Handling Irrational Behavior - A Guide to Emotional Intelligence in Conversations

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Discover the secrets to handling irrational behavior and engage in emotionally intelligent conversations with our comprehensive guide. Learn how to control your emotions, validate and empathize with the other person, uncover the root cause of their behavior, and focus on finding solutions for the future.

Today I want to talk about a few ways of how to deal with someone who is behaving in an irrational way. How can you have an emotionally intelligent conversation and maybe even an argument if it gets to that? All right, let's get into it. 

All right. The number one, first thing that I want you to be cognizant of and actually put into practice is to control your emotions. If someone is irrational or behaving in an irrational way, then it is very easy if you are a logical, rational person, to let that get under your skin and push your buttons, and then react. So I really encourage you, before you react, think about, "okay, how can I best control my own emotions here and really focus on what I have control over, which is my communication, my words, my tone of voice, my emotions, my reactivity. Okay. So that's the very very first step control yourself.

If they say something that sounds just preposterous or extreme, look for the kernel of truth in that and instead of reacting to it, which again, we are not doing, because we're following that first step, which is controlling our emotions. 

Then I want you to think about, "okay, what prompted the person to say what they said?" "Why do they feel this way? I'm gonna get to the bottom of this." Ask them if there was anything that you did that offended them in any way. What caused them to think this about you or say this about you have that reaction towards you? Are these feelings warranted?

 Why do they think this way? And if it is something that you did consciously or unconsciously, then apologize for it. There is no shame in apologizing. You will be the bigger person for it. And sometimes that's all it takes to alleviate the tension in one of these heated situations, to diffuse the situation. Sometimes all it takes is that validation, the acknowledgement, and then apologizing for it.

Then you wanna empathize with the person. The validation is very strong. It's such a powerful sense of acknowledgement and it can change the mood of the conversation, it can diffuse an argument, and it is so important for someone who feels like they're not being seen, they're not being heard, they're lashing out because of those reasons they might not feel seen or heard.

And when you validate them, you are telling them, I see you, I hear you, and I'm trying to understand. So that second part there of trying to understand that's where the empathizing comes in. So really trying to put yourself in their position, understanding what are the emotions that are bubbling up in them, what is the cause of those emotions? And trying to inch your way to better get inside their head space and doing this by uncovering what could be ailing them. They themselves might not know. They might have that irrational fear or that irrational behavior expressing such behavior because they're afraid of something or they're stressed about something or worried about something. So if you can help them uncover what that is, that is gonna be very powerful to help you get to the bottom of a problem. 

Maybe you help them understand that it something that has to do with work. Maybe it's something that has to do with lacking some sort of introspection. They didn't take enough time to sit down with themselves, so to speak. And think about their priorities or feeling that sense of burnout. Why is it that they feel that sense of burnout? What have they done or not done in the way of self-care that has caused them to get to that point of burnout and now they're lashing out on you?

Helping them see what could be the issue, and holding their hand and guiding them, so to speak can be very powerful in this regard. And not just diffuse the situation, but help them get a better sense of clarity on the issue.

And if it has to do with you, then you know, they might say I don't actually despise you. It's just that your reaction was such that it got me really upset or "I don't actually mean what I said, I shouldn't have said that, but you pushed my buttons in this way, that I felt this way." And of course, it's better not to say you did this, you did that.

That's putting blame on someone. Instead, it's better to say, it made me feel this way, or that action made me feel this way, and that's why I said this, and that's why I did that. That could also be part of the uncovering aspect of this, but in general, it's better to avoid, you did this, you did that. Just keep that in mind. If there's a way that you can find to phrase something where it takes that pronoun "you" out of it much better. It'll help calm the person who's upset. And also it's just a better practice of communication in general.

And lastly, focus on the future, finding a solution for the future. Sometimes people have the same arguments over and over again. The argument about the blue carpet, the argument about money, the argument about children, the argument about schools, whatever it is, whatever people tend to argue a lot about, and I just said the blue carpet as a placeholder argument. Let's say you're just constantly fighting over a blue carpet that one person chose and the other person doesn't like, or whatever it might be. 

And if you're finding that you're having the same arguments over and over again, it's probably because you're dwelling on the past. There are certain things that might have happened that are these markers in time that just get caught in the mix, and they constantly get highlighted and reiterated without ever solving anything.

Instead, you want to start to focus on the future. So we're done with the past. We cannot change what we've done in the past, but we can change what we will do in the future. So using the previous failures, previous arguments, the circle of the arguments that we're having over and over again, that cycle, and using that as a teachable moment for how things are going to be different in the future. How we are going to change our behavior, change our perspective. Change our communication patterns and our communication style to create a different, better outcome. And that again, is going to be a conversation. It's not just you who's gonna be doing this. It's both you and the person that you are arguing with, the person that might have exhibited some irrational behavior, in which case that might have been what precipitated the argument at that time. 

So how can you be future focused? How can you take the teachable moments of previous arguments previous failed attempts at reconciliation and move the needle forward by doing something different. That is the operative word there. You need to do something different in order to achieve a different outcome.

So I encourage you to have these deep conversations, these important conversations with people that are important to you, and think about what you are both going to do differently to create a different, better outcome and prevent a situation in the future from happening where one person is irrational and lashes out, or both people are irrational and lash out on each other.

And it comes down to being able to control your emotions, listen attentively and actively and empathetically have the conversations that you might not always wanna have, but are imperative if you want to keep that relationship and for the longevity of the relationship. And these don't even have to be romantic relationships. These can be relationships with friends and platonic friendships that you have. So I really encourage you to try these out, make them your own, and practice them in the real world. That's where it matters.

All right. Thank you so much for joining me. I will see you in the next Explearning lesson. Bye for now and Happy Explearning everyone.