
The one that really aggravates me is Lizard Larry, the one that stays under a rock while the going is tough, and comes out to preen and bask in the sun when all is well.
His buddy, Hyena Henry is even worse. He waits until after the struggle to feed on carrion and comment on how the struggle might have been better fought. 🙂
As mentioned by many above, the solutions to irritating people are threefold:
1) Look in the mirror and learn. Some of what they are communicating can be true, and food for personal growth.
2) Try to understand motivations of people and help them grow. A soft answer turns away wrath.
3) Avoid giving psychopaths power by ignoring them. Fully 3% of the world’s population can be classified as psychopathic, without conscience, according to Martha Stout. http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_0_19/176-1820138-3290921?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=the%20psycopath%20next%20door&sprefix=the+psycopath+next+%2Caps%2C128
Sorry, I should have said “sociopath”, not “psychopath”. Sleep deprived….and not checking…
Thanks Marc. Just a note on sociopaths. I worked with one. I didn’t realize how serious the issues was until I left the place I worked at. This person bragged about “cutting” people when they never saw it coming. They also said, I can cut you and you won’t even know until you bleed out the next day. The severity of the issue didn’t hit me until much later. I should have known but it’s hard for me to understand these types.
To borrow from South Park.. how about Captain Hindsight?! Hindsight always knows just what you should have done.
I find it helps to try to engage Hindsight in advance, as a stakeholder in the plan.
Hindsight thrives in obscurity while the plan is being developed and implemented- bring them out of hiding and invite them to weigh in before and during….it is interesting to see how quiet they become!
Thanks Lori. I had to check out “Captain Hindsight” AWESOME!
Love your strategy. Bring Captain Hindsight out in advance. Brilliant.
Selfie Stevie strains sanity. Always looking to make themselves look better, gets mad at others mistakes but looks at his own with rose colored glasses, and doesn’t know how to be part of a team. He’ll throw you under the bus unless you are someone whom he likes (or flirts with), or because you are more valuable to him there than gone (however, if you would be more valuable gone, he’ll drive you crazy). Never says hello without an ulterior motive, and only asks how you are doing to make sure you won’t embarrass him.
Thanks John. You get a thumbs up for the alliteration in the first sentence. Super!
I hate when I give myself the benefit of the doubt but hold everyone else’s feet to the fire. 🙂
I had a Dramatic Dennis in my work. Once he started a tempest in a teapot, he would then turn it into a giant blame storm. Dennis wanted to be my friend. But Dennis stabbed me every time the manufactured crisis was thundering.
Even though I had to work with Dennis, I decided to ignore him. Phone calls went un-returned, and angry emails went into a folder appropriately named Trash. When Dennis showed up at my desk ready to scream, I stood up, hands on my hips, and asked “what do you want?” I would not sit down until Dennis retreated to his gloomy cavern on the 2nd floor.
It worked! Dennis demanded that he shouldn’t have to work with me. And management obliged him, taking him off of all major accounts to work on independents. He is busy making someone else’s life hell. And I got a promotion and an office, the door to which is always closed if Dennis is on the prowl.
Thanks Dunk! Love the story. I can almost see you standing with your hands on your hips. Scary! LOL
Now you can close the door and take a few minutes to breathe, get centered, then go make it happen. Best
How about ‘I-told-you-so-Tina’. Won’t offer any input before or during the project, but loves to criticize the results and tell you how she would have done it differently. I think she is Captain Hindsight’s sister!
Thanks Pam. I can see a whole family of crazies developing before my eyes!
When I saw the heading, I immediately opened the link for a solution, ending up very disappointed to see that I have to work on myself. Very disappointing.
Lol, just kidding. Love how you keep me on my toes. Thanks again dear sir.
Thanks Steven. Your comment is a big disappointment to me. 😉 Best wishes for the journey.
I would really love to see a follow up to this blog that talks about: what line in the sand should I draw, how will I explain my boundaries, and what happens when my boundaries are violated?
I find me and my workplace in your blog almost everyday and it is nice to know that I am not alone in trying to be a good leader in an imperfect world.
Thanks Carla. I appreciate the good word.
I’m not sure what will happen tomorrow morning, but, who knows it might be a boundaries post. Cheers
“Not my problem Nancy” who shoves off any accountability for projects and/or office responsibilities when it doesn’t suit her needs…
Thanks Sarah. Good one! Nancy isn’t much of a team player.
A very interesting topic, who drive you crazy, sometimes people and sometimes circumstances. Driving you crazy has both the implications positive and negative. I have seen people undergoing tremendous pressure under circumstances created by people and I have seen those people also who become mad to defeat the creator of the circumstances , ultimately if you take it positive it becomes a good or bad , however a man should be crazy
Thanks Rajesh. I get the sense that you are saying how we take the crazies is up to us.
Loved it all Dan, what a humorous list on a not so funny topic.
.Not that I do this perfectly, but I remind myself that “difficult: people are gifts to practice whatever skills called upon in communicating with them.
People can’t drive you nuts if you don’t give them your keys.
Noisy Natalie…the loudest talker in the room spattering “look at me”.
Solution: Headphones Hank drowning out Noisy Natalie because it makes his head ache.
I have had to deal with Results driven Robin. He doesn’t care
* how many things beyond your control went wrong
* that you were not assigned enough resources to complete the task
* about the effort you put in to overcome these obsticles and acheived a good result
* that you personaly feel satisifed about the results that were acheived in difficult circumstances
The result is never good enough for him, it is too late, not good enogh or other minor tasks did not get done.
Another aspect of this interesting topic is your relationship to the person. Do you report to them or do they report to you or are they a peer or just someelse you interact with. The tactics for dealing with them are different depending on the situation. You maybe able to ignore a peer or someone in another team but not your boss.
Love the post Dan!
Great post Dan! I love how accurate this really is, you start to glare around your office associating the different types of crazies with your colleagues 🙂
Waste my time