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8 Reasons We Don’t Need To Get Angry With Rude People, But To Empathize With Them

8 Reasons We Don’t Need To Get Angry With Rude People, But To Empathize With Them

I was sitting on my veranda, drinking tea with a friend and enjoying the beautiful ocean breeze. And that’s when I heard someone shouting my name from the street. It was a neighbor, who we’ll call Jim, and he was upset. Very upset. “Who do you think you are?”, he screamed as he walked up my driveway. There had clearly been some sort of misunderstanding but Jim was so angry that he just kept shouting, without giving me the chance to clear things up.

My mind wanted to react and I felt a thought form: “What an a**hole!” But I resisted the temptation and instead, took a deep breath and remained fully present in that moment. I completely stopped listening to the words coming out of his mouth. I realized it wasn’t about me. This man was drowning in anger, resentment, pain, sorrow. I could feel it all as I tuned-in to his energy.

I then took a deep, conscious breath. As I inhaled, I visualized myself breathing in his anger. And on the exhale, I gave him love and compassion. And I followed up with these words: “I’m very sorry Jim if I offended you. It was not my intention.” Immediately, his energy changed. It was as if I had just burst the bubble of resentment he lived in. He was speechless. And right away I could sense that this man had never been shown kindness or compassion before. He didn’t even know what to do with the energy of love I sent his way.

He just stopped shouting, got into his truck, and drove off. Just like that. The next day, I was running in the mountains with my dogs, when I spotted Jim’s truck driving toward me in the distance. “Oh God, not again!” Just as I was hoping that Jim would drive right by and ignore me, he slowed down and came to a complete stop. He rolled down his window and looked at me. “Good morning Christina.” His eyes were filled with tears and I could sense this man was trying to apologize. He just didn’t know how.

He had never apologized to anyone before. So I helped him out. I reached through the window and put my hand on his heart. “It’s ok Jim. Everything is ok.” He smiled and I could feel a huge load lifted from him. And just like the day before, he drove off without saying another word. For days after that encounter, I thought deeply about what it all meant. It was without doubt, one the of the most impactful moments in my life. And I use this episode frequently, when teaching about the transformational power of love and compassion.

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My neighbor Jim showed me why we don’t need to get angry at rude people. And I’ve listed them below– along with specific ways in which we can better respond to a rude person, when we encounter them.

1. They are in pain.

I noticed this very quickly with Jim. His anger wasn’t really toward me, it was a more general resentment toward life. I knew a little bit about his situation to understand what may be causing this resentment. But even if you don’t know the rude person, you can safely assume they are living in pain. Why? Because whatever someone throws out in the world is always a reflection of what they feel inside. I felt compassion for Jim because I acknowledged how crappy it must be to live with such high levels of anger on a daily basis. And I consciously chose not to add to that anger by reacting in like fashion.

Tip 1: Take a deep breath and repeat this mental statement, or mantra: “I acknowledge and feel your pain.”

2. They may be simply passing on what they receive from others.

We communicate energetically with each other all the time. And we’ve all experienced this. Why do you feel great when you are in the presence of a happy person? And why do you feel drained when you go out to coffee with a Debbie Downer? It’s because we all absorb and share energy back and forth. Perhaps Jim had just had an argument with someone else and was just passing on that energy to me. Who knows.

What’s important to realize here is that we always have a choice on whether we want to perpetuate an energetic cycle of anger or love. We’re not robots and we can absolutely break the cycle of anger if we want to. With one breath, I was able to completely deflate Jim’s anger. And we all have that power.

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Tip 2: Inhale and visualize yourself breaking the energetic cycle of anger or resentment. Visualize yourself inhaling the negative emotion and then exhale love toward the person.

3. They unconsciously feel they deserve to live like this.

Life is made up of choices – both conscious and unconscious. And for so many of us, our lives are spent operating on auto-pilot. Perhaps we were mistreated as children. Or maybe there’s just an underlying sense of unworthiness. Whatever the reason, rude people tend to behave in the same way they unconsciously believe they deserve to be treated.

Tip 3: The best medicine for unconsciousness is awareness. In other words, become intensely present and send the energy of compassion toward the rude person. Follow up with this mental mantra: “You deserve kindness and compassion.”

4. They are reacting from the ego, not responding from the heart.

There’s a difference between living life from the heart versus the ego or mind. The ego is a reactive mechanism, sort of like a guard dog. Its job is to attack first … ask questions later. The heart operates in a completely different way. The heart is the seat of love and compassion. It has a broader perspective on things. It doesn’t react to life, it responds to it. A rude person is simply operating from a strong and reactive ego. But underneath that ego is the consciousness of love, which is really what we are all made of.

Tip 4: Actively acknowledge that you are choosing to respond with your heart, not react with your mind. You can do this by repeating the mental mantra: “I am present and listening with my heart.”

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5. They can change in an instant.

That is exactly what happened to Jim. One day he’s screaming and angry at me, the next he’s at peace and has tears in his eyes. This is the power of unconditional love. It’s transformative. So never assume a rude person will be like that forever. We all have the capacity to change. Try to always look upon another person with hope. New beginnings can be just one moment away. Or one day away, as was the case with my neighbor.

Tip 5: Repeat this mantra: “We all have the capacity to change.”

6. They are unconsciously asking for compassion and kindness.

Underneath the thick armor of ego lies a tender heart. Sometimes, it’s hard for us to see the heart, the consciousness within, because the ego is covering it up. That was certainly the case with Jim. With every nasty word he was screaming at me, I felt my own ego wanting to get sucked into the drama. But we can train ourselves to be what I call “Soul Seekers”. A Soul Seeker is someone who can see past the ego. They have X-Ray vision that can spot pure consciousness in another person, even if that consciousness is cloaked over with anger and resentment.

Tip 6: Repeat this mantra: “I am a Soul Seeker and I see the beauty in your heart.”

7. They may be showing you something about yourself.

Life is constantly mirroring things back to us. It’s also constantly testing our level of awareness. Whenever we find ourselves in a loving, peaceful situation, we can safely assume that love and peace exist within. But the opposite is also true: if we find ourselves in an angry situation, we can assume anger exists in us on some level. This became clear to me a few days after my encounter with Jim. I was meditating and I noticed some anger surface, when I rehashed the whole episode in my mind.

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Tip 7: Sit in silence and alone for a few minutes and close your eyes. Use the power of your awareness and scan your body for any points of tightness. Anger frequently gets stuck in our muscles. You can follow up with this mental question: “What am I angry about?”

8. They are your greatest teachers.

Oftentimes, personal growth and evolution of consciousness comes when we encounter painful situations in our lives. People who upset or hurt us are often the ones who teach us the most about life. They challenge us to see our own inner darkness and force us to choose how we want to live life. Do we want to live from the prism of ego and be reactive? Or do we want to live from the prism of the heart and be responsive?

Tip 8: If you find yourself confronted by a rude person, take a deep breath and repeat this mantra: “What are you here to teach me?”

In the end, I am so very thankful to my neighbor Jim for teaching me so many lessons on that day. From him, I learned the power of unconditional love. And everyday I choose to pass that on to others.

Be brave. Choose love. Even when anger seems easier.

Featured photo credit: The Way of the Exploding Fist via flic.kr

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8 Reasons We Don’t Need To Get Angry With Rude People, But To Empathize With Them

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Last Updated on March 14, 2019

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

7 Questions to Ask in a Job Interview That Will Impress the Interviewer

Recruiters might hold thousands of interviews in their careers and a lot of them are reporting the same thing—that most candidates play it safe with the questions they ask, or have no questions to ask in a job interview at all.

For job applicants, this approach is crazy! This is a job that you’re going to dedicate a lot of hours to and that might have a huge impact on your future career. Don’t throw away the chance to figure out if the position is perfect for you.

Here are 7 killer questions to ask in a job interview that will both impress your counterpart and give you some really useful insights into whether this job will be a dream … or a nightmare.

1. What are some challenges I might come up against this role?

A lesser candidate might ask, “what does a typical day look like in this role?” While this is a perfectly reasonable question to ask in an interview, focusing on potential challenges takes you much further because it indicates that you already are visualizing yourself in the role.

It’s impressive because it shows that you are not afraid of challenges, and you are prepared to strategize a game plan upfront to make sure you succeed if you get the job.

It can also open up a conversation about how you’ve solved problems in the past which can be a reassuring exercise for both you and the hiring manager.

How it helps you:

If you ask the interviewer to describe a typical day, you may get a vibrant picture of all the lovely things you’ll get to do in this job and all the lovely people you’ll get to do them with.

Asking about potential roadblocks means you hear the other side of the story—dysfunctional teams, internal politics, difficult clients, bootstrap budgets and so on. This can help you decide if you’re up for the challenge or whether, for the sake of your sanity, you should respectfully decline the job offer.

2. What are the qualities of really successful people in this role?

Employers don’t want to hire someone who goes through the motions; they want to hire someone who will excel.

Asking this question shows that you care about success, too. How could they not hire you with a dragon-slayer attitude like that?

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How it helps you:

Interviewers hire people who are great people to work with, but the definition of “great people” differs from person to person.

Does this company hire and promote people with a specific attitude, approach, worth ethic or communication style? Are the most successful people in this role strong extroverts who love to talk and socialize when you are studious and reserved? Does the company reward those who work insane hours when you’re happiest in a more relaxed environment?

If so, then this may not be the right match for you.

Whatever the answer is, you can decide whether you have what it takes for the manager to be happy with your performance in this role. And if the interviewer has no idea what success looks like for this position, this is a sign to proceed with extreme caution.

3. From the research I did on your company, I noticed the culture really supports XYZ. Can you tell me more about that element of the culture and how it impacts this job role?

Of course, you could just ask “what is the culture like here? ” but then you would miss a great opportunity to show that you’ve done your research!

Interviewers give BIG bonus point to those who read up and pay attention, and you’ve just pointed out that (a) you’re diligent in your research (b) you care about the company culture and (c) you’re committed to finding a great cultural fit.

How it helps you:

This question is so useful because it lets you pick an element of the culture that you really care about and that will have the most impact on whether you are happy with the organization.

For example, if training and development is important to you, then you need to know what’s on offer so you don’t end up in a dead-end job with no learning opportunities.

Companies often talk a good talk, and their press releases may be full of shiny CSR initiatives and all the headline-grabbing diversity programs they’re putting in place. This is your opportunity to look under the hood and see if the company lives its values on the ground.

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A company that says it is committed to doing the right thing by customers should not judge success by the number of up-sells an employee makes, for instance. Look for consistency, so you aren’t in for a culture shock after you start.

4. What is the promotion path for this role, and how would my performance on that path be measured?

To be clear, you are not asking when you will get promoted. Don’t go there—it’s presumptuous, and it indicates that you think you are better than the role you have applied for.

A career-minded candidate, on the other hand, usually has a plan that she’s working towards. This question shows you have a great drive toward growth and advancement and an intention to stick with the company beyond your current state.

How it helps you:

One word: hierarchy.

All organizations have levels of work and authority—executives, upper managers, line managers, the workforce, and so on. Understanding the hierarchical structure gives you power, because you can decide if you can work within it and are capable of climbing through its ranks, or whether it will be endlessly frustrating to you.

In a traditional pyramid hierarchy, for example, the people at the bottom tend to have very little autonomy to make decisions. This gets better as you rise up through the pyramid, but even middle managers have little power to create policy; they are more concerned with enforcing the rules the top leaders make.

If having a high degree of autonomy and accountability is important to you, you may do better in a flat hierarchy where work teams can design their own way of achieving the corporate goals.

5. What’s the most important thing the successful candidate could accomplish in their first 3 months/6 months/year?

Of all the questions to ask in a job interview, this one is impressive because it shows that you identify with and want to be a successful performer, and not just an average one.

Here, you’re drilling down into what the company needs, and needs quite urgently, proving that you’re all about adding value to the organization and not just about what’s in it for you.

How it helps you:

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Most job descriptions come with 8, 10 or 12 different job responsibilities and a lot of them with be boilerplate or responsibilities that someone in HR thinks are associated with this role. This question gives you a better sense of which responsibilities are the most important—and they may not be what initially attracted you to the role.

If you like the idea of training juniors, for example, but success is judged purely on your sales figures, then is this really the job you thought you were applying for?

This question will also give you an idea of what kind of learning curve you’re expected to have and whether you’ll get any ramp-up time before getting down to business. If you’re the type of person who likes to jump right in and get things done, for instance, you may not be thrilled to hear that you’re going to spend the first three months shadowing a peer.

6. What do you like about working here?

This simple question is all about building rapport with the interviewer. People like to talk about themselves, and the interviewer will be flattered that you’re interested in her opinions.

Hopefully, you’ll find some great connection points that the two of you share. What similar things drive you head into the office each day? How will you fit into the culture?

How it helps you:

You can learn a lot from this question. Someone who genuinely enjoys his job will be able to list several things they like, and their answers will sound passionate and sincere. If not….well, you might consider that a red flag.

Since you potentially can learn a lot about the company culture from this question, it’s a good idea to figure out upfront what’s important to you. Maybe you’re looking for a hands-off boss who values independent thought and creativity? Maybe you work better in environments that move at a rapid, exciting pace?

Whatever’s important to you, listen carefully and see if you can find any common ground.

7. Based on this interview, do you have any questions or concerns about my qualifications for the role?

What a great closing question to ask in a job interview! It shows that you’re not afraid of feedback—in fact, you are inviting it. Not being able to take criticism is a red flag for employers, who need to know that you’ll act on any “coaching moments” with a good heart.

As a bonus, asking this question shows that you are really interested in the position and wish to clear up anything that may be holding the company back from hiring you.

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How it helps you:

What a devious beast this question is! On the surface, it looks straightforward, but it’s actually giving you four key pieces of information.

First, is the manager capable of giving you feedback when put on the spot like this? Some managers are scared of giving feedback, or don’t think it’s important enough to bother outside of a formal performance appraisal. Do you want to work for a boss like that? How will you improve if no one is telling you what you did wrong?

Second, can the manager give feedback in a constructive way without being too pillowy or too confrontational? It’s unfair to expect the interviewer to have figured out your preferred way of receiving feedback in the space of an interview, but if she come back with a machine-gun fire of shortcomings or one of those corporate feedback “sandwiches” (the doozy slipped between two slices of compliment), then you need to ask yourself, can you work with someone who gives feedback like that?

Third, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about before you leave the interview. This gives you the chance to make a final, tailored sales pitch so you can convince the interviewer that she should not be worried about those things.

Fourth, you get to learn the things the hiring manager is concerned about period. If turnover is keeping him up at night, then your frequent job hopping might get a lot of additional scrutiny. If he’s facing some issues with conflict or communication, then he might raise concerns regarding your performance in this area.

Listen carefully: the concerns that are being raised about you might actually be a proxy for problems in the wider organization.

Making Your Interview Work for You

Interviews are a two-way street. While it is important to differentiate yourself from every other candidate, understand that convincing the interviewer you’re the right person for the role goes hand-in-hand with figuring out if the job is the right fit for you.

Would you feel happy in a work environment where the people, priorities, culture and management style were completely at odds with the way you work? Didn’t think so!

More Resources About Job Interviews

Featured photo credit: Amy Hirschi via unsplash.com

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