3 Little Tricks to Deal With People Who Offend You

Zen Habits

Hailing from Guam it's a pleasure to introduce Leo Babauta, who will be providing the Chelsey community with inspiration and tactics on setting and achieving your goals each and every week, check out his blog Zen Habits

Something that we struggle with daily, that eats us up and causes stress and anger: annoying people.

You know those people: they cut in line, are rude to you in the office or at the restaurant, cut you off in traffic, talk loudly about obnoxious things, play loud music when you’re trying to concentrate, interrupt you, and so on.


These offenses are violations of the way you think people should act. And so it burns you up. Don’t worry, I’m the same way.

If you just keep letting these offensive people get to you, you’ll always be mad or annoyed. Life won’t be very good. But it’s something you can learn to deal with.

I have to admit I’m not perfect at this, but here are three strategies I use that are helpful:

  1. Get Big. I learned this one from Zen teacher Robert Thomas, who uses “Get Big” as one of his slogans that helps him to be mindful. Imagine you’re a 2-year-old toddler, who can’t have a toy or some ice cream right this minute. This problem is your entire universe, because you have no perspective, and so … you throw a fit. This is the world of a 2-year-old (I should know, I’ve had 6 of them). But as adults, we know that this is a very small problem, and in fact there are lots of other things the 2-year-old could do to be happy. Sure, that’s easy for us — we have a bigger perspective. But when someone offends us, we have a small perspective — this little offense is the biggest thing in the world, and it makes us very angry. We throw the equivalent of a 2-year-old fit. But if we get a bigger perspective (Get Big), we can see that this little thing matters very little in the bigger picture. It’s not worth being angry over. So remind yourself to Get Big, then widen your perspective.
  2. Float Down the Stream. When I drive and other drivers do rude things, I often get angry. Then I remember a trick: I imagine myself floating down a stream in a raft, and the other cars are just twigs and leaves floating past me one way or another on this stream. They don’t have to treat me a certain way, because they’re just twigs. And so I serenely float down this stream, not worrying about how the twigs float around me (though I try not to hit them, because, you know, safety first). And in truth, this is how life is — other people aren’t trying to offend you, don’t even worry about you most of the time. They are just twigs floating by. Be nice to the twigs though.
  3. Give Them a Mental Hug. This little trick can transform the way I feel about someone who makes me angry. Let’s say someone has just said something rude to me. How dare they! Don’t they have any consideration for my feelings? But of course, in this reaction, I’m not having any consideration for their feelings — only mine matter. And so I try to empathize with this rude person, and realize that they’re angry, or scared, or both. They are being rude as a coping mechanism for their fear. And so, mentally (and once in a while physically), I give them a hug. I have compassion for this scared person, because I too am often scared. We’re the same. We need a hug, some compassion, a little love.

Try one of these three tricks the next time someone makes you mad or offends you. And then smile in serenity, armed with the comforting knowledge that, like me, you are superior to the rest of the world.

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  • Maria w says
    Love this article. I just need to remind me this 3 things esp the first one.
  • Chriatorain says
    Pretty nice suggestion! It's wonderful to read and your websites provides good thoughts to the readers. So it will help us to gain wonderful knowledge. You can use this best essay writing service for any future writing works.
    • New Member says
      The people who offend the the students is only professors. They always telling them to prepare academic papers and other tasks to do. This make them feel stress and getting tired of their academic works. The online services like dissertation editing service is one of the reason relax for such students.
    • New Member says
      i just read your note mu suggestion is that just practice a yoga og go to yoga courses its better for dealing with them..you can select your choice but i just suggest you , yoga is a good methods to create all good dealts with other annoying peoples
    • Mellow says
      Just laugh, it confuses the offender.........
    • New Member says
      They say, that every offender loses interest when the object of his offenses becomes happy and stops irritating about him. You may read more at this term paper writing service concerning your self-defense.

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