8 Tips for Dealing with a Jerk

It’s an unfortunate fact of life that we will encounter some jerks as we go about our lives. I had the displeasure of coming across one of the meanest people I have ever met this week. I am very proud to say that I kept my cool and I treated them with respect. And in true Hailey fashion I wrote a post about it! (This post focuses on people you may come across in public. If you are in a situation where you are being abused in your home, call the domestic violence hotline at 1-800-799-7233)

Here are my tips for dealing with meanies:

1. What they are saying is not true.

While they are spewing random garbage they may happen to come across one of your inecurities, but it’s just a coincidence. It doesn’t matter. It might feel deeply personal and offensive, but its really just a jerk being a jerk.

2. They are just trying to get you worked up, to get you to retaliate.

That’s it. They’ll say anything to try to get to you. Which brings us to our next tip…

3. Don’t sink to their level. Be the bigger person.

Nothing aggravates someone who’s trying to engage you in a verbal altercation more than when you maintain your cool and they realize that they can’t get to you. They sure don’t like it when they realize that they’ll have to roll around in the dirt all by themselves.

4. This isn’t forever. It’s temporary.

As Kimmy Schmidt says, “A person can stand just about anything for 10 seconds, then you just start on a new 10 seconds. All you’ve got to do is take it 10 seconds at a time”. This interaction will pass. It’s not even going to matter a month from now, a year from now. You might not even remember, or it will just be a story for you to tell. (Remember that time that jerk just started yelling?!).

5.  If you come across an individual like this in a public place, calmly walk away.

If you are at work and don’t have that option, tell them that if they cannot be respectul then they need to leave. Call security if necessary. I guarantee that no matter where you work your boss doesn’t want you to be treated in such a matter, nor do they want a scene unfolding in front of other customers, clients, or students. (If you are expected to put up with verbal abuse at your job, then between you and me you need to find a new place to work!)

6. They most likely have something going on in their life.

I personally hold the belief that there is usually a reason for people to behave poorly such as a family crisis, mental illness, etc. However, there is absolutely nothing that justifies being a giant jerk. You deserve respect no matter the circumstances in someone else’s life.

7. There isn’t always a “why”.

Unfortunately some people are just unkind, or maybe not self-aware enough to realize the consequences their actions have on others. Sometimes you just have to let it go, and stop ruminating on the “why” for someone’s poor behavior.

8. Once it’s over, it’s over.

When the interaction is (finally!) finished, process it with someone that you care about and trust, and then put it away. Don’t let them take up valuable real estate in your brain. They don’t deserve a second thought.

What are your tips for dealing with meanies? Let me know in the comments below!

2 thoughts on “8 Tips for Dealing with a Jerk

  1. Hailey, that is great advice as usual! As a teacher, I interact with jerks everyday but because they are students and I’m the teacher I HAVE to be the bigger person. There’s no way I’d risk my job by saying something out of line, but goodness knows sometimes I want to! I seriously believe being polite and calm is the key. In any situation. Getting aggravated only fuels the fire, and from personal experience outside of work, I know this is true. When interacting with other adults, sometimes they just WANT to fight, and if you don’t give them any ammo in return, they can only go so far. Unless you walk away first 🙂

    1. Thank you Davina! You are completely right, if you remain calm and polite they have nothing to work with. Sometimes people are looking for a fight, and you just can’t give it to them. Thanks for the comment!

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