“Don’t wait until everything is just right. It will never be perfect. There will always be challenges, obstacles and less than perfect conditions. So what. Get started now. With each step you take, you will grow stronger and stronger, more and more skilled, more and more self-confident and more and more successful.” – Mark Victor Hansen
Archives for November 2011
Rude, obnoxious people are like unpredictable thunderstorms. Running and Screaming in the other direction isn’t just my first impulse, it’s my first, middle, and last impulse.
As I’ve said before, I always welcome topic suggestions on my self help blog. I even have a contact form on my mental fitness website where readers suggest subjects they’re interested in “hashing out.” After all, if I’m going to talk (cue my husband, “She most definitely is going to talk.“), I’d rather talk about what YOU want to talk about than what I want to talk about.
Anyway, a recent subject brought up in my e-mail was this: “How do YOU deal with obnoxious, mean-spirited, and generally unpleasant people?” I replied that my first response was AVOID THEM LIKE SNAKES IN THE GRASS! Naturally, that’s not always possible, so we simply have to out-class, out-smart, and out-pleasant them… which, fortunately, is never very hard.
My new e-mail friend (bless her) works with the public and sees humanity on parade each day. She tells me that, at work, she knows how she has to deal with difficult people: She has to smile, be courteous, and try to resolve the situation as quickly and painlessly as possible. Her real problem was people who aren’t her customers (co-workers, neighbors, etc.).
Just as she and I were about 4 e-mails deep in our discussion about difficult people, I got another message from someone else asking if I’d ever had to deal with “jerks” online. When I stopped rolling on the floor, laughing, I replied that I’ve seen enough “jerks” online to populate a small country. One I’d never want to visit, I might add! This individual was tired of rude comments left on Facebook and Twitter from people who don’t even have enough guts to use their name. You know the ones – the spell checkers, grammar police, and general know-it-alls. The people who serve no real purpose in the world and never actually help anyone or anything.
Apparently this person (I honestly couldn’t tell from the name if they were male or female – it could go either way. I love the name, though, and plan to use it on my next cat) had ran into some of these online cesspools of negativity. They’d made the mistake of trying to reason with them. Never. Do. That. They simply aren’t worth your time.
Here’s my personal routine for handling these characters: I smile (because I’m not them), I keep singing along with whatever song I’m listening to at the moment (without missing a beat), then I delete every proof that they ever existed in my world (they’re toxic).
When it comes to dealing with negative, difficult people, I think the most important thing to realize is this: They’re the ones with the problem, not you. Plus, as I’ve often told my daughters when they’re dealing with hateful people: To a certain extent, you kind of have to feel sorry for them. After all, how much bitterness, anger, negativity, and downright misery must lie within them for them to be so disagreeable?
Difficult and negative people entertain difficult and negative thoughts. That’s where it all starts. If they’d learn to cultivate positive, helpful, and generally pleasant thoughts, they’d cease to be snakes in the grass and they’d find more people gravitating TO them instead of running away FROM them.
Every thought is a seed. If you plant crab apples, don’t count on harvesting Golden Delicious. – Bill Meyer
Most of the time, the most miserable people you know are, indeed, the most miserable people you know. If they behave in a miserable way, chances are the action springs from a miserable inner pool. If they mean something to you, I’d suggest trying to find ways to help them be happier. If you have to be around them any time at all, you’ll benefit from it at least as much as they will. Try to avoid confrontations and do all that’s within you to keep conversations cordial and positive. Arguing with difficult people only brings you down to their level and, in many ways, allows them to win. They were able to ruin your day and, for a period of time, make you as miserable as them.
Refuse to give them that!
Simply ask them, “Is there anything bothering you? Anything I can help you with?” The funny thing is, very often JUST the words alone will snap them out of their ugly mood.
Negativity is a very real, tangible, and hurtful thing. My husband once spent a few days with a colleague – on a golf trip. When he got back home, he nearly threw himself into our house. I watched as he, literally, tried to “shake off” the experience. The other man was, apparently, one of those people who is never, ever satisfied. He complained about this, he complained about that… and when he got through, he complained about complaining. The negativity was so thick, I suspect my husband found it hard to breathe!
Dealing with difficult people is tricky, make no mistake about it, and only you know for certain how to handle your own personal Oscar the Grouch. However, since you are the person I’m worried about here, as opposed to O.T.G., I want to look out for you. Below are the top 3 things to remember when handling the negative and rude crowd:
- Realize that THEY are the ones with the personality problem, not you. They’re the one with so much negativity inside that it’s oozing outside. Get away before it gets on you.
- Don’t mirror them by sinking down to their level. You should never mirror anyone, of course, but if you ever DO try someone else’s “look” on, make sure it’s attractive. Why’d you want to be ugly too?!?!
- Never allow anyone to rob you of your happiness. They say misery loves company. Just because the invitation’s sent doesn’t mean you have to accept!
What are your ways for dealing with difficult and/or negative people?!
Something for Human Spell Checks (and Grammar Checks) to Keep in Mind:
More times than not the individual you’re trying to “call out” is at least as intelligent as you. More times than not, they know very well how to spell the word in question. Even if they did not, berating them or trying to come across as their superior does nothing for them OR you. The individual who made the error could have been sick at the time or they could have recently lost a loved one, for that matter. Having said that, they may have made a good, old-fashioned spelling error! Human mistakes are something we all make, you included. Instead of stepping on someone in an effort to make yourself feel bigger, why not spend a little quality time with yourself and figure out why you can’t stand tall on your own two feet.
” If you were going to die soon and had only one phone call you could make, who would you call and what would you say? And why are you waiting?” – Stephen Levine
I don’t, as a rule, like to think about anyone or anything dying. And when I say as a rule, I mean I never, ever do it! I’d much rather focus on living. However, when you put things into the sort of context that the quote above chooses, you quickly realize that any loving words left unsaid are wasteful. They could potentially be the most wasteful words, accompanied by the biggest regret, of your life.
We’re right in the midst of the beautiful holiday season. Thanksgiving’s on our front porch, Christmas in just down the road, and New Year’s Day is around the corner. Take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities around you to let the people you love so much that you can’t imagine life without them KNOW that you love them so much that you can’t imagine life without them.
What good do the words or feelings do if they stay in your heart and mind. Let them out and watch the magic begin.
More Inspirational Quotes:
First off, let’s get something straight, I’m not a “go slow and be cautious” kind of gal. I’m a card-carrying “fly by the seat of your pants” kind of gal. The kind who walks fast, talks fast, types fast, and challenges everyone and everything to keep up. So, slowing down and scrutinizing details doesn’t come natural to me. However, after living with my husband (who’s typing fingers, walking shoes, and words never seem to be in much of a hurry) for going on 28 years, I’ve picked up some of his country boy ways.
Slow down. Pay attention to what you’re doing. Check and double-check.
Sometimes when we’re in a parking lot and he grabs my hand in an effort to slow me down, I want to kick him in the seat of his pants. But I’d have to walk backwards to catch him. I thought about his effect on me in this regard a few days ago and the last thing I wanted to do was kick him. I realized I owed such a debt to him that the feeling of relief has yet to fade away.
At the risk of rambling (Who? Me?), I have to set the stage. We live in a rural area that happens to be behind a gate (the gate’s probably a 1/2 a mile from our house). From the window in front of my computer desk, I can see the gate, so I know when someone’s there. Usually the UPS man leaves our packages in a certain spot, but lately we’ve had a “fill in” that tends to turn around and take off. Since we’ve got packages coming regularly for Christmas, I’m keeping a keen eye out.
The day before yesterday, I saw the UPS man pull up to the gate and ran out the door in my house shoes and jumped in my vehicle to go stop him from getting away.
As you probably know, we have 4 cats (3 outside and 1 inside). It’s been chilly, so the outside cats have been staying in their various cat houses or even in the garage. Even when they do occasionally get under the vehicles, they sprint out as soon as a door’s opened.
As I threw myself into the driver’s seat, I took a quick mental inventory of where I’d seen my cats (just minutes ago). The two girls were in sight, by the carport door and I was 99 percent sure the sweet boy cat (Jelly Bean) was still in his favorite cat house, where I’d seen him only about 10 minutes ago. As I saw the UPS man beginnng to swing around, I thought, “I’m just going to double check…” and I hopped out, got on all fours and looked under the vehicle. Sure enough, there was my chubby, solid black, much beloved Jelly Bean SOUND asleep – right behind a front tire. He didn’t even wake up when I called his name.
One of those nights, I guess.
I lured him out and took off for the UPS man, ironically enough, thinking, “Slow down for crying out loud! What’s your freakin’ hurry?”
I’ve been thinking a lot since then. If I had ran over my sweet chubby faced cat that day I’m not sure I would have ever recovered. My vehicle is a big heavy thing and he would have, undoubtedly, been killed. I cannot even imagine the feelings I would have had if the unthinkable had happened. It’d take another animal lover to understand when I say that it’s something I would have lived with forever. Jelly Bean was a feral kitten that I won over with endless patience and even more love. In the picture above (in his thinner days!), I was as close as I could get to him. He’s now a big baby who trust me completely. He purrs loudly as soon as I even look at him. Such a sweetheart.
Thanks be to God – and to the influence of country boys who refuse to get in a hurry about anything – the scenario ended with one caught UPS man, two delivered packages, one relived cat mom, and (most importantly) one safe and unharmed black cat who isn’t so unlucky after all. Can you even imagine the cat treats he got that day???
On a lesser… make that much lesser… level, I have also dropped the ball a couple of times lately. I’m sure it’s because my mind is on Thanksgiving recipes, Christmas gifts, and cookies but I’ve made a couple of STUPID spelling errors and little goofs online lately. Ironically, one was even a huge pet peeve of mine. I forget the details (because they’re too horrifying to remember for someone who has always had a love affair with grammar) but I sent a tweet out in which I used “there” instead of “their.” I happened to catch it several days later and was mortified.
Yes, silly to be mortified by such a thing, but I’m obsessive about things like that. Allowing myself to get in a hurry and not taking the time to slow down and double check led to a regret. That almost always happens, doesn’t it?
This post is simply to serve as a reminder for everyone to take pains to slow down and double check what’s going on around you. We live in a society that’s so fast-paced right now, it’s almost on hyper drive. Think about it, people get ticked off if they have to wait in a drive through for more than 3 minutes!
I’m convinced a lot of grief could be spared if we just learned to slow down and live completely in the moment. At worst we’ll spare ourselves embarrassment, at most we’ll save a life.
If you’re passionate about something, then you should pick up your flag and run with it. – Bette Midler
Photo Credit: Allposters.com