How to Deal With Mean People in Your Life

This weekend I had a very frustrating incident. As I was getting into a taxi, the driver got distracted and started driving off without checking if I had closed the door. Can you imagine my shock when I had one leg inside the car and the car suddenly started moving? I literally jumped inside, but my ankle still got caught in the door. Besides an ugly bruise I got a piece of the driver’s mind about how long it takes for SOME people to get into a car. No “I’m sorry!” No “Are you ok?” Nothing! I am usually good at controlling my temper, but this time all I could think of was how much I want to smack this rude man and give him a piece of my mind about his manners.

Do you often let a rude taxi driver, an uncaring boss, an insensitive co-worker or an arrogant stranger ruin your day? Have you ever wondered why sometimes people purposely say or do mean things?

I could come up with 4 main reasons:

a) They try to overcompensate for their hurt Ego. Someone has hurt them in the past when they felt especially vulnerable and now they are trying to regain their power and self-confidence by hurting you.

b) They secretly fear that they have the same quality that they are making fun of. For example, if a person makes derogatory remarks about someone being overweight, they are most likely insecure about their own body and are afraid that people will notice it too.

c) They are deeply attached to their sufferings and failures. As weird as it may seem, many people refuse to let go of their negativity, because it brings some drama into their life and gives them something to worry about.

d) They crave attention and love. Just like teenagers when reaching a difficult age act out of spite to prove their own independence, adults defy social norms to get attention and a strong emotion out of you (even if it is a negative emotion).

How do you respond to mean people?

I have noticed that there are two spontaneous reactions when it comes to dealing with negative people 1) we get mean and rude back or 2) we let them run all over us while boiling inside with righteous indignation. Neither of these options seems particularly attractive.

In fact there is a better way to deal with mean people – do not let them get to you.

There is a great story on this topic:

One day a man came up to Buddha and spat in his face. Buddha, slowly wiped of the spit with his shawl and asked, “Do you have anything more to say?” The man was not ready for this question, and ashamed he ran away.

That night the man could not get to sleep, because he realized that he had actually offended an enlightened person. The next morning he came back and fell in front of Buddha on his knees. Again Buddha looked at him and asked, “Do you have anything else to say”. The man was completely puzzled, “Yesterday I offended you and you didn’t get mad, today I am begging for your forgiveness and you are not happy. Why?!” Buddha looked at him with his peaceful smile and said, “Because I am not your Slave”.

You can not enter a lake filled with silt and dirty water and come out clean. When you let mean people drag you down to their level, they start to control your actions and their negativity rubs off on to you.

Think of mean people as huge garbage trucks. They are full of anger, frustration, hatred, disappointments and negativity. When that garbage starts to pile up, they feel the need to dump it on someone else (preferably someone who is in a good mood). If you have been chosen as a dump spot, do not allow them to run over you and do not spread this negativity onto other people.

Refuse to take all angry or offensive comments close to heart. Just smile and wish those people well, because they are the ones who deserve compassion more than anyone else. After all they carry tons of emotional garbage with them 24/7.

I do not like to use the phrase “kill them with kindness”, because it sounds vindictive. If behind your bright smile lays an attempt to provoke the person even further, then you are no better than he/she is. If you can not be truly kind to someone who is being mean to you, polite indifference will do just fine.

Remember, you do not have to attend every argument that you are invited to. Just say, “No, thanks” and move on to something that brings you joy and distracts your mind from indulging in negative emotions. You can pray, think of your favorite quote, sing a song in your head or just recall a funny story from your past. For example, when I feel irritated I usually repeat my positivity “mantra”. That is the only reason why one infamous taxi driver did not get yelled at. 🙂

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43 thoughts on “How to Deal With Mean People in Your Life

  1. This is 100% right. But at the time of incident everybody can’t think about these wonderful sentences and to behave towards them like that. Sometime thinking and seeing of their face makes you very much anger because of your some past experiences. But it’s very difficult to behave as you sometimes, but it’s good. If we follow your above sentences that’s 100% right. But every body can’t at all times. I’m an angry man towards all nuisance and 100% truthful, but I can’t control my anger.

  2. This is 100% right. But at the time of incident everybody can’t think about these wonderful sentences and to behave towards them like that. Sometime thinking and seeing of their face makes you very much anger because of your some past experiences. But it’s very difficult to behave as you sometimes, but it’s good. If we follow your above sentences that’s 100% right. But every body can’t at all times. I’m an angry man towards all nuisance and 100% truthful, but I can’t control my anger.

  3. That is all very true- I have one co-worker who feels the need to constantly prove that she is better than everyone. I get very frustrated and just trend to stay away from her or ignore her altogether. I can see that she is probably insecure and lives by her ego, but somehow I just can’t sympathize.

  4. That is all very true- I have one co-worker who feels the need to constantly prove that she is better than everyone. I get very frustrated and just trend to stay away from her or ignore her altogether. I can see that she is probably insecure and lives by her ego, but somehow I just can’t sympathize.

  5. It is true, It is difficult for those who don’t know of themselves but others.
    Dear Arina I owe you so much for what I learn from you.

  6. It is true, It is difficult for those who don’t know of themselves but others.
    Dear Arina I owe you so much for what I learn from you.

  7. Great. The way you explain is commendable. I sometimes feel that I got a devine gift of getting you as my guide……Thanks.

  8. Great. The way you explain is commendable. I sometimes feel that I got a devine gift of getting you as my guide……Thanks.

  9. Shaji, I know that it can be really hard not to respond when you are angry (especially if you have a right to feel that way). I get angry, upset, annoyed too and it is not always easy for me to take my emotions under control (otherwise, I would not be somewhat complaining to everyone about that rude man :)).

    There is one very effective NLP technique that helps to suppress an impulsive response and act consciously. All you have to do is think of the situation that often makes you mad. Play it in your mind and notice what words or actions trigger that anger in you. Now think of a better response in current situation. Mentally play the whole situation again, only this time imagine yourself acting consciously.

    Imagine yourself saying the right words and feeling calm and unmoved. If you repeat this exercise several times, your mind won’t be that easily triggered by the negative stimuli in real life. Try it! It really works. 🙂

  10. Shaji, I know that it can be really hard not to respond when you are angry (especially if you have a right to feel that way). I get angry, upset, annoyed too and it is not always easy for me to take my emotions under control (otherwise, I would not be somewhat complaining to everyone about that rude man :)).

    There is one very effective NLP technique that helps to suppress an impulsive response and act consciously. All you have to do is think of the situation that often makes you mad. Play it in your mind and notice what words or actions trigger that anger in you. Now think of a better response in current situation. Mentally play the whole situation again, only this time imagine yourself acting consciously.

    Imagine yourself saying the right words and feeling calm and unmoved. If you repeat this exercise several times, your mind won’t be that easily triggered by the negative stimuli in real life. Try it! It really works. 🙂

  11. Ray,

    You’re right! Smacking him would feel good, but only for a few moments (probably until he would have thrown me out of the car). I must say I do not support any manifestations of violence, especially if they are directed against me. 🙂

  12. Ray,

    You’re right! Smacking him would feel good, but only for a few moments (probably until he would have thrown me out of the car). I must say I do not support any manifestations of violence, especially if they are directed against me. 🙂

  13. Ray,

    You’re right! Smacking him would feel good, but only for a few moments (probably until he would have thrown me out of the car). I must say I do not support any manifestations of violence, especially if they are directed against me. 🙂

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