I had some doubts about whether I should write about this topic because it could come across as being negative and judgemental. That’s not where I’m coming from…I’m talking about making the best choices about what kind of people to interact with.

It’s important to not be harsh with yourself when you occasionally make mistakes or make a bad decision.

I want to make a clear distinction: There are foolish moments (most of us have those from time to time)…and then there are fools. And when I use the word, “fool”, I’m being pretty generous here by trying to find a nice word to describe them.

Tired of Fooling Around

Fools make life difficult for everyone around them on a regular basis and they will drain your time, energy and money if you let them. They are dangerous!

I’m not talking about people who annoy you or who sometimes make occasional bad decisions. The classic fool is much more insidious than that.

They are takers and they don’t want (or don’t know how) to have mutually-beneficial relationships. They can be manipulative, pushy, controlling, inconsiderate and needy…and they rarely change their behaviour.

Although I’m fairly vigilant, I’ve had several experiences with a few fools in the last couple of years. Hopefully, my experiences will help you recognize and deal with any extremely difficult people you might encounter.

We have to take a certain amount of responsibility for allowing fools in our lives. In most of my experiences with fools, I could have cut the interaction shorter or managed things better to minimize contact and deal with the situation in a better way.

How to Deal with Fools?

You’re going to like this…It’s super-simple:

Avoid them and cut them out of your life! Ignore them as much as possible.

It’s the wise thing to do. It might be tempting to try to help fools or give them a third, fourth or 97th chance but they are so predictable: They cause drama, problems and are concerned mostly with what they can get from you. Avoid them! If you absolutely can’t avoid them, then do your best to minimize your contact with them.

By creating clear boundaries and high standards, you’ll be able to free up your time, and more importantly, free up your physical and emotional energy so that you can work on your goals, work on your personal development and support your friends, family, and clients or customers. That’s way more valuable than spending time dealing with fools.

You might ask, “But shouldn’t we practice compassion and tolerance towards all people?”.

Yes…but when it comes to fools, practice compassion from a distance! I think that removing yourself from situations and people that are continually antagonistic or continually disrespectful is the compassionate thing to do. Move on and move forward!


Nigel Cook
Accountability Coach
Holding Your Feet to the Fire

PS: Want to reach your goals faster? Check out one of the online accountability coaching programs and book a free Coaching Call.

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