Things I've Learned: The Jerk Whisperer Edition

I’m going to start a new feature on the blog that I hope will be helpful. It’s called Things I’ve Learned. I’ve had a few revelations over the past few weeks, and they’ve made my life a lot happier and less stressful. I’m going to blog about these realizations. Hopefully they can make your life a little less stressful too.

Lesson #1 involves dealing with jerks. Let me start with this great jerk-related quote I saw on Twitter:

 @shannynmoore: “Don’t try to win over the haters. You are not the jerk whisperer.” 

There’s someone I interact with quite frequently, and he never seems to have anything nice to say to me. Literally every time he sees me he makes unnecessary critiques/complaints about my work, cracks a mean joke, or complains about something. Believe me, I don’t mind criticism. In fact, I appreciate it so I can improve. I don’t mind being the butt of a joke. I don’t even mind listening to a few random complaints. But this guy seems to lack something creative to say and uses these tools as (bizarre) way to start conversation.

I used to take his comments REALLY personally. For a while I would get upset and pout about them. Then I would snap at him. Then I would get really, really defensive and tell him all the reasons why his critiques were untrue. If any law school admissions counselor heard my arguments I would have been accepted on the spot. With a scholarship. My arguments were bullet-proof.

Then I realized….why am I arguing with this cranky a-hole? No matter what I say, the next day he is going to crack a rude joke or make an unnecessary and untrue critique. Now when I see him, I just smile and keep moving. If I have to interact with him, I keep it light and ignore his rude remarks.

The tweet I posted above is so true. You (and I) don’t need to spend our time winning unnecessarily rude people over. Criticism that is offered with reason can be helpful and should be taken seriously.  Valid complaints should be addressed. Criticism and complaints that are offered because someone has his/her own issues or bad attitude should be ignored. It’s not worth your precious time or energy.

Ever since I stopped letting this guy’s obnoxious comments bother me, I’ve felt so much better.

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