Is there a certain way you should act toward paranoid schizophrenics (unmedicated, I assume) to help keep them calm, or is it useless to try?
One of my jobs is Barista Extraordinaire at a little independent coffee shop, and since employees work solo shifts, people come in to hang out and talk with us a lot. "Betsy" is a middle aged woman who comes in and rants to me a lot, and she kind of thinks we're best buddies. She was the cause of all sorts of drama last week while I was away. Apparently there were two different episodes where Betsy verbally attacked and harassed a customer, and after another episode where she screamed and chased the same woman a few doors down the street, Betsy was arrested. Based on what she was yelling and a quick chat with the police, we've learned that Betsy is mentally ill and has a history of similar problems.
I don't have any qualms about hanging out with mentally ill people, but I am a little concerned about the next time she visits the coffee shop. Betsy mentions things like wanting to break a chair over other customers' heads, so I'm a little nervous about how to act around her if she gets going on one of her rants. Should I continue to act the way I normally do? I already know reasoning with her is useless, but is there any tactic I might try to help her stay calm and happy, or do I need to up my weightlifting and keep the police on speed dial?