How to RESPOND to Bad Behavior


How to Respond to Bad Behavior                                       05 15 19


We’ve all been there – that moment when someone does or says something way out of line with our expectations and/or standards. When it happens it’s surprising, somewhat shocking and can leave us so aghast we hardly know what to say. 

So many people just say nothing hoping the behavior was an apparition or praying it will never occur again.  Others react with great emotional gusto as if this unwanted behavior is the crime of the century.  This response is probably also in the “bad” behavior category.

M. K. Gandhi said, “An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth makes the whole world blind.”

Avoidance or saying nothing is a recipe for resentment (relationship disaster). Flipping out and yelling is also disrespectful and unproductive. By the way, so is engaging in endless discussions on the same topic because nothing is ever resolved.

What does work more effectively and with more consistent results? Knowing how to “call someone out” like an adult usually works well as long as you’re dealing with another adult and by that I mean a mature reasonable person. 

If the person being challenged about their unacceptable behavior is a jerk, then they won’t respond well to much of anything you might try anyway. With that caveat, I’m going to share my four-step guide for dealing with these situations, but first let’s look at some examples of “bad” behavior.

Common examples include: Standing you up for a date, consistently being late for dates, calling you names, criticizing you in public, refusing to listen to you, not calling when he’s going to be out later than expected, moving friends or family members in to a shared residence without prior agreement, snooping in your private business, not making time for you, and the list could go on.  To clarify this post is about unacceptable behavior, not seriously abusive and/or dangerous behavior. 

The first important step in dealing with unwanted behavior is to address the issue while the incident is fresh in the minds of both parties.  You may be thinking, easier said than done, and while that may be true, failure to do this creates problems for your future relationship.

The second step is to be calm and in control of your emotions.  There is no need to raise your voice, yell or otherwise become verbally abusive or physically menacing.  No one hears what you are saying if you act like a crazy person.

Step three, when you are calmer say something like this, Why would you do (or say) that?  Why would you disrespect me that way?  The secret - men especially hate to be asked “why” questions.

Step four, once the issue is satisfactorily discussed, it’s important to re-establish balance in the relationship by letting your partner know that you really value your relationship and you are committed to addressing one another with mutual respect at all times. (Time for a hug.)

Remember: It’s okay to take a minute or several or as long as you need to collect yourself and feel calmer before you “call-out” unwanted behavior. Try these steps and watch the changes unfold.

 Your biggest fan,

 Gayla, Denver Love Coach


P.S. Consider sharing this post with someone who might benefit.