Practical Things to Do When You Just Can’t People

A child walking away because she just "can't people" today! Do you have days like that? Me too! Here's help!

What do you do on those days when you feel like it’s too hard to deal with people.

Nope, you just can’t people today!

Most days are full of people.

You have your family, they’re your HAVE TO people. Your coworkers. The people with whom you do ministry and the random people you cross paths with when you’re out running errands.  People are everywhere!

If you’re like me, you have days when every one of them is getting on your last nerve. Those are the days I wish I could stay in bed and avoid people altogether.

Yes, I have them too!

Days when I’m in a mood and I find everyone frustrating, annoying, agitating, and just plain exhausting.

Admit it, you know you have those days, too!

I have to admit it’s not really what I want to hear on my “I can’t people” days but Paul wrote:

Since God chose you to be the holy people He loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted 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

Yep, like me, you’re thinking … that is so not what I needed right now!

You might even be thinking . . . that’s easy for Paul to say, he didn’t have to put up with my people!

If you’re having one of those days where tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness,  and patience feel impossible, I’d like to offer some practical to-dos that will help you through today and maybe even give you some hope for tomorrow.

Some days it's hard to love your people well ... when you feel like you just "can't people" today!

Practical Things to Do When You Just Can’t People


I know, it’s always the first thing to do. Isn’t it a blessing to know that God welcomes our prayers even when we’re whining about the annoying people in our lives.

He’s not surprised. He knows about your yesterday and what the rest of today looks like. Oh yeah, tomorrow and the next day too. He knows. Talk with Him, be honest, and get ready to listen. Confess your frustration. Admit you’re exhausted. Ask Him to give you strength and help you love like Jesus. AND ask Him to help you find peace in your chaos.

2. Be Honest

I’m guessing your people love you! Tell them you’re having a bad day.

I like to give Rev fair warning when I’m cranky.

People can’t tell you’re struggling if you don’t tell them and I’ve always believed it’s better to “use my words” than it is to express my full-blown emotions.

It’s okay to ask for help. You might be surprised at the people who would love to help you if they knew you needed a reprieve.

Share each other’s burdens, and in this way obey the law of Christ. Galatians 6:2

3. Be Thankful

Even if you don’t feel like it! Your people are your people for a reason … even when they’re annoying you.

I remember a time early in our marriage when Rev neglected to do something I’d asked . . . again. It wasn’t a big deal. It was just annoying. I was pregnant, hormonal, and very irritated. As I took care of the truthfully unimportant task myself with full-blown annoyance, 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.

Practical Things to Do When You Just Can't People by Deb Wolf @ Counting My Blessings

4. Forgive Yourself – Forgive Your People

Ask God to forgive you for your less than loving attitude, forgive yourself and then, forgive your people!

I can’t do this one on my own. I need God’s help. When I remember the countless times God has forgiven me and think about the many times my family and friends have forgiven me … even when I don’t feel like it, I can choose forgiveness.

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

5. Do Things to Fill Your Emotional Tank

I am always more easily agitated when I’ve strayed from my normally healthy diet and fail to get enough rest. I also notice that too many hours at the computer makes my body ache.

All those things make it harder for me to be loving and kind.

So, I’m keeping a list of tank-filling things I love to do. Things like: listening to great music, reading a good book, taking a walk, playing with the dog, etc.

What do you do to fill your emotional tank?

Finally – Thank God for His Help

Isn’t it awesome that you and I don’t have to deal with people alone?

God wouldn’t ask us to be merciful, kind, and loving if He were not willing and able to help us.

I love knowing I don’t have to be strong on my own. God promised His all-sufficient grace for every trial. We can lean into His abundant supply any time we need it.

O my Strength, to You I sing praises, for You, O God, are my refuge, the God who shows me unfailing love. Psalm 59:17

Do you ever wonder if there were days when Jesus got tired of dealing with people?

We don’t know.

What we do know is Jesus took time to be alone with His Father, trusting the Father to strengthen Him and give Him everything He needed to accomplish what He came to do.

So, I’m ready. 

With God’s help, I can do this! And you can do it, too!

This Week’s Friday Favorites

Highlights from the Week!

What Billy Graham Means to Me

by Rebekah

@ Ready to be Offered

What Billy Graham Means to Me by Rebekah @ Ready to be Offered

How to Grieve the Losses the World Doesn’t See

by Maree Dee

@ Embracing Life in the Midst of the Unexpected

How to Grieve the Losses the World Does Not See by Maree Dee

What I Need to Remember When My Shoulders Ache

by Carlie Lake

@ From Dust Towards Heaven
What I Need to Remember When My Shoulders Ache by Carlie Lake

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17 thoughts on “Practical Things to Do When You Just Can’t People

  1. People…you can’t live with them and you can’t live without them 🙂 Wise advice for loving people when it’s hard.
    Praying God uses your words and those you’ve shared of other in powerful ways!

    ~Sherry Stahl

  2. Great advice when you are not in the mood for people. I have found the best thing for me to do is announce it. I have people in my life that will automatically assume I don’t like them anymore or it is all their fault so letting them know ahead of time helps to divert an even bigger problem than my bad mood.

    Thank you for featuring me here today. It is always an honor to be picked by you.
    Maree Dee recently posted..Cease Striving for Perfection – Grace & Truth Link-UpMy Profile

    1. Thank you for linking up your post with Grace & Truth. I know so many readers will benefit from reading your post. I know all of us at some point struggle with being around people.

  3. Deb, you must have written this post with me in mind – lol! I’ve had a difficult week dealing with the fact that my MIL is here with us indefinitely. Yes, praying – a LOT – and retreating to the bedroom for intentional quiet time has helped so very much in dealing with negative emotions. God is definitely the great Healer, when we open the doors of our hearts and let Him in.
    Martha Orlando recently posted..It’s What Matters the MostMy Profile

  4. It is so true that we all face days we just can’t do people. Most times when I know (and we know) I am in a bad mood, I apologize and let the other person know I am cranky. And I also try very hard to not be cranky with others as it is so unfair to them. It’s good to talk about this and your perspective is most wise.
    Joanne Viola recently posted..TiredMy Profile

  5. Sadly, with having chronic health issues this is my norm, not because of “bad moods” but because of low energy, pain & inability to be able to have that high ordered cognitive & socializing functioning for “spending time with people”. That’s why I have taken a sabbatical from work.

    You see if takes am enormous amount of energy in body, mind & emotions to be present with others.

    In chronic illness, the body is using 85-95% of its energy to meet the demands of coping & functioning as best if can to keep us alive in the illness.
    Only 5-15% Is left for everything else, the healthy body uses only 35-40% of its energy for normal autonomic functioning the rest is for cognitive & socializing functionality.
    Jennifer recently posted..Ginger tea time…My Profile

    1. Jennifer, I’m sorry for what you are going through with chronic illness but I relate immensely to what you shared- thank you!!! !REMINDS me to be GENTLER WITH MYSELF – and to stop judging myself so harshly.This self-judgment is NOT what God wants for me – indeed it is the EVIL one’s way to discourage me.

  6. It’s not always easy but you’re right, with God’s help we can do these things! I loved your practical suggestions. Thank you for sharing at Grace and Truth last week. I would like to feature this post tomorrow.

  7. Beautiful words of wisdom! Thank you for your advice filled with scripture. Depression has gotten the best of me so the days where I don’t feel like dealing with my people are more often than not. I will remember your words of encouragement and advice the next time I’m having a rough day.

  8. Great way to phrase this”just can’t people today”. As an (extroverted) introvert I can so relate to this. I want to be around people, to help and to serve, but there are days it is a struggle. Praise the Lord – with His help all things are possible. Grateful for those friends and family who understand when I can’t people.

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