Throughout my life, I have made many friends and some enemies. My actions have pleased others while drawing the ire and disdain of others. At this point, I have concluded that there is no way to please everyone so why bother doing so?
There are so many toxic people in this world that try to bring others down in any fashion they can and I have certainly dealt with these people. A lot of them have tried to undermine me by spreading rumors, they were passive-aggressive or they would tell me that I need to quit doing X or stop acting like Y.
Some other people, in particular complete strangers at a bar, would try to pick a fight with if I spoke to a girl that they didn’t have the courage to ask out or approach themselves.
A lot of people are petty. They are this way because they dislike themselves and are unable or unwilling to undergo the process of self-development to bring themselves to a point where they no longer need to hurt others for validation.
They may also be acting out wounds that were inflicted upon themselves in childhood or adulthood and they lack the maturity to process those emotions effectively. Or they act this way simply because you are making them feel insecure and insignificant and instead of trying to improve themselves to your level of awesomeness they try to cut you down to their level.
Growing up, I dealt with my fair share of bullies. I had a stutter as a child and that made me very susceptible to a lot of criticism. Although I was fairly well liked, there were people who felt threatened by me and used my stutter as an opportunity to cut me down and make me feel small.
I encounter this as an adult too. Like I mentioned before, narcissistic guys try to scare me by threatening me at a bar if I talk to a woman they have had their eye on. Some are friend-zoned guys the woman I’m talking to keeps around and they are threatened by my presence around her. Other people simply just feel insecure and miserable and feel the need to cut me down to their level.
There have been more times than I am comfortable saying where I have let this behavior get to me. I have struggled with self-confidence myself so for a long time it was hard for me to just shrug these people off and stick to the old adage of “haters gonna hate”.
I am proud to say now that I am now able to shrug off these haters and see them for what they truly are: complete jerks that have little to no self-worth and very likely have little value to bring to the table of life. That’s not to say that these people can’t change, but it was important for me to recognize that self-assured and self-confident people will never resort to tearing others down to make themselves feel better.
So I would like to share with you how I have learned to deal with jerks in my life and it is my hope that you will apply this to your life as well.
Kill Them with Kindness
There have been moments where I have encountered jerks in my life and I just treat them the same as I would with anyone else. If they get rude with me, I just respond with a warm smile and I say something like “I hope you have a great rest of your night, let me know if you want a round”. This line happens to work in the bar setting and it takes them off guard. They are taken aback by you not being diminished by their venom. You are not allowing them to get to you and you also make them feel stupid for being so rude when you are the exact opposite in return.
People who are jerks pretty much get off on people feeling small. If a jerk says something to you and they know they have gotten under your skin, they have effectively won. This means any sort of emotional reaction whatsoever. Such a reaction could be raising your voice, changing your posture or using certain facial expressions that demonstrate anger, annoyance or sadness. I am not saying you let jerks just walk all over you, but you should make sure that whenever someone treats you poorly, do not allow it to affect your mood. This takes the jerk’s power away.
Stand up for Yourself in a Non-Combative Way
This is most effective with friends, family members and significant others. If someone crosses your boundaries and is rude and inconsiderate towards you, make it known to them that their behavior is out of line and you will not tolerate it. I have had these conversations myself and I can tell you the sooner you enforce your boundaries, the better and the more likely a person will respect you. Some people have even tested my boundaries to see what they can get away with and when I pick up on this, I tactfully tell them that what they are doing is not okay with me. If they do not heed the warning, they’re out of my life. Simple as that. The only exception is with family members and in that case I just distance myself from them until they apologize and adjust their behavior. Luckily for me this hasn’t happened in awhile but it is a good tool for you to use if you have a family member that is acting like a toxic person.
If All Else Fails, Walk Away
“If you buy someone a gift, but if that person does not take it, to whom does the gift belong?” -Siddartha Gautama
Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a Buddhist, but you cannot discount the wisdom that exists in these words. It’s very similar to how Jesus would say “turn the other cheek”. Simply put, if someone wants to unload their crap onto you, you have the choice as to whether or not you will allow that crap to enter your life and affect you. You have the choice as to what meaning you assign a person’s destructive criticism. This can go hand in hand with staying grounded. You are not allowing this person to impact your life negatively and thus all of the power has been taken away from them.
Jerks like to impose their will onto other people and when you deal with them the wrong way it can lead to dire consequences for you. These four ways of handling jerks are methods that I have learned and if you know of any yourself that you would like to share, please do so in the comments below. Also subscribe to our e-mail list for awesome messages of empowerment and updates on new articles that come out. Until next time, take care!