One of my students recently told me that he has been dealing with a difficult colleague at work. This colleague occasionally picks on him, points things out to him and is being generally unpleasant. When I learned about this, I could immediately relate to his situation. Years and years of bullying at school and by the kids in the village I grew up made me a little qualified to give advice in this area.
I believe when someone is unpleasant to us or picks on us, has nothing to do with us, but everything to do with them. Bullies, whether we encounter them at work, school or on social media are only insecure individuals. They are so insecure that they need to pick on others, whom they consider weaker, to feel powerful and in control. The truth is, they are the weak ones because all they are doing is seeking attention and trying to be seen while making someone else’s life difficult. They often want us to fight back so they can bring us down even more. This is not how we should approach them.
Staying true to ourselves while dealing with someone difficult means standing in our power. Staying true to ourselves means not lowering ourselves to their standard. That’s what they want. Ignoring the person’s unnecessary comments where possible, minding our own business and not engaging in a conversation with them unless we have to is important. Someone like that doesn’t even deserve our response.
These days we can also encounter difficult people or bullies on social media. The best way when someone makes an unpleasant comment to your account or is rude is to ignore it or immediately block them off. These kinds of individuals don’t deserve your precious time and energy. What have they done for you, except making you feel uncomfortable? Block them!
When things get out of control, it is equally important not to suffer in silence. I was glad my student approach me and shared with me his concerns. I advised him, that if it gets worse, to definitely talk to his manager and raise his concerns. We spend so much of our time at work and if someone makes us feel uncomfortable there this creates lots of unnecessary stress and anxiety which we can be without. I also told him if this guy asks him why is he ignoring him to simply say: ‘Can I be honest with you? You are making me feel uncomfortable. Unless you have something important to say to me, which is work-related, please don’t say anything at all.’
The truth is, we are not going to get on with everybody in life and we shouldn’t even try. When I used to be bullied at school, I was trying to befriend these people and do things for them, just to create peace. It was 100% wrong and being untrue to myself. Well, I didn’t know any better, being only an innocent and a scared child. Remember, whoever has brought any kind of pain or discomfort into your life doesn’t deserve a place in your life.