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5 Things to Do When People Push Your Buttons

How do you react when people push your buttons?

“Bitterness is like cancer. It eats upon the host. But anger is like fire. It burns it all clean.”
― Maya Angelou

When people push your buttons…

We all try our best to become a better person especially when it comes to dealing with the people around us.  We try our best to be careful not to offend others and have a great relationship with everyone we know.  There are times however, when the same can’t be said about other people.  There are a selected few who aren’t familiar to what treading carefully means.  People who push your buttons.

Whether it was intentional or not is beside the point.  When people push your buttons, you lose control and focus.  Your temper goes up, your mood is destroyed, and the feeling of happiness and peace you had just a few minutes ago is gone in an instant all because someone became insensitive to your sensitivities and sometimes, it becomes extremely difficult for you to let go until you ruin your day altogether.  We’ve all experienced it before.


Someone cuts you in traffic

You discovered a colleague was spreading rumors about you

Your customer was one hour late for your appointment

Your boyfriend stood you up

Your boss just gave you a deadline that’s near to impossible


A whole cocktail of emotions run through your mind when these things happen.  You feel a mix of hatred, anger, disappointment, displeasure, and dissatisfaction.  You are pissed and you feel like punching the wall or shouting at the top of your lungs.  In short, you’re looking for release.  Below are some helpful things you can do to get everything out of your system.



Yes, breathing in short intervals does work.  It works better by closing your eyes and holding your chest with one of your hands that’s why it is recommended you step out of where you are and get to a place where you can be alone for a moment.  Do the same breathing exercise for about five to ten minutes until you feel comfortable and relaxed.  The goal is to release some of the tension.

I have personally done this before and found it to be very effective.  It did get me relaxed and although part of me was still pissed at that time, it didn’t feel as heavy as it did initially.


Avoid telling everyone about the ordeal

The whole point is to move on from the situation so that you won’t feel awful for the rest of the day and telling the next person you see about what happened (which is the tendency for most of us) will just remind you of the experience altogether.  What’s funny is that some of us can’t wait for the next person to come in so we can tell them about it and gain a supporter or a sympathizer in the process.

Move past the experience and keep yourself busy instead so you can keep your mind from reliving the event.


Analyze what made you lose it

It will be helpful for you to look back and see what it is that got you offended or mad and think why it made you feel the way you did.  Knowing what caused you to react will help you evaluate things objectively.  Were you too sensitive or was the other person just insensitive?

The answer to the questions above will determine how you can make the situation better the next time it happens.  It will make you realize if you need to change something within yourself or if you need to set boundaries that other people should recognize.


Create boundaries

You need to accept that there are people in our lives who take pleasure in getting us pissed or seeing us miserable just like any superhero who have super villains and arch-enemies.  In such cases, you need to make a decision on whether or not to keep that person in your life or just simply kick them out.  You don’t need someone like that in your life.  You deserve to be happy and at peace and having them around will keep you from getting both.

Consequently, there are people who may push your buttons unintentionally and if you think these people are worth keeping, you need to set up boundaries and you have to be firm and clear in doing so.  Making them understand the things that push your buttons will make them more aware of what they can and cannot do when you are in front of them.


As much as you can, always take the higher ground

They said it takes two to tango and this is true even for situations when one pushes the other’s buttons.  It doesn’t have to be that way though.  If people are intentionally trying to get under your skin, always take the option of taking the higher ground.  Don’t give in to the temptation of engaging the enemy.

I used to retaliate every time someone tries to backstab me or spread rumors about me.  I also used to roll my windows down and throw expletives back on someone who cut me on the road but several personal development books and blogs later, I’ve learned to just turn the other cheek.  Smile and ignore is my new approach to these situations because you will end up the loser if you let it consume you.


You will get your buttons pushed from time to time and if you let your emotions get the best of you, you will be compromising both your happiness and peace of mind.  Do what you can to avoid getting to that point.  Find ways to not let bitterness and anger stay within you for a long time.  Move forward and don’t let the negative emotions get in the way of productivity.


Over to You

How do you deal with people who push your buttons?  What do you do to keep your emotions in check?

I would love to hear from you so feel free to leave a feedback of comment below.


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Noel Rosos: Noel is a husband, father, author, performance coach and self-proclaimed FAILUROLOGIST who helps business owners and struggling individuals convert their failures into opportunities through inspiring blog posts, life-changing books and exceptional one-on-one coaching sessions