How to Deal With Mean People...and Win
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Cruel Intentions1 of 9
By Sara Tan
Just because we're years beyond high school doesn't mean bullies and mean girls are a thing of the past. While the old "kill 'em with kindness" strategy often works, sometimes a gal's got to stand up for herself. Here are eight mean people we've all encountered, along with tips for how to handle them.
The Unfriendly Friend of a Friend2 of 9
The best way to deal with these kinds of acquaintances is to try and get to know them. It seems counterintuitive, but sometimes, you can get through that tough outer shell and uncover a genuinely pleasant person. If that fails, talk to your friend so you can understand why they like this person so much. Remember—they're close with this person, so be considerate of their feelings. You might gain some insight as to why the person acts the way they do, or your friend may realize their pal isn't as pleasant as they thought.
The Rude Server3 of 9
Try to remember that everyone has their bad days. Maybe they just got dumped or evicted—it's possible. Yes, they should be a professional about it but you should also try and cut them a little slack. That said, if their demeanor is affecting your meal (i.e., your food is cold, they forget to bring something out that you ordered, etc.) or making you feel uncomfortable, then you should definitely say something to the restaurant's manager and ask for a different waiter. If face-to-face confrontation isn't your style, you could also digital diss them with an online review.
The Angry Driver4 of 9
A recent study found that half of all drivers who have been at the receiving end of an obscene gesture or who have been cut off or tailgated have responded with the same behavior. If another driver is acting aggressively, take a deep breath, contain your anger and let it go. It's definitely not worth getting all riled up over one mean driver. And if you believe in karma, well then, that should carry you through the rest of your ride.
The Snooty Salesperson5 of 9
Everyone from Vivian Ward to Oprah Winfrey has faced the insufferable sales associate. While it'd be ideal to take a page from Pretty Woman and march back into the store with arms full of bags from another boutique, realistically you should just contact management. They should be fully aware of how uncomfortable their staff is making you feel in their store. Although it can make for an awkward situation, they'll be grateful you said something.
The Evil Co-worker6 of 9
Workplaces are notoriously cliquey and gossip-filled. If you have a specific co-worker who acts like she's out to get you, the best way to go about it is to pull her aside and speak with her privately. Don't even think about getting involved in her game—it'll only make things worse and could even jeopardize your job. If there is a specific event in which you caught her in the act of being mean, ask her about it. If you overheard her talking behind your back, politely say, "If you have a problem with me, I'd appreciate it if you talked to me about it, and not our other co-workers."
The Critical Relative7 of 9
You love Thanksgiving, but you'd consider giving up cornbread stuffing and pecan pie if it meant you didn't have to see Aunt Sheila again. Everyone has an Aunt Sheila: the relative who has more judgmental things to say to you every year. Before you bail on Turkey Day, ask yourself: Is she just an overall unpleasant person? Is she mean to everyone? More often than not, those who are generally mean are unhappy and insecure with themselves. The best way to deal with it is to deflect it. Throw Aunt Sheila a sarcastic, "Thanks!" to make it apparent that her meanness doesn't affect you.
The Nasty Neighbor8 of 9
Chances are that at some point in your life, you're going to have a curmudgeonly neighbor. If you love where you live or you know that you're not leaving anytime soon, you should probably just ignore them. It's like having a lousy roommate in college—try your best to go about your day and have as little interaction with them as possible. But if their behavior persists and becomes an even bigger problem, consider expressing your issues to your landlord. If you don't have one, local courthouses and police precincts offer expert mediators who can help you deal with the situation professionally.
The Bossy Doc9 of 9
Just because your doctor has years of higher education on their résumé does not give them the authority to judge or boss you around. If your doctor is making you feel uncomfortable with their condescending tone or hyper-critical remarks, speak up. Politely redirect the conversation and say, "If we could move on from this, I'd like to just focus on my overall health." If you do not feel comfortable confronting them in person, consider contacting the office's nursing supervisor. They also guide you in requesting a transfer to a new doctor.
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