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T.H.U.M.P. – 5 Ways to Deal with Irresponsible People

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T.H.U.M.P. – 5 Ways to Deal with Irresponsible People
class="bigphoto">Irresponsible People

Yep, we’ve all been there. Whether it’s a co-worker, a family member, or even a close friend, we’ve all had to deal with people whose stark irresponsibility causes anger, annoyance, and even chaos everywhere they go.

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These individuals are constantly late, they don’t follow instructions, they miss appointments, they forget to call, they make drastically uninformed decisions, and they just generally create negativity and angst for the rest of us.

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Here are five great ways for dealing with these annoying people, and the very appropriate acronym to help you remember these tips is T.H.U.M.P!

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  • Tell them – Believe it or not, many people who are chronically irresponsible don’t realize the depth of the chaos that they leave in their wake. It’s not up to us to teach and train the masses about how to be responsible members of society, but that doesn’t mean we can’t point out that they have caused a problem due to their irresponsible behavior. If they get upset about it, that is probably because they know that you’re right, and no one likes to face the fact that they screwed up.
  • Have a back up plan – Despite your best efforts to tell certain people about their less than savory personality traits, some people are just going to be irresponsible no matter what you do. Your only recourse then is to have a plan in place for whenever they live up to your expectations of them. Whenever you are involved in any dealings with these people, you can think positive about the outcome – and maybe that will come to pass – but you should also plan for that person to drop the ball. By having a back up plan in place long before this person has a chance to cause an issue, you’ll save yourself and everyone involved a lot of headaches.
  • Undermine their involvement – Sometimes the best defense is a smashing offense! If your favorite irresponsible person is going to cause problems despite your best efforts, simply remove them from the equation. Make plans without telling them. Fill their normal slot in your endeavors with someone else before they get a chance to get involved. Keep a tight lid on the details about your upcoming adventures. Even if the irresponsible person finds out, that doesn’t mean that you need to suddenly gush about all of the details, thus allowing them to possibly slip in at the last minute.
  • Make them an offer – When all else fails, turn to bribery! If you can’t advise the person, prepare for their chaos, or otherwise avoid their involvement, then make them an offer that they can’t refuse. Dangle a big carrot in front of their face, and promise them a rich reward if they manage to be a part of whatever you are planning without making a mess of it. Be sure your “carrot” is something that really appeals to them, even if that appeal is simply to their vanity or to their misguided perceptions.
  • Prepare yourself mentally – The final way of dealing with irresponsible people is to simply expect them to be that way. This isn’t to say that you should run around thinking the worst of people. However, there are some people who are going to do what they are going to do, no matter how many problems it causes for other people. If they are going to do their thing regardless of your efforts to the contrary, then the best thing that you can do is to just be ready for it on a mental level. Even chaos, anarchy, and negativity aren’t as bad if we are ready for them. Often, just being ready for something will limit the negative effect that it has on us.

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Last Updated on November 18, 2021

10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

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10 Proven Ways to Judge a Person’s Character

We all fall into the trap of judging a person’s character by their appearance. How wrong we are! All too often, the real character of the person only appears when some negative event hits them or you. Then you may see a toxic person emerging from the ruins and it is often a shock.

A truly frightening example is revealed in the book by O’Toole in Bowman called Dangerous Instincts: How Gut Instincts Betray Us. A perfectly respectable, charming, well dressed neighbor was found to have installed a torture chamber in his garage where he was systematically abusing kidnapped women. This is an extreme example, but it does show how we can be totally deceived by a person’s physical appearance, manners and behavior.

So, what can you do? You want to be able to assess personal qualities when you come into contact with colleagues, fresh acquaintances and new friends who might even become lifelong partners. You want to know if they are:

  • honest
  • reliable
  • competent
  • kind and compassionate
  • capable of taking the blame
  • able to persevere
  • modest and humble
  • pacific and can control anger.

The secret is to reserve judgment and take your time. Observe them in certain situations; look at how they react. Listen to them talking, joking, laughing, explaining, complaining, blaming, praising, ranting, and preaching. Only then will you be able to judge their character. This is not foolproof, but if you follow the 10 ways below, you have a pretty good chance of not ending up in an abusive relationship.

1. Is anger a frequent occurrence?

All too often, angry reactions which may seem to be excessive are a sign that there are underlying issues. Do not think that every person who just snaps and throws his/her weight around mentally and physically is just reacting normally. Everyone has an occasional angry outburst when driving or when things go pear-shaped.

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But if this is almost a daily occurrence, then you need to discover why and maybe avoid that person. Too often, anger will escalate to violent and aggressive behavior. You do not want to be near someone who thinks violence can solve personal or global problems.

2. Can you witness acts of kindness?

How often do you see this person being kind and considerate? Do they give money to beggars, donate to charity, do voluntary work or in some simple way show that they are willing to share the planet with about 7 billion other people?

I was shocked when a guest of mine never showed any kindness to the weak and disadvantaged people in our town. She was ostensibly a religious person, but I began to doubt the sincerity of her beliefs.

“The best index to a person’s character is how he treats people who can’t do him any good, and how he treats people who can’t fight back.”

Abigail Van Buren

3. How does this person take the blame?

Maybe you know that s/he is responsible for a screw-up in the office or even in not turning up on time for a date. Look at their reaction. If they start blaming other colleagues or the traffic, well, this is an indication that they are not willing to take responsibility for their mistakes.

4. Don’t use Facebook as an indicator.

You will be relieved to know that graphology (the study of that forgotten skill of handwriting) is no longer considered a reliable test of a person’s character. Neither is Facebook stalking, fortunately. A study showed that Facebook use of foul language, sexual innuendo and gossip were not reliable indicators of a candidate’s character or future performance in the workplace.

5. Read their emails.

Now a much better idea is to read the person’s emails. Studies show that the use of the following can indicate certain personality traits:

  • Too many exclamation points may reveal a sunny disposition
  • Frequent errors may indicate apathy
  • Use of smileys is the only way a person can smile at you
  • Use of the third person may reveal a certain formality
  • Too many question marks can show anger
  • Overuse of capital letters is regarded as shouting. They are a definite no-no in netiquette, yet a surprising number of  people still use them.

6. Watch out for the show offs.

Listen to people as they talk. How often do they mention their achievements, promotions, awards and successes? If this happens a lot, it is a sure indication that this person has an over-inflated view of his/her achievements. They are unlikely to be modest or show humility. What a pity!  Another person to avoid.

7. Look for evidence of perseverance.

A powerful indicator of grit and tenacity is when a person persists and never gives up when they really want to achieve a life goal. Look for evidence of them keeping going in spite of enormous difficulties.

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Great achievements by scientists and inventors all bear the hallmark of perseverance. We only have to think of Einstein, Edison (who failed thousands of times) and Nelson Mandela to get inspiration. The US Department of Education is in no doubt about how grit, tenacity and perseverance will be key success factors for youth in the 21st century.

8. Their empathy score is high.

Listen to how they talk about the less fortunate members of our society such as the poor, immigrants and the disabled. Do you notice that they talk in a compassionate way about these people? The fact that they even mention them is a strong indicator of empathy.

People with zero empathy will never talk about the disadvantaged. They will rarely ask you a question about a difficult time or relationship. They will usually steer the conversation back to themselves. These people have zero empathy and in extreme cases, they are psychopaths who never show any feelings towards their victims.

9. Learn how to be socially interactive.

We are social animals and this is what makes us so uniquely human. If a person is isolated or a loner, this may be a negative indicator of their character. You want to meet a person who knows about trust, honesty and loyalty. The only way to practice these great qualities is to actually interact socially. The great advantage is that you can share problems and celebrate success and joy together.

“One can acquire everything in solitude, except character.”

Stendhal

 10. Avoid toxic people.

These people are trying to control others and often are failing to come to terms with their own failures. Typical behavior and conversations may concern:

  • Envy or jealousy
  • Criticism of partners, colleagues and friends
  • Complaining about their own lack of success
  • Blaming others for their own bad luck or failure
  • Obsession with themselves and their problems

Listen to these people talk and you will quickly discover that you need to avoid them at all costs because their negativity will drag you down. In addition, as much as you would like to help them, you are not qualified to do so.

Now, having looked at some of the best ways to judge a person, what about yourself? How do others see you? Why not take Dr. Phil’s quiz and find out. Can you bear it?

Featured photo credit: Jacek Dylag via unsplash.com

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