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Wednesday, June 10, 2015

How to Deal with Difficult, Obnoxious People: When You Just Want to Smack 'Em

'Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup.' Unknown

Sometimes You Just Want to Smack 'Em!

Recently a friend, Pam, wrote to complain about an incident that occurred while she was working 
at a public event with a woman known to be obnoxious and belittling. When one of her friends stopped to enjoy a social chat about family and an upcoming BBQ this woman interrupted their conversation by loudly yelling out 'Pam pay attention!' --embarrassing her in front of her friend and others nearby.

Pam wrote: 

Sue, I am very patient, but at some point I will tell her off. I just want to smack her! 

She treats me like a 2 year old! I know I am not an expert, but I do have a lot of common sense! I don't appreciate her constantly telling me what to do--like I don't know what I'm doing. 

I've only worked with her a few times and she doesn't know me that well, but she better get off my butt! Her day is coming.

While I ignored what she did to me this time--next time she does something like she did I will give her a piece of my mind.

Difficult People Make Us Feel Unsafe and Very, Very Small

You know who they are--those people who drive you crazy, stirring up trouble--and making you feel unsafe. In my family we call them '*hit Disturbers'.

These creators of chaos and drama stir up a whirlwind of trouble that sucks you in and wreaks havoc on your emotions, perhaps leaving you feeling anxious and uncertain about your relationships, or future with the company.

So how should you deal with these disturbers of your peace--these squashers of confidence? Try kindness first.

How's that? How does one just put on a happy face and handle these twits with kindness when the truth is you really don't like them and what you'd really like to do is smack them and make their lives miserable?

Why on earth would you choose to deal with them with kindness when a good kick in the behind would serve them well?--Because it's best for you.

'Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not.' Samuel Johnson

Speak Softly and Carry a Big Smacking Stick 

Before you dismiss this as Pollyanna drivel for how to deal with these purveyors of distress, consider Teddy Roosevelt's use of 'speak softly and carry a big stick', an African proverb he picked up while traveling in West Africa in 1900.

While Governor of New York, Roosevelt fought with party bosses, particularly one that threatened to ruin him. Despite the threats, Teddy conveyed his stance in a speech with the adage 'speak softly and carry a big stick'. Roosevelt stayed steady and eventually the bosses gave in to the direction he wanted to go--and he certainly was not ruined.

The adage 'speak softly and carry a big stick' evokes an image of a person who is clearly in control of his or her emotions and actions. This is a person who is slow to anger and slow to react. And while you may start out softly in your words and deeds, you always know you can pull out the smacking stick if you need to whack them--and they do too.

Don't let your life be led by the *hit disturbers. Choose to be the adult in charge of your own life and create a life and actions based on your own values.

'Don't belittle yourself. Be BIG yourself.'  Corita Kent

How to Speak Softly when You Really Want to Smack Them
  • Suspend judgment 
  • Hold your tongue 
  • Engage in self-calming activities 
  • Wait 
  • Put time between when you want to smack them and when you respond to their obnoxious behavior 
  • Remember who YOU are 
  • Remember what you want to build in your life 

How to Use the Smacking Stick in a Timely Fashion

If you're like most people you get tongue-tied when you get verbally attacked by one of these obnoxious bullies. So how do speak up and smack them down when the time comes?

  • You prepare ahead when you've been forewarned.
  • Talk it over with a trusted friend or colleague to collect your thoughts.
  • Be factual, not personal.

Let them have it. 

Baby mosquito came back after 1st time flying.
His father asked him "How do you feel?"
He replied "It was wonderful, Everyone was clapping for me!" Tahir

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For more than 30 years, Susan Meyerott has been helping people lighten up and step over invisible barriers to change one step at a time. She speaks to your heart, puts you at ease, and makes changing easier than ever before.

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1 comment:

Jean | said...

Susan, I love it! In my 30s I worked with some "Disturbers" and it wasn't easy, but as you said: be slow to anger, put some time between when you want to smack them and when you respond. Great advice!