You know how most people are fairly nice most of the time, but some people are complete jerks pretty much all the time?
I never understood that. I mean, we all have our super jerk moments. We all have times when our hormones, or the chemicals in our brains, or the whatever is off-kilter, and we lash out, or we make a douchey move, or we treat others like crap.
Yes, we’re all jerks once in a while. Well, all of us except my sister-in-law Caitlyn. I’m convinced she’s never been a jerk a day in her life. But everyone else, yeah. We have our moments.
But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about the big jerks. The ones who chronically are jerks. The ones who treat the entire planet and everyone in it like their own personal stomping ground. These are the ones I don’t understand. I mean, how does anyone survive in this world being a jerk like that? Seems to me their lives must get pretty lonely.
As for me, I’ve had a lot of jerks come and go in my life, and as I sat down to write this post, I tried to think of the biggest jerks of all of them. My list came out to seven.
Then, instead of whining about what jerks they are, I decided to figure out what I’ve learned from them instead and how I’ve learned to handle them. This is my list. Oh, and for obvious reasons, I’m not going to name names or genders (women can be jerks, too, right?).
JERK #1 (The Jerk for No Reason) – Some jerks will have it out for you, and verbally attack you, and belittle you, and just be mean to you for absolutely no good reason. You’ve never done anything to these jerks (that you know of). You’ve always tried to steer clear of them, and you’ll always be baffled as to why they are so mean to you and not as much so to others.
These are the jerks that tend to have their own little posses; their goons, if you will. They are unending in their meanness to you, and they don’t try to hide it.
You’ll spend a lot of energy trying to figure out these kinds of jerks, but it won’t matter. Anything you try and do will just make it worse. They don’t like you. One day, for whatever reason, you found yourself in their crosshairs, and there’s not much you can do about it once you’re there.
The Best Way I’ve Found to Deal with Them: These jerks don’t use rhyme or reason or logic, so don’t try any of that. And never try to prove to these jerks why you’re worthy of decent treatment. It will backfire on you. Instead, stand up to them with strange looks and complete silence. They feed off of words. They don’t know what to do with silence. So next time they go on the attack, simply half-grin and stare straight at them until they get uncomfortable and go away. It might take doing it a few times, but eventually they tend to leave you alone for good.
Bonus Trick: Next time this person is a jerk to you, do a little more than simply stay silent. Hold your hands out in the air, smile the biggest smile you’ve ever smiled, and genuinely say, “You sure could use a hug, couldn’t you! Come here you big lug!” This is extra awesome if other people are around.
JERK #2 (The Goon) – For most Jerk #1s, there’s a Jerk #2. These jerks are followers, and they’ll be jerks to anyone they’re “told” to be jerks to.
In my experience, these jerks are much less jerks than they are people who are simply hurting and looking for friends. And since Jerk #1s rarely have any friends, it’s an easy match-up for both of them.
But here’s the truth about these jerks. I’ve known a few of them now, and they are generally nothing like the jerks that they follow around. When their leader jerks are gone, these guys are usually pretty friendly and unassailing. They don’t really have it out to you, and quite often can be turned into friends if you’ll give them a chance. These jerks almost always grow up and find their own less jerkish ways eventually.
It has also been my experience that they are generally loyal to Jerk #1 when Jerk #1 comes back around. Where they are starting to be friendly and less douchey one moment, they can suddenly turn around and become colossal jerks the next. So be careful.
The Best Way I’ve Found to Deal with Them: When jerk #1 is around, just avoid these guys. Don’t be rude back. Give them the same half-grin stare you give to Jerk #1. But when they’re alone, say something positive to them out of the blue. Laugh about something. Let them know that you’re not a threat and that you’ve forgotten how they acted around their ringmasters. These guys are goons for a reason. They latch onto any positive attention, so give them some. You’ll even be amazed how much more tame of jerks they are even when they slip back into jerk-mode.
Bonus Trick: Next time this person is a jerk to you, do the following. Stop. Put both hands in your pockets. Get down on your knees. Start doing the worm (or your best version of it). Say, “I never got why people didn’t keep their hands in their pockets when they did this. It’s much more worm-like.” Guaranteed they’ll laugh.
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