If you’ve ever had to deal with a completely shameless person in your life, you know it can be a pain. They walk over, run through, embarrass, and shame those around them, without seeming to bat an eye. So how do you deal with such a person? Here are 8 clever ways to cope.
1. Keep your cool.
Shameless people are usually doing boisterous things to get attention. By not engaging in their drama, you take their power away and remove the wind from their sails. But if you fall into the trap of whatever catastrophe they’re trying to create, you’ll end up the embarrassed one. By not engaging, you separate yourself from the consequences as well as the emotional turmoil.
2. Avoid shaming them.
According to an article in Psychology Today, shameless people are usually full of deep shame, and their “I don’t care” attitude is how they’re coping with it. What that means to you, is that if you shame them deeper, you’re likely to cause them to act out in a greater way. So return to step one, and keep your cool. You don’t want to set off a chain of events that are targeted at you.
3. Get some sleep.
This may seem entirely unrelated to dealing with shameless people, but not getting enough sleep makes everything and everyone harder to deal with. Sleep recharges your brain, shuffling and discarding memories while you slumber (dreams), so you can wake up refreshed and clear-headed. Your memory, self-control, and attention span are reduced when you’re tired, and sleep deprivation raises hormones causing stress even without an aggravator. So if you are facing an obnoxious over-sharer, or an inappropriately dressed co-worker, you’re going to be much more irritated than you would have been if you’d slept well.
4. Don’t forget what they’ve done.
I’m all for forgiving people for stupid things they’ve done, because harboring toxic feelings inside is a recipe for disaster. But to forgive, does not mean to forget. If you forget that they have no problem yelling loudly inappropriate phrases in public, then you’ll be the one stuck with egg on your face when everyone in the nice restaurant you’re eating lunch at, is staring in shock. You can make peace without making friends. People don’t change as often as we’d like to think.
5. Set boundaries.
It’s okay to tell people what you find acceptable and what you will not stand for. If you have a co-worker who makes sexual comments, or is a little more “hands on” than you’re comfortable with, it’s perfectly okay to tell them not to treat you that way. Be specific, articulate, and clear. You don’t want there to be any room for interpretation. “I’m not comfortable with physical touch of any kind, or with you referencing my body in any way.” When you set clear boundaries, you will be more capable of taking action against the shameless person, should they cross the line.
6. Sort out the facts from the drama.
Shameless people are often perpetual liars who boldly and authoritatively spew lie after lie to draw attention to themselves. And they get away with it because no one wants to confront or embarrass them. This can be frustrating, and even confusing at times. But the more ridiculous it is, the easier it will be to sort through it all to find the facts. When you ignore the added drama, and address only the hard facts, it takes away the power of the lies, and discourages that kind of behavior. It shows them that they’ll get attention for being truthful, and so they’ll want to steer more in that direction. And even if they don’t, it will help you to feel more in control.
7. Stay aware.
Getting caught off guard can suck you right into the trap of a shameless person. Before you know what’s happening, you’re angry and arguing, when you could have kept your cool. You can’t stop someone from pushing your buttons, if you don’t see it coming. If you’re alert, you can remove yourself from the situation and take a moment to regroup. While you’re alone, come up with a plan to deal with the situation, and attack it head on. In this way, you’ll focus more on the solution than the problem, which will help you to alleviate some of the frustration and anger that can arise when the problem is all you can see.
8. Maintain a great support system.
Some shameless people are more work than any individual can take on alone, and maintaining a great support system of rational people, can help you to keep a clear perspective. When someone is ranting loudly at you about their biased thinking all day long, it can start making you feel like you’re the cray one, but if you have friends or coworkers that are rational, they’ll set the record straight. They may even be able to laugh about it with you, which will alleviate some of the stress it’s causing.
Featured photo credit: Ryan Mcguire via gratisography.com