I've read tons of advice on the subject, which boils down to understanding their motivation and therefore not being offended by the modus operandi of the jackass. I can understand all day, but that doesn't make facing such a person any easier.

Admit it. There is stupidity, arrogance, and envy in the world, and some people operate from one or more of those almost exclusively. We all have to deal with those people to some degree. They may be coworkers, customers, even relatives. They may show up at your church, in your doctor's office, at your home.

Although opinions about who is insufferable vary, my least favorite people are arrogant and self-absorbed. Only their opinions matter, and they insist on sharing them with you, incessantly.

My defense mechanism is to flee. I find myself unwilling to make eye contact, keeping my responses to an absolute minimum, and getting away ASAP. Now here's the ironic part. I'm aware that such behavior convinces certain people that I am self-absorbed and arrogant, even rude. So guess what: I'm in all likelihood a person that someone else can't stand.

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Comment by Peg Herring on November 24, 2008 at 9:58pm
I guess everyone has a relative who thinks he/she can get away with insults by claiming honesty. They never seem to be able to take what they give, though, do they?
Comment by Dana King on November 22, 2008 at 4:36am
I don't advocate this for everyone, but I have my own interpretation of the Golden Rule. I always try to treat others as I would like to be treated myself. In fact, I think so highly of this principle, I consider it to be a settled fact, and I have enough confidence in my fellow man to presume he is doing the same. So, when I meet someone who comes across as an unbearable asshat, I have no recourse but to assume that how he wants me to treat him. Granted, I try to get away as often and quickly as I can, but when cornered...

Here's an example. My lovely Spousal Equivalent and I were meeting her brother for lunch last month. Unknown to us, he was there early and parked himself in the bar. We were waiting outside. He came out, saw us there, then came down to say hello. Apologized for not coming out sooner, but said he didn;t recognize the SE because she's gained so much weight.

He then went on to excuse this comment by saying he believed in being brutally honest all the time, even if it cost him friends.

I said, "I'm sure it does."

I'm not proud of that, but no harm done, and it sure felt good. Not as good as throwing him off the pier, but he hadn't given any indication he wanted to be thrown off the pier;all he asked for was honesty.

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