Rick Green – Founder of TotallyADD
I have been bullied as a kid, a lot, and an adult, more than I care to admit.
There’s rudeness, dismissal, or simply negating the other person that I find so common amongst adults. But I’ve got a few thoughts. (And yes, we should do a webinar about this in the new year.)
When I was younger the common belief was that bullies had self-esteem issues and felt bad about themselves. Then I remember reading about a groundbreaking study which showed that the opposite was true and the bullies thought they were better and other people ‘deserved’ to be bullies.
As an adult I’ve only once experienced a full blown meltdown and the person had Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Brutal. The garbage and accusations were mind boggling. The joke was, afterwards, I was able to list out this person’s main complaints, and in fact they all applied to them ten times more than to me.
It’s like having Miley Cyrus say you’re an attention seeker because you publicly stated you couldn’t watch her tweaking videos.
In some ways this event was so over the top it was easy to kind of see past it.
The subtler kind are people telling me their ‘beliefs’ as if it’s cut and dried facts. And they no better. Superior tone. Dismissive. Certain they are right.
And it can be about the economy, politics, religion, public personalities, money issues, and my favourite, comedy. I’ve had people who haven’t written comedy in years telling me the ‘rules’ or ‘here’s how comedy works’ or ‘here’s what a comedy show has to do.’ I’ve written 700 episodes of radio and television, and a LOT of live material, and I would never claim to know any rules, or know what you ‘must do.’
Heck, the Red Green Show broke every rule in the book, starting with a host who was older, had a beard, and spoke in a gravelly voice. Try selling someone on a show with zero women in the cast, a bunch of ugly guys, no real plot, a black and white silent comedy segment, poems, and campfire songs… and see how quickly you’re ushered out of the network executives office. Yet the show ran 15 seasons.
So I love @bigchi‘s suggestion to laugh at their comments. “If you say so,” with a skeptical smile works too. But remaining calm is the most powerful weapon. You set the tone.
How do you remain calm? The best strategy I have found is to consciously look at them, and not hear what they are saying, tune it out, and imagine it’s gibberish. Imagine it’s another language. And just look at them. Suddenly they look ridiculous, out of control, childish, even scared.
It’s amazing. It takes some practice, but focus on their mouth, their expression, how red they are, their breathing, and detach. Imagine you’re watching a movie. Be deadpan or perhaps even slightly interested and amused. Maybe a bit embarrassed for them. It’s amazing how the power shifts entirely to you.