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Nov 22, 2008

If I know a member of the KKK I’m unaware of it. And I don’t know any skinheads, Nazis or people who are members of any other hate group. But a person doesn’t have to be a card carrying member of a hate group in order to be hateful. I’d like to tell you that I don’t know many hateful people. Unfortunately, I know many hateful people. At work. In private life. Everywhere. Hateful people exist in all areas of life. All of us know them. I wonder if they know who they are. At work there are people, sometimes bosses - sometimes not, who are consistently hateful. They talk down to everybody. They’re self-absorbed. Often arrogant. Always toxic. All hateful people are self-centered and inconsiderate. These same behaviors are found elsewhere, everywhere. I suppose we experience more hateful people at work because we spend so much time there. Hateful behavior isn’t restricted to a single methodology. A person can act hateful by not talking or by talking excessively. A person can act hateful by ignoring you or by getting in your face. How do we deal with hateful behavior when it can be all over the board? Here’s what I’ve learned that works for me. It’s not exhaustive and I certainly need to learn a thing or two, but I’ve had the misfortune to experience lots of hateful behavior directed toward me and others. 1. Don’t take it personally. This isn’t easy. Some people are just hateful. Their hateful behavior has nothing to do with you. One of the worst things you can do is to start wondering what YOU did. Usually, nothing. Hateful people are hateful regardless of your actions. It is wise to steer clear of provoking them, but their poor behavior is their choice. 2. Be calm and quiet. Defensive outbursts serve no purpose. When you’re enduring hateful behavior just be quiet and remain calm. Breathe deeply. Focus on the person’s words, body language and anything else that can help you process information. Sometimes hateful behavior isn’t direct. It’s a tacky email, an end around tactic or some other behavior aimed at you indirectly. Don’t jump to action. Take your time to gather information and think. Calm minds think more clearly. 3. Be professional. Retaliation is the urge to fight or defend yourself. In sports we often see the person guilty of retaliation get caught while the initial offender goes unseen. It works that way in almost every area of life. Don’t do it. It empowers the hateful person. By achieving number one, not taking it personally, you can maintain a professional demeanor more easily. 4. Measure your response. When and if you do respond, make sure it’s very calculated. A well thought out reply or response is always better than some off the cuff remark. Think carefully and clearly about your response. Consider the risks and rewards of your response. Give serious consideration to using no response as your response. Weigh all your options carefully. 5. Let go. This may involve walking away for the moment. It may involve working toward the day when you can quit. It may involve simply making up your mind that the behavior isn’t your problem unless you make it your problem. Your problem is finding ways to cope or manage the ill behavior of somebody else. Do not let it affect the way you behave. Don’t go home and kick the dog. Don’t go home and yell at the kids. Don’t become hateful yourself. Read. Learn. Talk. Confide in somebody. Vent if you must, but watch your behavior. Behave in a way that builds pride, privately and publicly. Always take the high road.

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Posted: Saturday November 22, 2008, 8:29 am
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Tom M. (819)
Thursday February 26, 2009, 6:37 pm
Thanks Dianna,

This is good advice to use anywhere, even here on care2 where you can find bigots commenting in news posts looking for a response. It's best to ignore them.

As the saying goes, "Never argue with idiots. They drag you to their level and beat you with experience."

Peace, Tom.

Tracey Lawrence (269)
Friday April 17, 2009, 11:21 am
Intelligent commentary from a very nice Lady and useful advice. Thank you old friend for sharing your views. Everything fine for you and your Loves.

Catherine K. (0)
Wednesday August 5, 2009, 9:07 am
I came to this article at the perfect time. Thank you! I have had a woman on a message board verbally abuse me and say the meanest things to me and when I asked her why, since we've never met and she doesn't know me (also - I resisted my urge to be hostile and was kind in return, which is rare for me), she became even MORE hostile, jeering and saying things about my family that I won't repeat here. I have been praying for her to be surrounded by God's love and healed of her anger and hate but I have been so hurt and upset that I've allowed her words to sink in and I am so depressed right now, crying and wondering what I must have said inadvertently to make her feel that way towards me. But I see in your article not to do that. Maybe she is just going through a rough time in her own life. Thank you for your advice. I really need it right now. (I'm new to your site, too, because I was surfing for a website with caring people to counter this awful feeling, people who exude niceness and decency). :)

Author

Dianna Lynn Driskell
female , married
Cincinnati, OH, USA
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