How to Deal With a Hysterical Stranger

It so happens that sometimes we get involved in situations where unknown people just start yelling to us, and when that happens the best thing to do is to try to get out of it fast and effectively.


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    Figure out WHY the person in front of us is acting hysterically. This may sound a simple task to do, but bear in mind that the reason why somebody is angry, unreasonable and even aggressive might be much more complicated than what you primarily considered. Try to reason the other by your words if possible to calm the hysteria away. NEVER act aggressively! Things will just get worse, plus you might also hurt yourself or even end being beaten.
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    Be aware that there isn't always a quick answer, or anything you can do. There is always a reason why somebody acts hysterically, but sometimes it just might happen that that reason is something out of your solving range.
    • So if there is something you can do to help, then do it, but if not the best solution would be to do nothing. This may seem cowardly or irresponsible, but if there is NOTHING you can do to help, then the next best thing is to just try not to make things worse. So yes, act passively and let the stranger's outburst go by you.
    • If the stranger accuses you for something (it really could be anything), go with his flow. If by any chance his words have the slightest portion of truth in them, apologise and take responsibility. If not, just ignore and go away.
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    Be prepared to defend yourself. Should it happen the person you tried to avoid starts pursing you, blocking your way and/or threatening you, then things are getting serious. Consider the fact that the stranger you are facing could easily be mentally ill. So while on his side he cannot be accused for his acts, you will take full responsibility for whatever you do. Don't fall on his/her level and act crazy, 'cause that's where your "opponent" has the most experience. Act passively, apologise if he/she believes you did something wrong be reasonable and act like you take what he said seriously into consideration. Try not to cause any disagreements, solve the issue the person may have with you and continue your life.
    • NEVER, ever, not once call the hysterical person "hysterical", "crazy", or anything you believe that might be offensive. Don't be cynical and rude with your whole behavior either. You can freely think whatever you want, but if you want to get out of trouble appear understanding and polite. Even if you get offended by the other person, try to get OUT of your discomforting place, don't be fool enough to make things worse. Besides, when arguing in public with a fool, the audience can't tell the difference. The best way to prove yourself as civilized is to act like one. If it helps, think of yourself as a superior being that will not allow himself fall in the level of someone beneath.
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    Ask someone to help you if the stranger has not left you alone. You might get lucky enough to find a man of excellence and wisdom standing near you, ready and willing to help you. If you ask a few people that saw the other person's hysterical act for help an find them really unwilling to support you, reconsider you own behaviour. It maybe was you who started things or gave ground for more hysteria. You know it really is not bad admitting your own faults and correcting them. Sure the other person did not behave in a good way to you, but even if that is the case, just fix your fault and reduce you contribution to the problem.
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    Ignore the other person completely and persistently continue you way. If treated as such, call a friend or a policemen. After all, you don't know the guy, from the little time you spent with him you figured that you don't like him and therefor you are not obligated to waste you time with him. That is the last step. That means try the others first. There might be reason to his hysteria after all. The minute you will think you wasted may have helped somebody deal a problem he/she had which caused the "hysterical" behavior. Always running away from others problems makes people selfish jerks. You want to end up being called egocentric bastard? Don't think so. Not to mention that there ARE things that would drive almost anybody temporally insane.


  • Think you're smart enough? Imposing a position is not a matter of foresee but a matter of brain. So if you cannot reason somebody with words and you are 100% sure that it is not you who is the unreasonable, just let it be. Being violent and aggressive will just make the other angrier. Some people just never learn. The sooner you realise this, the better for your sake.
  • Maybe somebody is by nature hysterical, maybe he's crazy, maybe he had a bad day. NEVER act the same way he does. You 'll end up paying for the bribe. Some people always seek for a fight. If you don't want one just make yourself clear. After all, even if you succeed and eventually beat the hell out of the guy that bothered you, you 'll just end up being the bad guy. And if by any chance the beaten accuses you for what you did, you are the one who will face the consequences.
  • Bottom-line in the "How to deal with a hysterical stranger" is this: Find a way to get the hell out of him and his hysterical universe. Of course that is much more simple than dealing with a hysterical that you have to live with for (i believe) obvious reasons.


  • Being understanding does not mean being a victim.If things get ugly definitely you defend yourself. But even if you are 7 feet (2.1 m) tall and with bodybuilding muscles and the lunatic if front of you attacks you, just immobilize him/her. Otherwise, just run for it!
  • Running away from a problem is not the best choice, it's the last if nothing else works. If you believe there might be anything you could do to help, just give it a try. I mean, if something made YOU hysterical enough to bother a stranger, you'd probably want some attention and if possible some help. If the case you are dealing is not a clinical one, give it some seconds of your precious time. Listening to peoples problems (not just hearing, but truly listening) makes them happy. And who knows, you might even end up doing something nice. And being nice should also make you feel nice.
  • Feel free to call local authorities if things come to the worse point. Generally, there are people authorized to dealing with hysterical strangers. So if you can't manage something, address to the experts. Also it might be a calming factor in the mild hysterical crises the phrase "Calm down or else i will have no other option but to call the authorities." If your mild threat does not work, you try a little more to solve things out and if necessary, you eventually passed in doing what you said you would.

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Categories: Managing Conflict and Difficult Interactions