8 signs someone is being completely unreasonable, according to psychology

We’ve all faced those conversations that seem to go nowhere, right? You know the ones – where no matter what you say or how logically you put it, the other person just doesn’t budge.

That, my friend, can be a sign of someone being utterly unreasonable. It’s like talking to a brick wall. And guess what? Psychology has a fair bit to say about this.

In the world of psychology, there are clear indicators that someone is being unreasonable. Recognizing these signs can save you time, energy and a whole lot of frustration.

In this piece, we’re going to delve into the 8 key signs that you’re dealing with an unreasonable person. So buckle up, it’s time for some psychological insight.

1) They disregard evidence

Ever been in a conversation where no amount of logical reasoning or factual evidence seems to make a dent? Yeah, that’s a big red flag.

In the realm of psychology, this is known as confirmation bias – where a person only acknowledges information that aligns with their existing beliefs and disregards everything else.

This can be incredibly frustrating, especially when you’re trying to have a rational discussion. But, unfortunately, it’s also a classic sign of someone being completely unreasonable.

It’s like trying to convince someone the Earth is round when they’re adamant it’s flat – no matter how much scientific evidence you present, they simply won’t entertain the idea.

When confronted with this kind of behavior, it’s best to recognize it for what it is and save your breath. After all, you can’t reason with the unreasonable.

2) They’re unable to compromise

Remember that one friend who always had to have it their way? Let me share a personal example.

I used to have a buddy, let’s call him John. No matter what we were planning – be it a road trip, a dinner out, or even a simple movie night at home – John would always insist on his preferences.

If he wanted Italian food and the rest of us were craving Chinese, well, guess what? We’d end up eating pasta. No matter how much we tried to negotiate or find a middle ground, John was simply unwilling to compromise.

Psychology tells us that an inability to compromise is a surefire sign of someone being unreasonable. It’s all about their needs, their wants, and their preferences – everyone else’s opinions be damned.

In healthy relationships and productive discussions, compromise is key. But when you’re dealing with an unreasonable person like John, this give-and-take just doesn’t exist.

3) They resort to personal attacks

In the heat of a debate, it’s not uncommon for emotions to run high. However, there’s a clear line between passionate argument and personal attack – a line that unreasonable people often cross.

When someone starts attacking your character instead of addressing the argument at hand, you’re dealing with what psychologists refer to as an ad hominem fallacy. Instead of logically dismantling your argument, they try to discredit you personally.

This behavior is not only disrespectful but also an evasion tactic to avoid addressing the actual issue. Did you know that during the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858, Abraham Lincoln was often personally attacked by Stephen Douglas, who resorted to name-calling instead of focusing on the topic? It’s an old trick, but still widely used by those who are being unreasonable.

4) They’re constantly shifting the goalposts

Ever been in a situation where you feel like you’re playing a never-ending game of catch-up? Where the rules seem to change at the other person’s whim? That’s what psychologists call shifting the goalposts.

Unreasonable people often change their demands or expectations midway through a discussion or negotiation. One minute they want one thing, the next minute they want something entirely different.

It’s almost as if they’re setting you up for failure because no matter what you do or say, it’s never quite right or enough. This is a clear sign of them being unreasonable and can make any form of meaningful dialogue incredibly difficult.

Remember, in any rational discourse, the goalposts should remain stable. If they’re constantly moving, you might be dealing with someone utterly unreasonable.

5) They lack empathy

At the heart of every meaningful connection lies empathy – the ability to understand and share the feelings of others. It’s what allows us to connect on a deeper level, to truly ‘get’ each other. But for some people, this crucial attribute seems to be missing.

Unreasonable people often display a lack of empathy. They’re unable or unwilling to put themselves in someone else’s shoes, to see things from a different perspective.

It’s as if they’re locked in their own world, with their own views and feelings taking center stage. This can lead to a disregard for others’ emotions and a failure to appreciate their point of view.

The absence of empathy in a person can make communication challenging and can create a barrier that’s hard to overcome. If you find yourself dealing with someone who lacks this basic human attribute, you’re likely facing someone who is being completely unreasonable.

6) They refuse to accept responsibility

There’s something incredibly frustrating about dealing with someone who never accepts responsibility for their actions.

I remember this one time when a project I was part of didn’t go as planned. There was one team member, let’s call her Lisa, who consistently missed deadlines and delivered subpar work. But instead of owning up to her mistakes, she always had an excuse ready or someone else to point the finger at.

In psychology, this is known as externalizing blame. Unreasonable people often fail to acknowledge their role in a situation and instead shift the blame onto others or external circumstances.

It’s a sign of immaturity and lack of self-awareness. And it can make any sort of productive dialogue or conflict resolution nigh on impossible. If you find yourself dealing with an eternal blame-shifter, you’re likely dealing with someone completely unreasonable.

7) They’re overly defensive

Have you ever been in a conversation where the slightest hint of criticism sends the other person into a full-blown defensive mode? That’s another sign you’re dealing with an unreasonable person.

In psychology, this is known as a defensive reaction – a knee-jerk response to protect oneself from perceived attack or criticism. But when it becomes a constant pattern, it can be a barrier to open and honest communication.

Unreasonable people often react defensively to any form of feedback or suggestion. They see it as a personal attack rather than an opportunity for growth and improvement.

This kind of defensiveness can shut down dialogue and make problem-solving almost impossible. So, if you notice someone constantly on the defensive, chances are they’re being completely unreasonable.

8) They’re inflexible

At the core of all the signs we’ve discussed is one fundamental trait: inflexibility. Unreasonable people are often rigid in their beliefs, opinions, and attitudes. They refuse to budge, no matter how much evidence or reason you present.

Psychologically speaking, this inflexibility can stem from deep-rooted fears or insecurities. But whatever the reason behind it, it’s a challenging trait to deal with, especially in a conversation or negotiation.

Being flexible doesn’t mean being a pushover or giving up on your beliefs. It means being open to different perspectives and willing to adjust your stance based on new information or understanding.

So if you’re dealing with someone who seems as movable as a mountain, remember that it’s not you – they’re just being completely unreasonable.

Reflections: It’s about understanding, not judgement

Navigating the complexities of human behavior is no easy feat. We’re all a cocktail of different emotions, thoughts, experiences, and neurochemical reactions.

When we encounter individuals who display signs of being unreasonable, it’s essential to remember that this behavior often stems from deeper psychological factors.

Consider the concept of cognitive dissonance, a term coined by social psychologist Leon Festinger. It refers to the discomfort we feel when our beliefs clash with new information or our actions. This discomfort can sometimes lead people to become entrenched in their viewpoints, hence appearing unreasonable.

Encountering unreasonableness can be challenging, but understanding its root causes can help us approach such situations with greater empathy and patience.

As we navigate through these interactions, let’s remember – everyone is fighting their own battles, seen or unseen. Instead of passing judgment, let’s strive for understanding. Only then can we truly begin to bridge the gap between reason and unreasonableness.

Ava Sinclair

Ava Sinclair is a former competitive athlete who transitioned into the world of wellness and mindfulness. Her journey through the highs and lows of competitive sports has given her a unique perspective on resilience and mental toughness. Ava’s writing reflects her belief in the power of small, daily habits to create lasting change.

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