We all have them, that person who is just mean. Maybe he is constantly trying to steal your ideas. Or she will take anything you say (and even something you don’t) and twist it to make you look bad in front of your teammates. Or you have the challenge of dealing with someone who is completely self-centered. It is never fun to have people like that in your life. It is easy to be angry and believe your world would be better off without them. But there are things you can learn from them, the least of which is how not to be a jerk.
Here are some tips for creating a good outcome from jerk behavior:
Don’t let them blindside you. Accept that sometimes people are mean. If you have one person in your life who is regularly so, practice ways of deflecting their barbs. “I completely understand if you disagree with my approach and am happy to talk about it. It is not okay for you to attack my character and integrity.”
If you lose your cool they win. Be prepared to catch your emotions before they fly out of control. Jerks gain power by pushing people’s buttons. Don’t let them push yours.
Partner with other non-jerks to defend each other. Don’t allow a jerk to run roughshod over the team. Support each other. Add comments like, “Chad, I think Meg was making a good point. Let’s let her finish.” If everyone murmurs in agreement, Chad will have to accept the group power.
Never gossip with a jerk. If she is telling you stories about others there is no doubt she is telling stories about you to others.
Apply what you learn. Pay attention to how people behave around a mean person. What specific things seem to tee people off the most? Can you use the opposite behavior to create a positive response? I am sure there are lots of great examples of how NOT to be.
Have empathy. It has to be tough to go through life being a jerk. Maybe they just don’t know any better and no one has ever told them how their behavior turns people off. If you think they are able to hear feedback, there might be an opportunity for you to have a tough conversation with them. Just keep in mind that some people really do have personality disorders and they really can’t see how mean they are and they really don’t care. Don’t waste your time trying to help people like that.
Is there a person in your life who does jerk like things? What is the worst thing you have seen them do? Do you think they are open to change or is their meanness being rewarded and getting them ahead? Tell us about it in the comments!
Check back next week to learn how playing brave is key to life success!
Did you miss last week? The five things you should never say in an argument