People were put on the planet just to test your anger management skills these days. You’ve gone from paralyzing fear to flat out rage. Your neighbors and friends disagree with how you are handling just about everything. The leaders you used to believe in have let you down time and time again. What this country needs are more unemployed politicians. You’re even mad at yourself for taking everything so dang personally.

“Row, row, row your boat gently away from me.” Sheesh. People you know are saturated with thoughts, theories, and theorems – and at odds about it all. All around you still sense danger and are doing whatever they are told to defend what they see as personal boundaries. All this anxiety and anger is not bringing out your best self; that is for sure.

“I’m not opinionated. I’m just always right.” If you find yourself jumping to conclusions, or automatically disregarding others’ points of view, you may be unable to remain objective nowadays. How do we even verify the information we are receiving? Do you even try to?

We humans have a limited amount of energy. Where do your direct yours? Is it leaking all over the place in the form of reactive anger and personalizing everyone’s behavior? If there’s one thing your anger can’t do, it is control those around you. Shaming him will never get him to behave better. Making her feel bad will not smooth her ruffled feathers.

When your life has turned upside down and has become so unfair, it is perfectly natural to feel cranky, cross, and ill-tempered. You may have to bear the discomfort and learn to sit with your tension and anger at this time.

Of course, your opinion matters – just not to me. Uh, oh. It’s normal to have presumptions and viewpoints – even strong ones. What’s not right or reasonable is not being able to have a civil conversation with anyone who disagrees with them. Practice actually listening to him, even if he has judgments that are the opposite of yours. Yes. It can feel like torture, but please do not get highly charged and control your impulse to interrupt or to be rude.

You’re online? Never get into an argument with someone who types faster than you. You know how to start an argument online? 1: Express your opinion. 2: Wait. But seriously, some say: People who are the most difficult to please are often the least worth pleasing. You know you are arguing with a toxic person because he will present like an actor in a play. It won’t matter what you say; he will stick to his lines, because it is the only role he knows.

Some say: Behind every argument is someone’s ignorance. Please avoid using accusatory and inflammatory language when opposing others. Aim for a win-win outcome. Explain calmly why you think the way you do and please provide rational reasons. Let us all agree on a few things. Life is messy. Outcomes are uncertain.

I don’t always contradict myself, but when I do, I don’t. A rewarding conversation is not one-sided. Can you hate his views without hating him? Avoid hot topics? Not possible these days, sweet friends, as all routes seem to lead to the dreaded topic of “handling” the pandemmy. Try to change the subject by talking about things that recently made you happy or grateful. The thing I’m most grateful for right now is elastic waistbands.

Share some of your accomplishments and ask about his. Then support him fully. When she asks, tell her: My life’s accomplishments? Sanity, and you. Awww. Sometimes, my greatest achievement is keeping my mouth closed. The truth is that inner peace starts the minute you choose not to allow another person or event to control your feelings.

“I’ll stop being so irritable when you stop being so irritating.” Uh, oh. Ask yourself: Is this debate I am having civilized or even productive? How much time do you spend rehearsing the slinging match and war of words in your head – only to feel more irritated and irked than at the outset?

So what do you do when your views clash bitterly with others, perhaps even those you love? The closer you are to someone, the more profoundly the dissimilarities and differences will affect you.

Some have taken their abrasive attitudes off of Farcebook and Tweeter and onto the streets. Back in the day, if you barked at a perfect stranger to “pull up their mask,” you may have been challenged to a duel. Now we encounter people daily who are discourteous, disrespectful, and disagreeable with zero cost to them personally.

When is decency going to be cool again? Yes, people feel self-righteous and emboldened these days. Some apparently think of little else all day long. They believe that theirs is the only reasonable way to deal with the recent pandemic. We dream of a world where others are tolerant and we can all live in sweet harmony. But perhaps that is just a Coke commercial after all. Great minds drink alike. Speaking of which, are you also one of those who drink Diet Coke so you can eat regular cake? Here’s a free pro tip: Keep cake moist by eating it in one sitting.

But truly, if you wish to contribute to a saner household or even society, please don’t try to force him into acquiescence. Differences and dissimilarities may be painful, but they are normal. When you disagree with her intensely, always remember what is at stake. Oh, and marry someone who has a different favorite cereal than you have, so they won’t eat all of yours.

Many folks are walking around angry, have no outlet, and simply redirect it at you. You happened to be in the wrong place at the right time and it got discharged all over you. It is most likely not the “higher cause” that is causing their hostility. It is, more often than not, about something else entirely. Do not personalize it. Beating on a wall will not turn it into a door. Be kind and charitable, sweet friends.

Examine the origin of ideas in your own life and why you have come to believe as you do. Your past – childhood and early experiences – are a key factor, whether you know it or not. We all have deep-seated fears and imagined, supposed solutions. Look for possible compatibility in other areas. You may not even want your social life to include people who hold certain views, and that is legitimate. Not all haters will be won over by kindness, love, and tenderness.

But when dealing with friends, loved ones, and neighbors, please try to humanize, not demonize. Instead, be the reason someone feels loved today.

Caroline is a licensed psychotherapist, crisis counselor, and writer with an office in Queens.  She works with individuals, couples, and families.  Appointments are available throughout the week and weekends.  She can be reached at 917-717-1775 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.  or at