How to stop someone from bossing you

Katie asks: how do you stop some one from bossing you around?

Hi Katie –

Hey Handsome?!  Are you listening?!   Katie here is asking me about how to stop someone from bossing me around.  Do you think she means “bossing” like when you’re always telling me “Come,” “Sit,” “Stay,” “Heel,” or “Shut Up?!”  Or when you say “Hey Shirelle, get your lazy self up off that bed, you’ve got letters to answer!”  Or when you really get upset and yell “Get your nose out of my dinner plate NOW!!”

Nope, Katie, he’s totally ignoring me.  So I’ll just answer your question (and I’ll bet he’ll read it later!).

The really tough question here, Katie, is what kind of “bossing” you’re talking about.  If it’s your parents telling you that you have to do your chores and homework, or a teacher or school administrator telling you you have to follow the school rules, there’s not a whole lot you can do.  You can do things to try to make their bossing a little less bossy, but the fact is they are the bosses, so they get to boss you around.

But if you’re talking about other sorts of people, like friends and schoolmates, who are bossy all the time, that’s very different.  These are people who choose to act bossy, and who mostly get away with it.

There’s a great quality certain people have, of natural leadership.  When they’re in a group, they just tend to be the ones that others like to follow.  These people often become politicians or military commanders, or leaders of companies or unions, or even become variations on that, like movie directors or sports team captains.  And you’ll find that, while those who envy their positions might complain about their bossiness, most people follow them naturally, without much problem.  (For example, if you’re following the current US Presidential election, you’ll see people complain about all sorts of qualities in the candidates, but no one ever calls them “bossy,” because they’re all trying to become the boss!).

But if someone wants to be boss, and they don’t have that natural leadership gift, they often spend all their time bossing other people around, trying to prove that they are the boss, when they actually aren’t!  It’s like in a dog pack – there’s a pack leader, who’s probably earned that role by being the best fighter, but there’ll be some other pooch there who’s just yapping all day, trying to get the pack to follow them, and irritating them all to no end!

So what can people do about bossy people?  Well the easy answer is just what happens to those yappy dogs – the pack gets fed up and gangs up and beats them up!  Now I’m not recommending violence to you, but if someone’s always bossing a group around, eventually that group will get so annoyed they’ll either overpower the bossy one (which you can do just with words) or they’ll kick them out of the group.  So if you see that possibility coming, you can just relax and wait for it to happen!

But if this isn’t happening in a group so much as it’s just happening to you?  Like what to do if you have a friend who’s always bossy?  Then this is a great moment in your life, Katie!  This is when you get to change your status and self-image.  How?  By deciding that actually YOU are the boss!  And you are – of you!  Let’s say this friend tells you “We’re going out Saturday night and eat at McDonald’s and see that new horror movie.”  And you say “Actually, I’d rather have leftovers from my refrigerator and go to that new romantic comedy.”  Your friend will get annoyed, and tell you why you’re wrong.  And you can just quietly say “Well, I don’t really want to eat a burger and watch someone’s head get cut off, so you’ll have to go without me if that’s what you really want.”

Do you see what you’re doing?  YOU’RE taking charge.  You’re just being a nicer boss than they are!  You’re not telling them what they have to do, just that you’re not interested in following their orders.

At this point, they’ll probably argue.  Bossy types don’t like giving up whatever power they think they have, so there’ll be a bit of a struggle.  But eventually, one of two things will happen.  Either that friend will absolutely refuse to agree to your wishes, at which point you’ll get to decide how much you want to be with them; or they’ll realize they want your friendship more than they want to be the boss, and they’ll cool it and be less bossy around you.

Either one is an improvement.  That’s the important thing to remember.

BUT… that’s all well and good for dealing with friends.  But when it comes to handling the bossiness of the man who feeds and shelters you, who insists you wear a leash when you go for walks…  ARRRGGGH!  It’s so irritating!

Especially when you just love him like crazy, and know he feels the same about you, and only does what he does to keep you safe!   It’s SOOOOOOO irritating!!!


Good Luck,


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Leave a Reply 4 comments

Laila - April 3, 2015 Reply

This article was so annoying. It took forever to get to the point and when it did it was VERY brief.

    Shirelle - April 4, 2015 Reply

    Ouch! Sorry you didn’t like it.

nysa - October 25, 2017 Reply

its actually true.. am experiencing the same as exactly as you said in relation to a bossy coworker:).. thanks for sharing.. its going to help me in dealing with this kind of..

Ladybug - August 17, 2019 Reply

How to be a strong person

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