What do you do with people that have a closed mind?
There are probably a few folks that totally get under your skin. They believe in things that you could never subscribe to and they are vocal and obnoxious about it. You would love to argue your point and arguments with them and yet it is like you are speaking with a rock. They will not listen – ever. So what do you do here?
A while ago we had a neighbor who had had a problem a good friend of mine who used to rent a room from my parents. This friend had a habit to park his car on the side of the neighbor right in front of his property. One day he summoned Werner (my friend) and proclaimed a no parking zone for him in front of his house: “The water and melting snow cannot flow around your tires in the gutter and the water keeps collecting in big puddles”.
I am not sure what that to do with anything, but I was later also subject to the same reasoning. Anyway, Werner did not move his car. One day it snowed hard and when he emerged from his apartment to get into his car he found it blocked in by two piles of snow; one behind and the other in front of the car. The neighbor had had his revenge. At least for a moment.
He did not know whom he had messed with. Werner never got mad, he got even. His car was one with built-in hydrostatic suspension. He put it on high and flattened the snow mounds in little time. He lowered it as he plowed into the snow until there was no more snow heap left. Ha! The picture above shows Werner with his “present” for the neighbor. He wrote a heartfelt greeting on it. The material (soft pinewood) had something to do with what the neighbor’s head was made of.
That was one way to deal with a person with a closed mind. The humorous anecdotes aside though, please find below 5 ways to help with head strong and opinionated folks.
- Preach and teach once. Then zip it. Make your point and get out. Chances are that if you are lucky you will impact the person for the occasion, but rarely in general and long lasting terms. Spare your nerves with going overboard making points to convince people of how correct you are and they are not.
- Ignore. You always have the chance to ignore the person. In fact, that typically is the best response. No sense getting yourself all worked up just to find out that the person responding to your posts and mails is someone who can just not look at anything with an objective approach.
- Love them anyway and show empathy and compassion. The vast majority of folks cannot stand if they are being treated nicely by their opponents. Hatred is not the answer; only love will prove to be long term sustainable.
- No matter what other people do, sometimes you should not listen their brain chatter. Just focus on what more you can do. Who is affected by anything you do or say? Mostly you. Keep it simple and make sure you do the right thing no matter what anyone else thinks or says.
- Have some fun with them. Respond in a witty fashion. Much like Werner, try to be as engaging as possible. Who knows? Perhaps one day you can convince a few people to look into their snow globes and do something for others and themselves. It’s a great win if and when they listen. What more could you ask for?
Ignorant people are a daily fact of life. Do not take that without some intentional action. Make sure that you are heard, but then move on. Do not dwell on it. It will not help you, nor will it really do anything with the one whose mind is closed for the day. Do you have a story to tell with ignorant folks? how did you deal with them? Would love if you shared it with us. Use the comment field below.