How To Deal With Someone You Hate
“You know what really gets me?” my friend said. “I hate when people are wearing their wedding rings on the same finger.” (It was an old ring that I’d seen her wear before.) “They just look so stupid!” she continued. She went on to explain how she had been wearing two rings before her husband died and then took off his ring after he passed away. She said they looked like idiots. She hates looking at these people in public who have no sense of style or personal pride. So why does she do this? Because they make her feel bad about herself, for some reason. That’s all there is to it!
This post originally appeared on The Simple Dollar.
Do you ever find yourself hating someone because of something they’ve done? It might be a person you work with, a family member, a neighbor, a co-worker, even a friend. But if you’re honest, can you tell me why you hate them? Is it because they cut in line at the grocery store? Or maybe they didn’t tip well at dinner last night. Maybe they did something that made you mad at them. Do you want to punch them in the face right now?
If you answered yes to any of those questions, then consider yourself lucky. Most of us would love nothing more than to take our rage out on another human being. We’d love to slam down a cup of coffee, grab some ice cream, go outside, throw a ball through a window, whatever. The problem is we don’t often get that opportunity, which means we must channel our anger into other ways. And sometimes those ways aren’t pretty.
The fact that you’re reading this shows that you probably already realize this but haven’t yet taken action. If you’re one of those folks who actually goes ahead and punches someone in the face, please keep in mind that you should do everything possible to avoid doing so again. In addition, punching someone else isn’t going to solve anything.
So let’s talk about those things that drive us crazy, instead. Let’s talk about those things that make us angry enough to wish we could scream or cry or hit someone. This is important, because this anger isn’t always directed at someone we dislike or even dislike very much. Some times it’s directed at someone we truly admire.
Let me give you an example from my own life here. A few years ago I got a call from a former client asking me to help him move. He had recently moved from California back to Ohio and needed someone to help him pack up his belongings and transport them to his new home. I accepted the job without hesitation.
When I arrived at his house, however, I found that the man I was helping was having an affair. I knew almost immediately that I couldn’t continue working for him. The entire situation just wasn’t right. However, I also realized that I wouldn’t leave him alone if I walked out of that driveway. Not only that, I would likely end up following him around town in a way that would probably embarrass both of us as best as I could.
At that point, I decided that I was going to remain employed by him until he left. I was going to stay as long as it took. I was going to keep track of where he went and what he did. When he finally left, I would follow him and report back to my boss. My hope was that once he left, my boss would fire me. At least that would put an immediate stop to my unwanted presence.
Unfortunately, he never left. Instead, he eventually married the woman he cheated on me with. Once that happened, I stopped reporting to my boss. As far as I knew, he never fired me. In fact, he hired a full-time employee shortly thereafter to handle his day-to-day affairs. What I learned from this experience was that while I felt justified in my actions, I still hated what the guy had done.
And honestly, I think that’s perfectly normal. Sure, my reasons were selfish ones. I wanted to see him suffer, especially since I thought I deserved better. But none of that changes the fact that I hated him. I hated what he did to me. I hated the effect it had on my life. I hated the idea that he could do this to anyone else.
That’s why I try to keep my hatred of others to myself. And I’m sure many of you have similar feelings. There are plenty of people you detest in your life. You may despise the way they treat animals. You may loathe their habit of talking loudly on cell phones. You may despise the way they eat food. Whatever the case may be, keep your hatred to yourself.
Don’t share it with others. Don’t write it down anywhere. Just keep it inside of you, where it will fester and grow stronger over time. Eventually, you’ll come to loath that person even more.
But don’t worry too much about that part. Many people get past such feelings within weeks, months, sometimes even years. They come to accept the fact that the person is simply acting foolishly, not maliciously. They learn to tolerate the behavior rather than hate it.
Why? Because most of us live in a world where we need to deal with people every single day. We’re expected to interact with them. Sometimes we can change their behaviors. Other times we cannot. While it hurts us to watch, it doesn’t mean we have to join them.
Of course, if you encounter a person who really makes you want to lash out physically — perhaps you hate them because they cheated on their spouse, abused children, lied to their friends or colleagues, whatever — then you have to ask yourself if you’re willing to allow your hatred to control you. Are you willing to act on it?
If you answer no, then I encourage you to reconsider. Anger is a powerful emotion. It’s a natural response to many situations. But letting it control you is rarely healthy. Take a deep breath, step away from the situation, and remember that your emotions shouldn’t determine your decisions. Your goal should be to manage your reactions instead.
Most of the time, the best thing to do with someone you hate is to ignore that person completely. Find a place where you won’t see them. Don’t hang out with them. Don’t buy products from them. Don’t go to places that they frequent. Avoiding contact with someone like this will cause them to quickly become meaningless to you.
A final note: If you find yourself constantly dealing with someone you hate, consider changing jobs. Perhaps you could switch companies or industries. Or perhaps you could transfer to a different department or location. Either way, moving can help you escape their influence.
In short, hatred has its limits. Learn to manage yours.
Principles to Remember
1. Hatred is a destructive force. Hold onto it tightly and use it wisely.
2. Be careful about sharing your hatred with others. They will soon become meaningless.
3. Keep your hatred to yourself. Let it build until it consumes you. Then it becomes easy to forget.
4. Make sure you can walk away from a situation involving someone you hate. Otherwise, they will consume your thoughts.
5. Never act on your hatred, except in rare circumstances.
6. Acceptance is the key to overcoming hatred. Allow the hatred to pass.
7. Try to understand why someone acts the way they do. Chances are you’ll discover that it’s merely a weakness.
8. Sometimes the only solution is to change locations.
9. Remember that hatred has its limits. Learn to manage yours.
10. Finally, never waste a moment thinking about someone you hate. Think only of yourself.
Have you dealt with someone you hated? Tell us about it. Share your experiences in the comments section below.
Image remixed from ollyy (Shutterstock) and psdGraphics.
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