Over the years of being a leadership and health coach now, one of the most common calls for help I receive is about dealing with bad behavior or when someone perceives someone else is a bad person. It's a cry for help of sorts . It's often a cry for help in dealing with a jerk.
The first sentence usually sounds something like this,
“Help! My (x-husband, x-wife, co-worker, boss, mom, teammate, dad, friend, neighbor, coach, etc..) is a/an (total jerk, idiot, moron, thoughtless, out of control, temperamental, unqualified, bad person, cheater, etc...!)
Help! My _____(Fill in the Blank) is a ______(Fill in the Blank).
Fill in the blanks. Pick our noun, pick our adjectives and more nouns...whatever... it spells trouble is brewing!
When we feel like yelling, “Help my boss is a total moron!” or ”Help my neighbor is a total jerk!” or “OMG, that coach is such a putz!” or something similar, where do we go with it?
Here are 10 Ways to Deal with Putzy People
1. Realize there are many different types of "jerks" out there. Take time to stop and understand just what kind of person you perceive you are dealing with and assess the situation. "Jerk" is usually one of the first words or labels people use to describe behavior that just doesn't fit with what we expect. From volatile "jerks" - who bite people’s heads off out of the blue, snap, yell, and say rude things - to internet "jerks" who post the most horrid comments ever, sometimes anonymously, the world is full of different people and different jerks. We may have to apply different methods to different jerks and try a few tactics.
2. Understand we probably aren’t going to magically change this person. We probably won’t even make a dent. So we must step out of their jerk zone and into our peaceful, happy place and remove ourselves from their jerkdome. This means we may need to respond differently to their methods of being a jerk. Above all, it's very important to surround ourselves with love and kindness and to use compassion to the best of our ability.
3. Be a Bigger Person. Generally speaking, we probably don’t know what is going on in the background or life of the jerk. So it’s possible that our background and opinions are coming into play and possibly into judgy-mode. We should check our judgy self at the door. Realize it might be us being jealous, thinking we can do it better or we are attacking and labeling for no reason. Ask ourself why we see such negativity in people around you. We might be acting like the jerk. Remember jerky behavior and people often attract jerky responses and people.
4. Speaking of judgy, sometimes judgy is right on the money and our gut instincts are spot on. Pay attention to your gut instinct. Jerks can sometimes be violent also and that probably is our safety instinct in motion. Pay attention.
5. Realize this might be the best they’ve got and they are being their best self and have no clue you think they are a jerk. Let them be right and move on. It might not be worth your energy.
6. Sit down and communicate in an effort to smooth things over. Notice that was just one sentence. Careful and good luck. I’d recommend a 3rd or 4th person in the room so things are witnessed and facilitated properly.
7. Understand some people run on inhaling victory and breathing out drama, anger, moodiness. Run from these people as fast as you can. They live in cranky pants.
8. Recognize a wounded soul. Sometimes a wound festers and creates a jerk. They don’t mean to be a jerk, but they are wounded, perhaps in a constant state of grief or pain. Help them see the light and get help. Some jerks turn around, change and learn to stop spewing venom and instead live life with purpose, kindness, compassion, love and more. In other words, they heal and put out positive energy again.
9. Kindness, Kindness, Kindness. Treat each person you meet with kindness and gratitude. Smile. Remember, be your best you - even if every button on your elevator of life has been pressed.
10. Ask the person if they need assistance. Apply love and compassion. The person might need help to see the light and get out of their own way.
About Elizabeth Hamilton Guarino
Elizabeth Hamilton-Guarino is a best-selling author, speaker, trainer, entrepreneur and a recognized leader in personal development and optimal mindset strategies. For more than 20 years, she’s been teaching entrepreneurs, educators, corporate leaders, and people from all walks of life how to illuminate their light within and help them reach their highest, best potential. As an expert in mentoring people to market their strengths and achieve brand excellence, Fast Company magazine, in 2011, named Elizabeth a "Top influencer," and The Shorty Awards recognized her in 2013 as "Top 3 - Best in Social Media". Elizabeth has been ranked in the Top 50 Social CEO's to follow on Twitter by Strategic Objectives since 2013. (@BestEverYou)
As the founder of the Best Ever You Network, she created a brand with more than a million followers in social media and is on a mission to inspire you, to raise awareness and to promote greater excellence within each of us and in the world. Elizabeth is the author of Percolate - Let Your Best Self Filter Through.