You Can't Negotiate With Crazy and Other Key Tips

I have been tired this week, overwhelmed really.  I am not sure what it is completely.  Maybe it’s the failure of one of my retail locations and the money I lost there that could have helped the artisans more.  Maybe it is all the unrest and hate that is being spewed everywhere you look and how it hurts my heart to see people playing into the devil’s schemes.  Or maybe it is feeling lonely and like no one knows I am here.

I am sure many people my age who are alone feel that at times. Work has been hard and the affects of COVID are probably part of the problem.  I am stuck in the house and last week did not drive my car anywhere for the entire week.  That’s not normal for me, even in these times.  I have many topics in the hopper to write about but this week based on the Swahili Sunday broadcast, I decided to write about some of what I shared and give 3 tips to manage the craziness of our times. You can see the broadcast here:


1. You Can’t Negotiate With Crazy – This is the last strategy in my Think Like A Negotiator book.  For those of you who don’t know, I am a speaker and trainer on leadership and negotiation.  I have been a contracts negotiator and manager in the Air Force and for defense contractors.  However, this strategy isn’t only about negotiation.  Crazy happens everywhere.

When I say crazy, I’m not referring to anyone who is mentally incapacitated.  I’m talking about people who are exhibiting “crazy” behavior.  We have seen a lot of this with the plethora of “Karen” videos out there.  People losing their minds and many are going off over something small that wouldn’t otherwise happen.  These days many people are losing it over wearing a mask. Here’s a short news report of one woman who was actually holding a mask in her hand and throwing her groceries out of the cart because she was asked to wear a mask and a couple other incidents.

It’s probably not as much about wearing a mask as it is the removal of normal day to day life and not being able to look at the positive perspective of things and adjust.  We are all just one stressor away from acting out.  Think about what must be going on for this person in the store.  It’s not normal behavior and you can’t have a normal discussion with someone like this so don’t even attempt it.  They are not in their right mind. 

What about being bullied to agree with a mob?  Recently there was this incident about a mob who was attempting to bully someone eating at a restaurant minding their own business to raise a fist in support of Black Lives Matter (the organization).  There is no reasoning with these people who are so angered that nothing you say will matter.  Some say many are paid antagonists.  I don’t know but this is totally uncalled for.  If I do not agree with you, you are going to attempt to bully me into submission to your beliefs?  And if I don't agree with you then I'm racist according to certain groups.  Not what a free society is about.  You don't get to bully me to believe like you do.  I get the freedom to believe like I want to.  I am anti racist and I believe black lives do matter but against the organization BLM for the narrative they spread and encouraging violence. 

2. Verify the Facts - That leads me to the next point. With all the insanity going on in today’s crazy climate, you need to verify the facts.  Don’t take the word of social media, media or even a friend on things you are told.  You must verify that the things you are seeing or hearing are factual before actually acting on them.  For instance, the recent shooting of Jacob Blake had a beginning narrative that he just stopped to be a good Samaritan and break up a fight between 2 white women and was shot for helping out. 

Where did this come from? Someone started a false narrative that sparked riots looting and people burned down businesses and people ended up dying.  It might have still happened once the facts came out but people didn’t wait before reacting to something that was partially false. He did not stop to break up a fight, he was harassing the woman who called the police, took her keys, was wanted for assaulting her and kept resisting arrest.  Yes his kids were in the car yes he was shot 7 times.  The narrative made him out to be a hero and that he was innocently breaking up a fight to be helpful.  So people went into a rage.  Once people are in that state of mind, there is no stopping the forward trajectory of reaction unless force is used. 

Protesting is fine. I agree things need to change but for sitting Congressional representatives to say the unrest needs to continue is just fueling the fire for people to make it OK to destroy other peoples livelihood. Will mobs continue to destroy neighborhoods until everything anyone has worked for is gone?  Will someone come into your neighborhood and tear it down?  Someone posted a threat to our store in Long Beach saying "Burn It Down." Violence is never the answer. 

3. Leave Emotion Out – Finally we should all turn to peace and leave emotion out. The problem in society today is that people cannot disagree in a normal discussion.  There seems to be a lot of yelling and fighting when people are of differing beliefs.  Part of “you can’t negotiate with crazy” is deciding when to walk away.  If I do not agree with you then you may attack me because of my beliefs, call me names or even hurt me or attempt to cancel me. 

Many people’s beliefs have no basis in fact, and they are repeating narratives that someone else made up and haven’t verified the facts for themselves.  I’m guilty of doing this for sure but have worked hard to make it a point to verify the information I am given.  You should do the same. I use the example in my talks on negotiation about a guy I knew who was told by another guy that his wife was cheating on him with a certain person.  The guy did not verify the facts, went and beat the guy up and put him in the hospital and then found out that it wasn’t true.  He and his wife divorced because she was afraid of his violent behavior and an entire family was destroyed because someone didn’t take the time to verify the facts. 

These tips can be used to navigate these trying times.  If you attempt to have a discussion with family, friends or someone on the street and they start to get angry, leave emotion out and walk away.  Go home and verify the facts about what they said to be sure you know the true story.  This is the way we should all operate.  Hopefully peace will come soon.  




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