It can be very difficult to deal with irrational behaviour. Irrational people often choose to ignore reason and logic because they are focused on making a certain point, and they don’t want anything to get in the way of that. Sadly, most people have at least one irrational person in their lives. However, unless they have issues with mental health, you can always bring an irrational person back to reality. You can use certain techniques to communicate with irrational people – you can even find common ground with each other.
If you want to be able to communicate effectively with an angry, irrational person, follow our step-by-step guide below.
1. Avoid intentionally pushing their buttons
If you know the person well, it is likely that you know exactly how to push their buttons and wind them up. This tactic should be totally avoided; choosing to wind someone up is childish, petty and offensive. It can also validate the other person’s irrational behavior. Keep the argument civil by only bringing up relevant comments.
2. Use evidence
Evidence is essential to win an argument – especially with an irrational person. Proof is difficult to deny, so back up your points with reliable and specific evidence. Consider what kind of evidence the irrational person is most likely to trust; are they very logical, or emotional? Some people are more likely to be swayed by a scientific study, and others are more likely to trust a magazine article.
3. Point out logical fallacies
Irrational people often warp logic so that it works in their favor – don’t be afraid to call this behavior out. For instance, the logic “silence fallacy” is the idea that if there is no evidence for something, it must not exist, such as germs, God or aliens. Often people think they are being logical until someone points out the flaw in their thinking.
4. Argue about your ideas (not each other)
An argument is a good chance to discuss different opinions and see other perspectives. Do not call the other person stupid for their opinions; people are much more likely to become defensive (and more irrational) if you do. Instead focus on the subject of the argument to help resolve the situation.
5. Use ‘we’ rather than ‘You’ or ‘I’
Language is very important during an argument. Saying ‘you’ and ‘I’ creates an unnecessary divide that will further drive you apart, but using ‘we’ shows you both as a single unit, encouraging the irrational person to see your point of view.
6. Respect their points
Treat others as you wish to be treated; If you are rude and disrespectful to someone during a fight, they will probably behave the same way. Remember that arguments are two-sided, and it is fine to disagree with their point, but to completely dismiss it makes the whole argument pointless.
7. Apologize when you are wrong
Sometimes people say things during fights that are hurtful without realizing it. If you are arguing with an irrational person and you hurt their feelings, acknowledge it, apologize and move on. Irrational people often struggle to let go of certain things, and without an apology it is unlikely that they will try to understand your point of view.
8. Know when to drop the argument
It can be tough to let an argument go, but sometimes it is for the best. People rarely change their mind during a fight, but often they will go home and reflect on it, and slowly their opinion will change.
If you refuse to let the fight go even when the other person is upset or angry, you may be the irrational person. Respect that everyone has different opinions and you cannot make everyone think like you do. End the argument kindly by saying “I think we have very different opinions on this subject, which is fine. Hopefully we both learned something new today.”