A Stanford psychologist on the art of avoiding assholes
How to deal with assholes
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An asshole is someone who consistently makes the people around feeling humiliated, de-energized, disrespected, or oppressed.
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.
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.
How to deal with assholes
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.
Check your own tendencies
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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