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A Stanford psychologist on the art of avoiding rude people

https://www.vox.com/conversations/2017/9/26/16345476/stanford-psychologist-art-of-avoiding-assholes

vox.com

A Stanford psychologist on the art of avoiding rude people
The world is full of assholes. Wherever you live, whatever you do, odds are you're surrounded by assholes. The question is, what to do about it? Robert Sutton, a psychology professor at Stanford University, has stepped up to answer this eternal question.

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Take responsibility

Some people are so thin-skinned that they think everyone is offending them when it's nothing personal. Other people are objectively treated like dirt everywhere because they're doing something to prompt that punishment.

We've got to take responsibility.

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Consequences

Mean-spirited people need someone in their life to tell them they're contemptible.

In the very short-term, it might seem to your advantage to let someone feel like dirt. However, in most situations, we actually need collaboration and should be givers rather than takers. By being an asshole, you might be destroying your organization by driving out the best people, undermining their productivity, creativity, and so on.

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How to deal with rude people

  • If the person is unaware that they act like a jerk, have a backstage conversation and gently inform them that they've crossed a line.
  • If someone is treating you like dirt because they believe that's how to get ahead, get out of there.
  • If you are stuck in your situation, build your case. Collect the evidence and then take your chances.
  • Otherwise, ignore them. Don't care about it. It will take the wind out of their sails. In time, they will burn their own bridges and won't be there to demean you.

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Dealing with your peers

Your chances of getting rid of assholes that are colleagues or peers are higher. A simple strategy is to freeze them out. Don't invite them to events or gatherings. Shun them politely and smile if necessary, but otherwise, just ignore them.

Sometimes you have to speak to them in a language they understand.

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Check your own tendencies

  • Sleep deprivation can turn you into your worst version.
  • If you're tired and in a hurry, you are more likely to misbehave.
  • If you have an excess of power in a situation, you're at risk.

Be self-aware and honest about yourself. Rely on people around you to tell you when you're out of line. Listen to them.

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