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Dealing With "Annoying" People

BhikkhuJayasaraBhikkhuJayasara Bhikkhu Veteran
edited September 2016 in Buddhism Today

a short few minute excerpt from my Q&A a few days ago.

RichdawsonRuddyDuck9ShoshinBunksdhammachick

Comments

  • Retail workers really do get a raw deal when it comes to the attitudes they have to endure. I am always amazed when I see how rude some shoppers are to them.

    I have yet to interfere with a rude person. I do try and make it a point however to say something nice to the clerk when the rudeness leaves and offer a smile and just acknowledge them. Like..guess they were having a bad day, you handled that well. Always seems to help them shrug it off, or at least I hope it helps.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Actually, it WOULD help more if you intervened. I know that sounds confrontational, but as a Retail assistant it is comforting when others back you up, without an agenda.
    I have had situations where people have been unbelievably rude and condescending, and we have strict protocols to follow when dealing with such clients. When followed it means at least our job is safe...
    For my part - and I apologise, no offence meant - when the following client 'acknowledges' the incident, the first thought that goes through my head was "Oh that's helpful - Then why didn't you speak up?" it does diddly-squat for you to offer platitudes now the crappy customer has left. see, it doesn't remedy my behaviour, because I've behaved correctly anyway, and it doesn't remedy theirs because nobody else has pulled them up about it.

    There again, I realise it takes a certain character, and sometimes courage, to call someone out on their behaviour, and not everyone feels sufficiently confident to do that, which is probably why they speak supportively to me, rather than tackle the rude person....

    I just adopt the mind-set that they may have something really negative going on in their lives and that they're unhappy people Suffering Samsara....

  • @federica said:
    Actually, it WOULD help more if you intervened. I know that sounds confrontational, but as a Retail assistant it is comforting when others back you up, without an agenda.

    Okay, when you put it like that speaking up would be of more help. It makes sense, and I never really viewed it like that.

    For me it has never been a lack of courage. When I was younger, I was always the kid that would speak up for the other kid getting picked on. Sometimes it could get physical, not by my choice.

    When you step into a situation there is always a possibility of things escalating. Especially since I was not always a calm person, and I have never had a high tolerance for bullies. But that was when I was younger (not really a retail experience haha).

    As I got older I realized I couldn’t go around bopping people in the nose anymore. So I learned restraint on my part, preferring to not risk the chance of exasperating a situation. Maybe in part fearing that I could over react.

    However, it has been a long time since I have been in a situation where someone was being verbally or physically abused. I would like to think that I am much better equipped to handle something like this today if it were ever to come up again.

    No anger, just calm.

  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran

    It's interesting because we can be both the annoyer and the annoyed...( We have to see all sides)

    If "I" find another person annoying, what does this say about my own mental state ?

    And as you say @Jayantha, both the annoyer and the annoyed are experiencing Dukkha in one form or another,...... Metta all round is the way to go...

    Steve_Byagr
  • "Sh.t, that guy just cut me off. Okay - don't be angry. Don't be angry. May you be well X2.
    Angry mind .. not good. Calm, peace, metta. Wait a minute - another guy just cut me off!
    Okay - calm, peace."

    Sorry - that doesn't work for me.
    What works? The world has many foolish people. That is just the way it is. No need to get upset and take things personally. When anger arises, just watch and it will pass. Observe and don't engage.

    "Imagine you’re rowing a boat on a foggy lake, and out of the fog comes another boat that crashes into you! At first you’re angry at the fool who crashed into you — what was he thinking! You just painted the boat. But then you notice the boat is empty, and the anger leaves … you’ll have to repaint the boat, that’s all, and you just row around the empty boat. But if there were a person steering the boat, we’d be angry!

    Here’s the thing: the boat is always empty. Whenever we interact with other people who might “do something to us” (be rude, ignore us, be too demanding, break our favorite coffee cup, etc.), we’re bumping into an empty boat. We just think there’s some fool in that boat who should have known better, but really it’s just a boat bumping into us, no harm intended by the boat.

    That’s a hard lesson to learn, because we tend to imbue the actions of others with a story of their intentions, and how they should have acted instead. We think they’re out to get us, or they should base their lives around being considerate to us and not offending us. But really they’re just doing their thing, without bad intent, and the boat just happens to bump into us.

    When we see things with this lens, they suddenly become emptied of anger and stress. Our boss was rude? Empty boat, just respond appropriately, don’t imbue with a story. Kid throws a tantrum? Empty boat, just breathe and find the appropriate, non-angry response.

    This is detachment. It’s seeing the actions and words of others as just phenomena happening outside of us, like a leaf falling or the wind blowing. We don’t get angry at the wind for blowing, and yet the blowing does affect us. Let the actions of your kid be the wind blowing — you just need to find an appropriate response, rather than being stressed that this phenomenon is happening.

    Charlotte Beck

    Don't be annoyed at the C&P posting. =)

    Steve_BBexMBunks
  • lobsterlobster Veteran
    edited September 2016

    My teacher was a Pratyekabuddha and was superficially extremely annoying and difficult. What people invariably failed to be aware of in every day interactions, is the skilfulness being drawn out of them. They had to be patient, flexible in a way they initially found impossible, friendly and calmer than is natural, compassionate and understanding and so on. They were being helped altruisticaly towards nascent spiritual qualities such as the Brahmavihara that @Jayantha mentions in the video. This was occuring independently of their conscious awareness of this 'annoying' person.

    The only difference between the sleeping Buddha and the awakened is the awareness. If you are attentive to the needs of the Buddha in others, some of samsaras spell is broken ...

  • SpinyNormanSpinyNorman It's still all old bollocks Veteran

    I even annoy myself sometimes. Pah! :p

    lobsterShoshin
  • @SpinyNorman said:
    I even annoy myself sometimes. Pah! :p

    Beware karma!

    Despite the emptiness of our experience (allegedly) we are easily drawn into irritation, annoyance, vexation, road rage, fish strangling ... unskilful behavour ...

    The solution is developing friendliness and the other positive practices mentioned ...

  • @SpinyNorman said:
    I even annoy myself sometimes. Pah! :p

    Only you can annoy yourself. No one can do it for you.
    You have to do it yourself. Really! =)

    lobsternewlotus
  • Not expecting someone to be vocal of a certain way, can be a problem if you let what they say affect you.

    The Buddha gave a good antidote in this sutta. I think as Buddhists we have to keep up a lot of metta and equanimity, which can be a difficult thing to accomplish in a conventional world.

    I try to keep reminding myself that the laws of karma does not let the little things go unnoticed. Whatever it is that I cause, I have deal with the effects no matter how big or small. This is enough to help me deal with any person.

    Either forgive them, or just feel sorry them, as much as we feel for ourselves knowing that one day we are going to get older, fall ill, and eventually fade away.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    I never make any point of feeling sorry for myself. it is a fruitless ego-indulgence. I can have a good ol' moan now and then, but after that, it's over. Move on. Feeling sorry for yourself makes you forget the whole path.
    Let it go.

    Bunks
  • newlotusnewlotus Australia Explorer

    yeah.....retail assistants are a special breed. I worked at a super market for a few years while at uni. Argh.....it is trying with annoying people sometimes.

  • @newlotus said:
    yeah.....retail assistants are a special breed. I worked at a super market for a few years while at uni. Argh.....it is trying with annoying people sometimes.

    I was just thinking that perhaps those Clerks that are able to smile and be happy with every customer regardless of attitude might be on to something. Need to ask how they do it next time I come across one. Haha

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Pop on over any time, @Richdawson, I'd be glad to see you.... ;)

    yagrBunks
  • @federica said:
    I never make any point of feeling sorry for myself. it is a fruitless ego-indulgence. I can have a good ol' moan now and then, but after that, it's over. Move on. Feeling sorry for yourself makes you forget the whole path.
    Let it go.

    I meant to say compassion, but somehow "sorry" came out. Sometimes it does turn into sorry depending on how they are or what they did or said.

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Ah. Well. Compassion is an entirely different ball-game.
    When you feel compassion, you don't 'feel sorry' for people. You empathise and support them through Loving Kindness, but that's where one has to differentiate between Idiot and Wise Compassion.
    Sometimes, Wise Compassion means kicking people in the ass to get them to move in the right direction.

    Compassion for one's self, very often means doing the same!

    I take your point. ;)

    Bunkslobster
  • ShoshinShoshin No one in particular Nowhere Special Veteran
    edited September 2016

    @SpinyNorman said:
    I even annoy myself sometimes. Pah! :p

    " I'm annoyed !!! And I ought not be annoyed, but because I'm annoyed, I'm annoyed because I'm annoyed!"( which is quite annoying )
    Signed ~Annoy mous~ :winky:

    (A Buddhist dilemma facing many practitioners) :)

    Bunks
  • newlotusnewlotus Australia Explorer

    Richdawson - i had a little internal voice saying the negative things (grumbling) in my head rather than to the customer. LOL I was a teenager and very not following buddhism.

  • BexMBexM U.K. New

    @pegembara said:

    "Imagine you’re rowing a boat on a foggy lake, and out of the fog comes another boat that crashes into you! At first you’re angry at the fool who crashed into you — what was he thinking! You just painted the boat. But then you notice the boat is empty, and the anger leaves … you’ll have to repaint the boat, that’s all, and you just row around the empty boat. But if there were a person steering the boat, we’d be angry!

    Here’s the thing: the boat is always empty. Whenever we interact with other people who might “do something to us” (be rude, ignore us, be too demanding, break our favorite coffee cup, etc.), we’re bumping into an empty boat. We just think there’s some fool in that boat who should have known better, but really it’s just a boat bumping into us, no harm intended by the boat.

    That’s a hard lesson to learn, because we tend to imbue the actions of others with a story of their intentions, and how they should have acted instead. We think they’re out to get us, or they should base their lives around being considerate to us and not offending us. But really they’re just doing their thing, without bad intent, and the boat just happens to bump into us.

    When we see things with this lens, they suddenly become emptied of anger and stress. Our boss was rude? Empty boat, just respond appropriately, don’t imbue with a story. Kid throws a tantrum? Empty boat, just breathe and find the appropriate, non-angry response.

    >
    LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS THANK YOU

  • @federica said:
    Ah. Well. Compassion is an entirely different ball-game.
    When you feel compassion, you don't 'feel sorry' for people. You empathise and support them through Loving Kindness, but that's where one has to differentiate between Idiot and Wise Compassion.
    Sometimes, Wise Compassion means kicking people in the ass to get them to move in the right direction.

    Compassion for one's self, very often means doing the same!

    Exactly right.
    Buddhism lite as experienced in the New Agey, ultra-spiritual-iMeditation community is so prone to being 'nice and loving ... and have a flower' even when real compassion and real world situations requires grown up abilities not Trump 'Trust me I am a nice person' type spirituality unreal delusions of adequacy from incompetents and worse.

    Spirituality is for grown ups. Yes kindness according to our child like understanding but also mature looking in the mirror at dukkha, samsara and our impediments.

    It is important to judge 'tough love' with equinimity and genuine insight AND be motivated by compassion not egotism, angst, anger, personal mood etc.

    'Be kind' is universally good advice. Kindness like realisation has depths, levels and deepens ...

    Some of us [lobstor forlornly raises claw] :3 can be annoyingly hard on ourselves. Learn discernment, right awesomness (number nine on the 8 fold path) and ... be kind ...

    BexMfederica
  • Suiseki7Suiseki7 Pennsylvania, USA Explorer

    Look in the Mirror........

  • federicafederica seeker of the clear blue sky Its better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt Moderator

    Gorgeous!! :lol:

    lobsterSuiseki7
  • @Richdawson said:

    No anger, just calm.

    Sounds like a plan. A good plan. A Buddhist plan.

    For those of us on the uncalm side of being, anything and everything to deal with the most annoying person we can influence

    ourselves

    is a lifetime of practice.

    That is why retreats, cushion training, shrine building, walking meditation, yoga, studying dharma, listening to Bodhi Podcasts, chanting, being kind to fish animals etc will all have an effect on increasing our capacity to retain equinimity.

    We knew that right?

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