Three tips to calm down, step back and not freak out when people act all funky around you.

by Barb Roose

photo credit:

photo credit:

Yesterday, my husband and I were eating breakfast. Actually, he was eating breakfast while I stared at his plate. I slowly sipped a half a cup of orange juice because I planned to do my yoga workout later that morning. If you’ve done yoga, you know that eating before a workout is an express ticket pass to nausea and in my case, vomiting.

Without any food to keep my mouth busy, I decided to strike up a conversation. Attempt #1:

ME: “How do you feel about the upcoming election?”

HUBBY: “I’m taking a break from the coverage.”

ME: “Oh.” Strike One.

I sipped my juice and looked down again at the newspaper searching for a new topic of conversation. There wasn’t much to work with. Conversation attempt #2: “Hey babe, the National Amateur Baseball Federation is going to be in town.”

And you thought that my life was more interesting that yours…

My husband quirked an eyebrow and I took that as a cue that he wanted to hear more. So, I read the entire list of the conventions that would be in our area. Still, no response. So, I made one last attempt “Did you see the new patents issued in the business section today?”

I kid you not. I actually said that.

Matt kept eating and listened patiently as I read the list of new patents given out and I can never get those lame two minutes back ever again. Afterward, he thanked me for breakfast and hustled upstairs leaving me at the dining room table to sulk. Here I was available for thrilling conversation on a Monday morning and it seems that my husband had better things to do. Of all the nerve!

As I sat at the dining room table as the only guest to my Monday Morning Pity Party, I churned on how hurt I was over the morning’s lack of conversation. Clearly, I cared my deeply about our relationship more than my hubby. Armed with sufficient indignation, I worked up more woe-is-me sentiments:

If he really cared about me, he would have…
I can’t believe that he…
Why am I the only one who…

My husband bounded down the steps less than 10 minutes later. He grabbed his keys and kissed me on the cheek. Turns out, he’d been pre-occupied at breakfast with a list of important tasks. His goal that morning was to get out the door to take care of business before heading to work.

Interesting. He was pre-occupied with something that had ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do with me.

And yet, I’d spent the last 15 minutes of my life making our morning interaction ALL ABOUT ME…


Have you ever heard of the phrase Q-TIP? It stands for Quit Taking It Personally. I heard this phrase about a month ago and when I manage to remember it, this phrase quickly changes my outlook on negative relational situations.

There are times in life when we feel that others are out to make our lives miserable by their actions or their attitudes. The closer we are to the individual, the more painful their behavior feels. Here are some examples of times when we’re tempted to take things personally:

  • The co-worker who is always rude when you ask her to cover your shift.
  • The Facebook friend who keeps posting stupid videos about the candidate that she knows that you can’t stand.
  • The sister or sibling who constantly gossips about you or your kids.
  • The neighbor who borrowed $200 last summer and hasn’t paid you back yet.
  • The family member who lies or steals from you because of an addiction.
  • When your best friend is always, always late. Like always. All of the time. She couldn’t be on time even if time stood still.

I love this quote:

QTIP quote

In these situations, our first thought that they are intentionally trying to hurt our feelings or ruin our day with their funky behavior. Therefore, we conclude that their funky-funkiness is 100% absolute, undeniable proof that they do not care about us like we care about them.

So, what happens next? We get funky right back! Unfriend. Unfollow. Block. Ignore. Blame. Retaliate. They hurt our feelings and so we’re going to hurt their back, right?

Here’s the reality: When someone acts like a jerk or unintentionally hurts you, he or she is acting based on their own stress, selfishness, anger or pain. It has nothing, absolutely NOTHING to do with you.

How does Q-TIP help us? Here are three ways that remembering this phrase can change or your day – or even your life:

  1. “Q-TIP” reminds me not to jump to conclusions.

There is always a backstory to whatever people are saying or doing in front of us. As the popular saying goes, “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Friends, we’re all slugging through life and we’re all doing the best that we can.

So, can we give people “grace and space.” If someone acts funky toward you, step back, stay calm and be silent. Hustle out of there if he or she has a track record of getting physically angry!

Wait for him or her to calm down and then, consider whether or not you need to speak up and address the situation.

Speak up because you respect yourself, not because you expect them to change or apologize.

2. “Q-TIP” reminds me that I don’t have to “feel their feelings.”

Oh, my sweet sisters! How many of us have messed up ourselves by getting too wrapped up in the lives of others? There’s a difference between holding someone’s hand for support versus being their emotional crutch.  Honey, don’t let someone wear you out with her drama!

3. “Q-TIP” frees me to care about people, without having to control them.  

We always get in trouble when we try to “fix” someone’s feelings. If we end up in a situation with someone who’s in a bad mood, let them be Mr. or Mrs. Grumpypants. Don’t try to talk them out of it. Why? Because they aren’t thinking about you in that moment, but they will turn on you because they’re looking for an outlet for their frustration. Don’t let it be you!

Thanks for checking out today’s post. I’d love for you to share a comment and tell me which one of these three Q-TIPS might be the most helpful for you? By the way, if you think that your friends might enjoy this post, use the share buttons at the top or bottom to pass it along! 

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