learning how to deal with moody people

As we re-enter life following an extended absence, one of the aspects we must address is re-learning how to deal with people around us. Sometimes they are a new colleague, other times it’s someone in line at a grocery store. Not everyone will be having a good day. This post is about how to deal with moody people around you.

Yes, moody people can drive you nuts… You may feel as if though you’re walking on eggshells around them. But often, moody people are sensitive because of factors outside of their control. They may have chemical imbalance or various emotional conditions. Or, the problem may lie in their family or professional expectations that have not been met.

But whatever it may be, the unpredictability of their mood, makes it challenging to handle them effectively. Their emotional inconsistency, needs to be handled with consistency on your part. Your responses and actions should be rational, reliable and calm. Bad mood can be contagious, so exercise your self control so as not to get “infected”. Here are some tips to handle a person in a bad mood.

1. Examine Your Options

First, examine if the contact with this person is actually necessary. If it’s just a stranger on the street, you may not want to engage with this person. You may choose to go about your life, without further interaction. A simple “sorry, I don’t have the time” can work well to resolve the issue. If you must communicate with that moody person, keep reading.

2. Remain Positive

I must reiterate here, that you don’t want to get influenced by the negative mood of the moment. You must make a conscious choice to remain in a positive mood throughout your encounter. If the situation gets out of hand, it’s advisable to disconnect from it. The person will just have to wait, until the mood settles, to reengage in communication.

3. Stand Your Ground

Some people use their bad mood to control others. They have learned that they can get their way by appearing rude or dissatisfied. Don’t give in to the game. Make it very clear that you don’t tolerate being manipulated or mistreated. Communicate to them that you will consider their suggestions, but not because they are bullying you.

4. Communicate

Good communication is essential during every interaction in general, but especially with someone in a bad mood. Simply ask the other person, why they appear to be in a bad, or down mood. You will find that people tend to open up when someone genuinely cares about them. Often, they just need to vent out, to regain a better spirit.

I remember working a lot with the public in the past. I dealt with people from many different walks of life, who were going through tough times. Among them were homeless, recovering drug addicts, and people with mild psychological issues. As a rule, they were already in a bad mood before we interacted.

Knowing this, I would begin every conversation by asking them to tell me one positive thing about their life. No matter how small. This would usually refocus their attention on a positive aspect of their life. Their mood would usually improve, and our appointment would take a much healthier tone.

5. It’s Not About You

I emphasise this over and over. It’s not about you. The moody person is not targeting you personally. They did not wake up this morning thinking how they can make you feel bad today. Most of the time, you happened to come across them at a time when they are upset with their own life. You’re just a bystander.

Usually, you are not responsible for the feelings of another. If you can lend an ear, great. Otherwise, they will just have to deal with whatever troubles them. On the other hand, if it is your job to comfort them, do it with compassion and kindness. Anyone can end up being in any situation. You never know, when the tables may turn, and it will be you on the other side. We are all more alike than we think.

Live well. Vlad

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4 Responses to learning how to deal with moody people

  1. Noch Noch | be me. be natural. March 10, 2012 at 12:33 pm #

    haha – it makes me sound like I need to deal with myself :)
    but i remember a colleague of mine used to be very moody, i asked her out to lunch and got to know her better, after a few times she started opening up to me. I realized she was troubled by specific things. as her manager, i changed a few things, and it was much better for everyone else on the team. so true. communication is all it takes
    Noch Noch

    • Vlad March 10, 2012 at 5:47 pm #

      I’ve been there too! Sometimes when I get moody, a little bit of communication with myself helps too! :-)

      But paying some attention to others like you did, helps people open up. And then we realize that we’re all quiet similar inside.

      Thanks! Vlad

      • maggie June 22, 2012 at 7:34 am #

        Thanks Vlad! This article is really helpful.

        • Vlad Rapoport June 22, 2012 at 10:39 pm #

          Hi Maggie,
          I’m so happy to hear that it helped you in some way!

          Vlad