We have all worked with Mean People. There are two types of Mean — Situationally Mean and Innately Mean. The Situationally Mean are mean by choice; you ask them to be kinder and they change their behavior and become a regular human being. On the other hand, the Innately Mean are incapable of being kinder even if you ask them to change their behavior. I am more forgiving of the Innately Mean because they cannot help they were born that way; while the Situationally Mean are able to be kind but actively choose to be Mean. Making Mean the purpose of your day is unforgivable.

43 Comments

  1. Jerry stays nice for the rest of the meeting. It’s like he gets off on hurting someone and once he does that he gets his mean fix for the day I guess. I have tried to talk to Jerry about this and he says he has no idea what I’m talking about and then the next meeting he goes after me with a “just joking” slam.

  2. No one wants to touch Jerry so no we all leave him alone because we just want to get the work done fast as possible and letting Jerry get under your skin only makes the misery go on longer. Jerry is talented. He has good ideas. I guess he can’t get them out until he takes a shot at somebody first.

  3. No one wants to touch Jerry so no we all leave him alone because we just want to get the work done fast as possible and letting Jerry get under your skin only makes the misery go on longer. Jerry is talented. He has good ideas. I guess he can’t get them out until he takes a shot at somebody first.

  4. I think he probably does bring us together and that’s sad to me. It’s too bad he has to choose to be mean to bring together a group. If he tried to be nicer we’d get done faster because we wouldn’t have to waste so much time recovering from his negativity.

  5. Probably, being situationally mean is an attitude, it can be a defense mechanism too. But one thing is universally true – deep down there is some kind of complex the person is suffering from.

  6. Probably, being situationally mean is an attitude, it can be a defense mechanism too. But one thing is universally true – deep down there is some kind of complex the person is suffering from.

  7. You are quite right, Katha!
    The Situationally Mean bring a cruelty and an attitude and their intention is to kill kindness and good intentions. You are right the person suffers — more so than the Innately Mean, I think, because they actively choose to hide their kindness.

  8. You are quite right, Katha!
    The Situationally Mean bring a cruelty and an attitude and their intention is to kill kindness and good intentions. You are right the person suffers — more so than the Innately Mean, I think, because they actively choose to hide their kindness.

  9. I’ve run into Innately and Situationally Mean people at times during my life. I try to avoid them, if I don’t have any leverage in dealing with them, since they radiate negative energy.
    It’s interesting if you have leverage — it might not make the mean person nicer, but sometimes they hold their tongues and try to act cordial. I guess it’s a way to see if the person is just Situationally Mean, as opposed to Innately Mean.
    I used to have an aunt who was Innately Mean to everyone in the family. I wasn’t upset when she left the family via a divorce — I don’t know how my uncle put up with all of the negativity for all of those years. A few minutes at family gatherings was enough for me.
    She was always yelling at people, including her kids. Nobody could do anything right. Everyone was stupid, etc. I don’t know if she was nice at one point and grew into the Innately Mean person, but all the time I knew her growing up, she was someone nobody wanted to be around.
    In many ways, the Mean people marginalize themselves. No one wants to be around them. In the business world, alliances seem to form to counter the effects of the Mean vs. the regular-tempered employees. The person who is alway “breaking balls” seems to end up being the victim of what he thinks makes him successful.
    I’ve found that a relaxed personality seems to disarm most Mean or agressive people. I took it as a compliment when a Mean person said talking to me was like talking to a “brick wall” because I gently, but firmly, resisted the temptation to respond to his meanness in kind. I ended up with the result I wanted, the Mean person wasted a lot of energy, and niceness prevailed over meanness. It’s always a better position to come armed with the power of niceness, rather than the darkness of meanness. I’ve had the same thing happen when I was younger and dating — sometimes Mean girls just needed to feel that someone cared about them and who wouldn’t put up with their meanness.
    If you know someone is always a Mean person, it diminishes their power since they are always Mean.
    If a usually nice person launches into some sort of tirade, it would get my attention more than the ubiquitous Mean person.

  10. I’ve run into Innately and Situationally Mean people at times during my life. I try to avoid them, if I don’t have any leverage in dealing with them, since they radiate negative energy.
    It’s interesting if you have leverage — it might not make the mean person nicer, but sometimes they hold their tongues and try to act cordial. I guess it’s a way to see if the person is just Situationally Mean, as opposed to Innately Mean.
    I used to have an aunt who was Innately Mean to everyone in the family. I wasn’t upset when she left the family via a divorce — I don’t know how my uncle put up with all of the negativity for all of those years. A few minutes at family gatherings was enough for me.
    She was always yelling at people, including her kids. Nobody could do anything right. Everyone was stupid, etc. I don’t know if she was nice at one point and grew into the Innately Mean person, but all the time I knew her growing up, she was someone nobody wanted to be around.
    In many ways, the Mean people marginalize themselves. No one wants to be around them. In the business world, alliances seem to form to counter the effects of the Mean vs. the regular-tempered employees. The person who is alway “breaking balls” seems to end up being the victim of what he thinks makes him successful.
    I’ve found that a relaxed personality seems to disarm most Mean or agressive people. I took it as a compliment when a Mean person said talking to me was like talking to a “brick wall” because I gently, but firmly, resisted the temptation to respond to his meanness in kind. I ended up with the result I wanted, the Mean person wasted a lot of energy, and niceness prevailed over meanness. It’s always a better position to come armed with the power of niceness, rather than the darkness of meanness. I’ve had the same thing happen when I was younger and dating — sometimes Mean girls just needed to feel that someone cared about them and who wouldn’t put up with their meanness.
    If you know someone is always a Mean person, it diminishes their power since they are always Mean.
    If a usually nice person launches into some sort of tirade, it would get my attention more than the ubiquitous Mean person.

  11. Hello Robin!
    You are still getting caught in moderation for some reason. Something burped a while back and didn’t get correctly reset. You are now, as far as I can see, out of moderation — everything looks like it saved this time — so you should not get caught in moderation any longer.
    Situational Meanness is a reaction from being bored and having low self-esteem. Mean people love dragging down others to their level of cruelty because it cheapens the experience for all involved. I find that telling mean people to stop being mean and join us in the task at hand confronts the behavior while not rejecting the person – it works well on the Situational Meanies – the Innate Meanies have no idea what I’m talking about when I say that to them and that kind of self-absorbtion is helpful and telling.

  12. Hello Robin!
    You are still getting caught in moderation for some reason. Something burped a while back and didn’t get correctly reset. You are now, as far as I can see, out of moderation — everything looks like it saved this time — so you should not get caught in moderation any longer.
    Situational Meanness is a reaction from being bored and having low self-esteem. Mean people love dragging down others to their level of cruelty because it cheapens the experience for all involved. I find that telling mean people to stop being mean and join us in the task at hand confronts the behavior while not rejecting the person – it works well on the Situational Meanies – the Innate Meanies have no idea what I’m talking about when I say that to them and that kind of self-absorbtion is helpful and telling.

  13. I don’t mind being in moderation, I just HAD to speak up on this since it’s become such a huge part of my life. I”ve been stalked (threatening to kill me) and I’ve just been bullied. My boyfriend doesn’t understand why it happens as much to me as it does but somehow it just keeps happening to me. Just recently a woman from a support forum I help run lashed out at me in an awful way and it still stings. Looking back I think she was jealous and angry because she saw me as a younger version of herself with more opportunity than her. We both have ADD, low self-esteem, weight problems and men that have children with other women…I think whenever I talked about my problems it upset her because I had more opportunity to change things than she did. Either way I’m just glad I’ve grown up enough to handle this kind of thing better than I used to…which was run away and cry.
    Anyway I’ve encountered both kinds but I’ve never been very good at getting any of them to back off.

  14. I don’t mind being in moderation, I just HAD to speak up on this since it’s become such a huge part of my life. I”ve been stalked (threatening to kill me) and I’ve just been bullied. My boyfriend doesn’t understand why it happens as much to me as it does but somehow it just keeps happening to me. Just recently a woman from a support forum I help run lashed out at me in an awful way and it still stings. Looking back I think she was jealous and angry because she saw me as a younger version of herself with more opportunity than her. We both have ADD, low self-esteem, weight problems and men that have children with other women…I think whenever I talked about my problems it upset her because I had more opportunity to change things than she did. Either way I’m just glad I’ve grown up enough to handle this kind of thing better than I used to…which was run away and cry.
    Anyway I’ve encountered both kinds but I’ve never been very good at getting any of them to back off.

  15. Hey Chris!
    It is unfortunate when you meet Innately Mean people. I run from them if it is at all possible. I can’t abide being yelled at and, as you so rightly suggest, the energy they give off is unbearable to me.
    I do feel for them because they have no way out of their genetic prison, but I don’t want to try to pep them up enough to get good work out of them. When you’re stuck with them in class or in a power position above, I do my best to ignore their jagged energy and if I cannot avoid them I usually just take the shortest path that gets me to agreeing them with or, in their mind, agreeing with them.
    You so right when you say good people turning mean is more alarming than dealing with the predictably mean.

  16. Hey Chris!
    It is unfortunate when you meet Innately Mean people. I run from them if it is at all possible. I can’t abide being yelled at and, as you so rightly suggest, the energy they give off is unbearable to me.
    I do feel for them because they have no way out of their genetic prison, but I don’t want to try to pep them up enough to get good work out of them. When you’re stuck with them in class or in a power position above, I do my best to ignore their jagged energy and if I cannot avoid them I usually just take the shortest path that gets me to agreeing them with or, in their mind, agreeing with them.
    You so right when you say good people turning mean is more alarming than dealing with the predictably mean.

  17. Robin —
    Mean people are drawn to good people like magnets — they cannot bear to witness what they can never become so they try to mean you down to their level. If you can’t become a brick wall as Chris suggests, try making yourself invisible and emotionally unavailable. I have no interest in going head-on with an Innate Meanie — I have better things to do with my time than be the brick wall they try to bang their head against.
    😀

  18. Robin —
    Mean people are drawn to good people like magnets — they cannot bear to witness what they can never become so they try to mean you down to their level. If you can’t become a brick wall as Chris suggests, try making yourself invisible and emotionally unavailable. I have no interest in going head-on with an Innate Meanie — I have better things to do with my time than be the brick wall they try to bang their head against.
    😀

  19. Yeah I’m getting to notice that, I must have a sign on my head “Easy to Bully” but I’ve grown a thicker skin over the years. I’ve always been an open book and that leaves me open to have people attack me. I suppose I need to learn to hold back more, whick I’ve been doing lately.

  20. Yeah I’m getting to notice that, I must have a sign on my head “Easy to Bully” but I’ve grown a thicker skin over the years. I’ve always been an open book and that leaves me open to have people attack me. I suppose I need to learn to hold back more, whick I’ve been doing lately.

  21. Yes, the less people know about you — and who don’t really care about you — the less they can try to directly touch your sensitive spots. You can be friendly and warm without being completely open. Some people find that kind of friendly and sunny, but superficial, relationship a refreshing change from the ordinary doom and gloom of their lives.

  22. Yes, the less people know about you — and who don’t really care about you — the less they can try to directly touch your sensitive spots. You can be friendly and warm without being completely open. Some people find that kind of friendly and sunny, but superficial, relationship a refreshing change from the ordinary doom and gloom of their lives.

  23. Some people are predators, much like dogs. If they know you are afraid of them, then they seem to be attracted. The Mean People seem to fit into this category. They like to bark at the people they know will jump. If you don’t jump at a Mean person’s bark, then they lose their power.
    Robin, I like David’s idea of holding back information. Be friendly and sunny, but ask questions of others and let them talk about themselves, rather than you offering information right away. People always like to talk about themselves anyway, so it gives you a good opportunity to get to know what they are about. It also insulates you from opportunists who might seize upon something from your life to attack. Usually, you can tell who is Mean fairly quickly by observation.
    A little mystery is always important in any type of relationship.
    People will learn enough about you over time as they get to know you. Also, people have a tendency to always assume the best of people that they don’t know much about, especially if you’ve made a good first impression. Not revealing everything at the very beginning helps foster that feeling for a longer period of time while they are getting to know more about you.

  24. When it’s on a support forum it’s tough but it’s true…I should hold back. Problem is I’m there for help for stuff I know nothing about…mainly step parenting stuff…child custody. Anyway, I came to find out the woman wanted the attention I had so I let her. I still think she should have appolized for how she acted but it’s alright. I’ve always been an open book and either people really like that about me or the opposite.

  25. Unfortunately, the Internet is providing a whole new way to be mean and to bully others. I’ve heard about teenagers who’ve been bullied through Internet rumors and such. I’m so glad those years are behind me.
    I had the low self-esteem as a kid, stemming mainly from being overweight, and I was targeted quite a bit. Luckily, I did have a few friends and a loving family as a rock so I came through it all relatively okay.
    But you couldn’t pay me enough money to go back and live through it again!

  26. Unfortunately, the Internet is providing a whole new way to be mean and to bully others. I’ve heard about teenagers who’ve been bullied through Internet rumors and such. I’m so glad those years are behind me.
    I had the low self-esteem as a kid, stemming mainly from being overweight, and I was targeted quite a bit. Luckily, I did have a few friends and a loving family as a rock so I came through it all relatively okay.
    But you couldn’t pay me enough money to go back and live through it again!

  27. I know for a fact, all Mean people hate to be ignored. So that’s always a person’s best defense against any Mean person. I think you should NOT counter the Mean person with an attack, the “cold shoulder” works best.

  28. I know for a fact, all Mean people hate to be ignored. So that’s always a person’s best defense against any Mean person. I think you should NOT counter the Mean person with an attack, the “cold shoulder” works best.