Practical Steps for Days When You Can’t People


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What do you do when you are on your last nerve. When you can't people . . . even the ones you claim to love. Here's help. Practical tips to help when people are driving you crazy. Don't give up. You can have hope.

This cracks me up. One of those funny truths.

Some days people are just too hard.

Day’s when you’re:

  • Frustrated.
  • Angry.
  • Hurt.
  • Tired.
  • Exhausted.
  • _________.

[Tweet “What do you do when you can’t people? Can’t family? Can’t coworkers? Can’t . . . nope you just can’t?”]

Paul had an answer.

Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tender-hearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults, and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. Colossians 3:12–15

If you’re like me, you’re thinking . . . that is so not what I needed right now. You might also be thinking . . . Paul would not be saying that if he had to put up with my husband, children, or neighbors who are currently poking repeatedly at my last nerve.

Practical Steps for Days When You Can’t People

1. Remember to Pray – Start with prayer. God is very aware of the annoyances in your life. He knows what happened yesterday and knows what the rest of today looks like. Oh yeah, tomorrow and the next day too. He knows. Talk with Him and be ready to listen.

2. Remember to Be Thankful – Start with the end in mind and be thankful for the people.

I remember a time early in our marriage when Rev neglected something I’d asked him to do . . . again and again. I was pregnant, hormonal, and very annoyed. As I took care of the truthfully unimportant task myself with full-blown crankiness I heard God’s quiet whisper. “Would you prefer he wasn’t here?”

It wasn’t a threat. Just a question. What’s more important the relationship or being right? It’s a question that still blesses our marriage. And I do believe Rev has to ask himself more often than I do.

3. Remember God’s love – You live under the filter of God’s love and forgiveness. The people in your life live under that same filter. Make it a habit of looking at them through His filter.

Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9

4. Remember God’s Help – You don’t have to do it alone. You don’t have to be perfect or strong. I often wonder if there were days when Jesus was just tired of dealing with people. We don’t know. We do know He took time to be alone with His Father. He returned again and again to prayer trusting the Father to provide everything He needed.

The temptations in your life are no different from what others experience. And God is faithful. He will not allow the temptation to be more than you can stand. When you are tempted, He will show you a way out so that you can endure. 1 Corinthians 10:13

5. Take Care of Yourself and Remember to Breathe in Wonderful – Get enough rest. Eat healthy. Stay as active as possible. Do something you enjoy each day. Sometimes it just takes a few minutes alone with great music, a good book, a walk outside, or whatever feed our heart. Trust God to restore you.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. 2 Corinthians 1:3–4

6. Write down the words in Colossians 3:12Mercy, Kindness, Humility, Gentleness, Patience, Forgiveness, Peace, and Love. Carry them with you and remember the positive change they can make in your life. 

Finally – Remember It’s Possible You May Be Annoying on Occasion. 

Give the same grace you receive from God and you’d like to receive from others.

What do you do when you are on your last nerve When you can't people Here are practical tips to help when people are driving you crazy...

Quotes to Help –

“You don’t have to attend every argument you’re invited to.” ~Unknown

“Everybody has a hot button. Who is pushing yours? While you probably cannot control that person, you CAN control the way you react to them.” ~Unknown

“Difficult People are your key to self empowerment, you need to learn how to cope with them, not let them dominate and affect you.” ~Janice Davies

“We are the Bibles the world is reading; We are the creeds the world is needing; We are the sermons the world is heeding.” ~Billy Graham

Ask yourself, “Will a reaction to this person contribute to the things that matter most to me?” ~Tina Su

Take a deep breath and get ready – Are you ready for people today?

What do you do on days when you can’t people?

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  1. “I often wonder if there were days when Jesus was just tired of dealing with people. We don’t know. We do know He took time to be alone with His Father. ” That’s it right there, Deb! Time alone with the Father. Great post! Lots of encouragement and practical words straight from His word!

    1. Thank you June. Getting away from the crazies and dspending time in prayer and Bible Study give the strength I need to get back on the merry-go-round and keep riding.

  2. This is good stuff. There are frequently days when I can’t people. I’m saving this post to help me keep perspective.

  3. Being an extrovert I am most always ready for people. But there are times I am just tired of listening, and sometimes even caring. But I also know God has called me to this ministry so I pray for strength. Sometimes I avoid “fights” because I just don’t want to deal with the pettiness. Along with helping people I am also responsible for protecting my own heart.

    1. I used to be more of an extrovert than I am now. Definitely need more quiet time than I used to. Thankful for the ways God uses that time to refresh and even make me enthusiastic about “people-ing.”

  4. I spend many, many hours during most days by myself when everyone is at work. That seems to give me the time and space I need away from others so that when I’m “peopling”, I really enjoy myself. 🙂
    And we all need our time with the Father, don’t we?
    Blessings, Deb!

    1. Built in down time. Sounds like a great way to recharge and get ready. Thanks for faithfully joining the conversation Martha!

  5. What an awesome post! Helpful information presented in an entertaining way; I laughed out loud when you said ‘remember, there’s a chance that you might sometimes be annoying too’.
    I am prone to falling into ‘can’t people’ when we are away from home. I’ve found one thing that helps is to prepare myself to be away and constantly surrounded by people- spend quiet time before hand and saturate myself in scripture that ensures God’s peace and his love for all the people I’ll be around!

    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement Kelsey. You blessed my day. Full schedules pull us in so many directions.

      I also need to remember that I can so easily become the one getting on everyone’s last nerve. Pray my time of refreshing makes me more tolerable for them. 🙂

  6. Ahhh…such good advice. I adore people, but some days… Some days, I really have to rely on the strength of the Lord to get me through! Thank you for your words! Glad I stopped by from Woman 2 Woman!

  7. Thanks Liz. I need God’s strength to get me through too. Thankful for His grace and willingness to provide strength and patience. Blessings!

  8. I stumbled across this right when I needed it. I have someone in my life who has really been hurting me lately and going out of their way to do so, a family member, and I want so bad to yell and them and be really mean back. But then I read something like this and realize that I’m approaching the situation all wrong. Thank you.

    1. I’m so glad it blessed you Claire. I’m praying for kindness for you from your family member. Thanks for visiting and for stopping to bless my heart. God’s blessings to you!

  9. Yes. Just yes. I don’t need this today but I will need it soon I’m sure. Thank you for the wise words.

  10. Anastasia says:

    This is awesome. I love that its so true. Some days you just can’t, haha! I need to print these 😉

    1. I should probably carry it around with me too, Ana. So often I write to be reminded of something I need or ways I can solve a problem. I’m glad it blessed you too!

  11. I need to be so much better about praying for the difficult people in my life! Thanks for the reminder

  12. Great words, Deb!

    You sound like a pastor’s wife – very used to doing people!

    Thank for your these practical words of hope today!

    Hope you have a blessed weekend~

  13. Wow! Love the quotes

    We don’t have to attend every argument we’re invited to. Wow!

  14. Jason Stasyszen says:

    It can certainly be hard in the heat of the moment, but we can learn to constantly adjust our gaze back to the Father. Great thoughts here, Deb! Thank you. 🙂

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