Talking to “Crazy” {A Book a Day 9}

I am sitting across from an acquaintance at the restaurant. We’ve almost made it through lunch. But now she is dipping into dangerous conversational territory.

I can’t decide what to do: do I explain why I think differently than her, or do I just nod my head and let it go?

At this moment, I still feel like the logical one and I view her as the irrational one.

But in a different situation (and maybe from her perspective in this one?), it can easily be reversed.

So this book can apply to all of us at one time or another: Talking to “Crazy”: How to Deal with the Irrational and Impossible People in Your Life by Mark Goulston.

All of us are irrational and impossible at times.

But when it’s your turn to be sane and the other person seems off-balance, try some practical advice from this book.

Here are 12 statements or questions from Talking to “Crazy” to help you defuse a situation.

  1. “Say more about that.”
  2. “Yes, I see.”
  3. “What’s the worst thing for you right now?”
  4. “Hmmm.”
  5. “Okay.”
  6. “Really?”
  7. “What else scares you right now?”
  8. “Tell me what you need me to say or do to make the situation better for you.”
  9. “What would it take to make this right?”
  10. “What do I need to do right now?”
  11. “What is the critical thing I need to do in the short term?”
  12. “What is the most important thing I need to do in the long term?”

For defusing the potential bomb at my lunch table that afternoon, I instinctively went for #5.

It wasn’t aggressive. It didn’t imply agreement (or disagreement). It simply allowed enough breathing space for the discussion to fade out on its own, without my provocatively ramping it higher.

In other words, it worked.

But the next time, when it’s me that is irrational, maybe I can hand this list of statements to my companion, and they can help me return safely to sanity, too.

Talking to Crazy

More Quotes from Talking to “Crazy”

“The crux is this: You can’t be sincerely empathic toward and angry with someone at the same moment.”

~ * ~

“The emotion that most often lies at the core of anger and venting isn’t hatred or repulsion. It’s disappointment. However, people rarely use that word. Instead, they use horrible, hateful words that they don’t really mean.”

~ * ~

“This simple question—What’s the worst thing for you right now?—can be life altering because it makes people feel less alone. Pain is pain. But suffering is feeling alone in pain.”

~ * ~

“The best antidote to woulda, coulda, shoulda but didn’t is ask, listen, and listen some more.”

~ * ~

“The first step in finding the sane inside the crazy is to believe it’s there.”

Which of the above 12 statements/questions do you use most often to turn down the heat? Share in the comments

You are on Day #9 of the series, A Book a Day {Nonfiction Favorites}.

Each day of February 2023 I’m recommending one book a day from favorite nonfiction books I’ve recently read.

The Table of Contents for all 28 books is here, updated daily.

A Book a Day: Nonfiction Favorites

The Dance of Connection” {Book 8}

Someday Is Today” {Book 10}

5 thoughts on “Talking to “Crazy” {A Book a Day 9}

  1. Donna B Reidland

    What an interesting topic! And timely. It seems like everyone today is angry or off the chart about something. I found myself in a similar situation yesterday and I had to let the other person keep talking while I waited for some wisdom from God.

  2. Ashley Rowland | HISsparrowBlog

    Oh, my goodness. I love this. How many times do we freeze—not knowing if we should offer our differing opinion or let the other person just get it out? I love what you said about all of us talking crazy at times. What a wonderful reminder. That’s important to keep in mind as we deal with others in order to extend the grace needed in the moment. Wonderful review, Lisa.

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