Talking to Crazy
Many times, in my various careers I have been in situations with individuals where I did not know how to respond in a constructive way. Generally, it is because they, whomever they are, is acting crazy or saying crazy shit. Not crazy like mentally ill, rather crazy as in being irrational. How did I deal with them? Well, when it was a superior I had to deal with it or quit. When it was a client, I typically had to deal with it or get new clients. What if it was a coworker? Well, then you can talk about them with the other coworkers. Generally, it is just a bitch session about how the person is ridiculous or completely irrational. We all stand around the water cooler and trade stories about how this or that person is crazy.
There must be a better way than putting up with, bitching about, or leaving the relationship (i.e. getting a new job). Mark Goulston has an intriguingly titled book called “Talking to Crazy, How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life.” I just wish I would have had this book a long time ago. It would have helped me out of many sticky situations.
His advice? You have to come to understand your crazy and then their crazy in order to respond to it in a constructive manner. You should do stuff like, listen. No, actually listen, not pretending to listen, which is what most of us do most of the time. Once you understand where they are coming from you can meet them at that crazy place and bring them back to the rational world. Well, that sounds easier than it is. The book is full of practical examples and advice on how to deal with different types of crazy.
The books worth comes from the fact that it not only can be applied to your work life but that it applies to every relationship you have. He covers how to talk to teenagers and how to deal with people that have actual mental illnesses. Help for every relationship you have. At some point in time everyone is a little irrational. I put this on my “must read” list for career advice.
Have you read the book? Tell me what you think.