When truth presents itself, the wise
person sees the light, takes it in, and
When you give them feedback, they
listen, take it in, and adjust their behavior
When you give them feedback, they
embrace it positively. They say things
like, “Thank you for telling me that. It
helps me to know the way I come across.”
Or, “Thanks for caring enough to bring
this to my attention.”
They own their performance, problems
and issues and take responsibility for
them without excuses or blame.
Your relationship is strengthened as a
result of giving them feedback. They
thank you for it, and see you as someone
who cares enough about them to have a
They empathize and express concern
about the results of their behavior on
others. If you tell them that something
they are doing hurts you, you get a
response that shows that it matters to
They show repentance. You get the
feeling that they have genuine concern
about whatever the issue is and truly
want to do better.
In response to feedback, they go into
They do not allow problems that have
been addressed to turn into patterns.
Strategies for Dealing with a Wise Person:
Give them resources. Train them.
Coach them. You will likely get a
return on your investment. They will
take it in and get better.
The bottom line with a wise person is
that talking helps!
Whereas the chief descriptor of the wise
person is that when the light shows up,
they look at it, receive it, join it, and
adjust their behavior to align with the
light, the fool does the opposite: they
reject the feedback, resist it, explain
it away, and do nothing to adjust to
meet its requirements. In short, the fool
tries to adjust the truth so they do not
have to adjust to it.
When given feedback the foolish person
becomes defensive and immediately
comes back at you with a reason why it
is not their fault.
Unlike the wise person, with whom
talking through issues strengthens your
relationship, with the foolish person,
attempts to talk about problems creates
conflict, alienation, or a breach in the
Sometimes, they immediately shift the
blame to you, as they ‘shoot the
messenger’ and make it somehow your
The foolish often use minimization,
trying to in some way convince you that
‘it’s not all that bad’ or ‘it’s no big deal.’
Excuses are rampant, and the foolish
never take ownership of the issue.
Their emotional response has nothing to
do with repentance; instead, they get
angry at you for being on their case.
They have little or no awareness or
concern for the pain or frustration that
they are causing others. While their
behavior creates a lot of collateral
damage for others, they seem oblivious
to it and see others as the problem for
thinking that there is an issue.
Strategies for Dealing with a Foolish Person:
Whereas talking about a problem with a wise
person helps, talking about a problem with a fool
does not help at all. Further talking about the
problem is not the answer. So stop talking and
THE EVIL PERSON
Do not hope for the evil person to
change. It could happen, and it does,
but it does not happen by giving into
them, reasoning with them, or giving
them another chance to hurt you. It
happens when they finally are subject to
limits that force them to change. Jail
does some people good!
The bottom line with an evil person is to
stay away, create firm, healthy,
protective boundaries and get real help
to do it.
For some, it is a big step to realize that
there are people in the world who hurt
you – not unintentionally the way a
foolish person does but because they
There are some people whose desire it
is to hurt others and do destructive
things. You have to protect yourself and
your loved ones from these kinds of
people. They actually want to bring you
The evil person is one who likes to bring
others down, is intentionally divisive,
and enjoys it when someone fails. They
go about trying to create the downfall of
Strategies for Dealing with an Evil Person:
Whereas you can talk to wise people
about problems, and you can talk to
fools about consequences, do not talk to
evil people at all, period. “You can
communicate with me through my
attorney” is a phrase that exists for a
Sometimes you must see people for
who they truly are, protect yourself,
create a necessary ending, and have
nothing more to do with them.
Taken from Necessary Endings by Dr. Henry Cloud