Ask Alignor

What if I am dealing with someone who seems irrational or crazy?

Very few people are truly irrational. (The exceptions might be very young children and adults with mental health issues.) Most people you deal with who seem irrational may be emotional–and even have critical emotional needs, such as a need for respect or vindication–but that does not make them irrational. Their decision-making is still driven by their perception of how their needs, including emotional needs, may be affected by various options and alternatives. Some people also use the appearance of irrationality as a tactic to be difficult and block you from achieving your goals. When people appear irrational, you should consider: 1) whether you understand their true needs, 2) whether they understand their own needs, and 3) whether they are using the appearance of irrationality as a negotiating tactic. If you find that you are dealing with one of these situations, then you can formulate your strategy accordingly.