One day I was in a grocery store that I love. Itís an Italian store with the best cheeses and breads around my area. I was in a pretty good mood and was checking out with my husband, and I joked to the cashier that I would like the chocolate bar to stay out of the bag so I could eat it right away. She gave me the dirtiest look and put her head back down without saying a word. This made me upset! I had done nothing to her. I had tried to be friendly and engaging with her, thatís all.
I did what any irrational person would do and mentioned to my husband how happy people were in this place and then threw the chocolate bar on the counter and walked out. Do you think that made me feel good about myself and the situation? No. But I did it anyway! Then I stewed for the next hour wondering why she would treat me so badly when I did nothing to her.
It can be hard to be pleasant when you are mistreated or made to feel bad in a situation. Rude and miserable people seem to be everywhere waiting to ruin your day! How can you handle these people without working yourself into a frenzy of negativity like I did?
First, take a deep breath. Iím impulsive and I imagine that there are a lot of people out there like me. I find that if I take a deep breath then my brain has a chance to pause and rethink saying the first thing that comes to mind. Itís a simple technique but it works.
Next, ask yourself a question that works for you. By this I donít mean asking yourself why she would treat you so badly. That question only leads to more negative thoughts and reactions which are not the desired effect here. Your question should change the way you view that person. It should set them in a more positive light in your eyes Ė even a darker shade of gray will do.
Ask something like "I wonder why that person is having such a bad day?" or "I wonder who treats this person so poorly that they have to treat others poorly?" Do you see the difference in the way you feel between those two re-framed questions and asking why they would treat you so badly? The last two questions make you realize that their attitude may not be about you and may be more about their life. That realization alone will help you to bite your tongue at the very least.
Using this one technique of breathing, pausing, and asking yourself a more enlightening question will help you react better to negative people who pop up throughout your day. You will not only realize that people have problems that have nothing to do with you, but you may be able to help people along the way if you donít react negatively.
Lend them a smile even if they are grouchy. Most people are going to react negatively to them back and you may be the one smile they see throughout their day.
If you can, do something that may brighten their day. You will find that you feel even better about yourself than if you just sat and said nothing.
But remember that sometimes you cannot do anything to make them feel better. Accept that fact and take pride in knowing that you didnít let them ruin your day.