A Real Jerk by Amy Goldberg

My friend said; “What? You, Amy, are writing about jerks. You, who always has a smile on your face. A happy-go-lucky person who is one of the most positive (annoyingly-so) people I know on this planet. What gives?”

After I laughed at my friends’ comment, I said; “Isn’t it a sad state of affairs when someone like me experiences the dark, nasty and narcissistic weight of people looming in my creative, joyful space.” And, I’m ticked off.

Despite the fact that I’m quite capable of shifting almost any conversation to reflect a more upbeat tone. Adding an element of humor. I’m finding I have to work harder, more often, to maintain this frame of mind. How can so many people wake up with such crappy dispositions?

Apart from the obvious, being a jerk is a serious problem. They can trigger anxiety, depression, sleep problems, high blood pressure, and poor relationships with their colleagues, families and partners. And for what? So that the world can lean into their evil-maniacal tendencies. I won’t have it. Nor should you.

But I digress. What triggered my own need to write this post? Quite ironically, being a motivational/inspirational speaker, wellness professional and all things that have nothing to do with negativity. Apart from helping you to deal with or find more effective strategies. One aspect of my work is being invited to speak at various industry events. I love it! Until …

I have, and I kid you not, received emails where the event organizer will type: The event date/time and a request for a speaker and nothing else. And so, the email trail begins. Back and forth with what feels like grunts from the other end. It’s as if the person is saying; “I’m leading with my ego. I have nothing better to do than to not be kind nor helpful trying to get what I NEED.” In fact, it feels like they couldn’t care less. Maybe they don’t. So, the first thing I do is, of course, not play into it. Yes, I believe in “kill them with kindness.” It’s actually a lot of fun. As well, I have a ‘How to Deal With Jerks’ Playbook which lists a few of the following that do prove helpful:

How To Deal With Jerks Playbook

1. Don’t judge Maybe they’re having a bad day. Relationship challenges (I can see why – whoops, don’t judge). Maybe they’re hungry. All these things play into one’s mood. The benefit of the doubt. I take this into consideration. We’re all human.

I show empathy …

until it doesn’t work, and I realize that ….

2. They Really Are A Jerk In which case, if I can’t do anything about the situation after trying to resolve any miscommunication or any given situation I then realize, at the end of the day ‘It’s not worth it.’ Please note: If you’re in a work environment where office politics and backstabbing are the norm it’s very likely you’re not going to change the culture unless you have the backing. It’s time to consider alternatives for yourself.

In the case where you need to step up and ….

3. Hold Your Ground Remember jerks are everywhere. When it comes to conflicts, let the other person know how you feel about a situation. No matter how big of a jerk someone is, it’s very difficult to disagree with feelings. You also need to remember that you don’t want to turn into a jerk yourself so you’re not blaming, you’re explaining the situation. 

In no way however should you feel powerless in your life. You need to stand up for yourself with dignity and pride. 

So, regardless of the results of our encounters with jerks, if you decide to say no to them, you will remain in control of who you are as a human being.

This is your life. Own it.