We do have choices. We just have to be brave enough to act upon them.

When people expose us, or others-in-our-company, to inappropriate behaviour that includes over-reacting, sulking, ranting, bullying, criticizing, belittling, ridiculing or any of many other demeaning styles, we do not have to tolerate it, or feel bad, or fidget, or hang our heads, or crawl within our shells, or in any way, accept it. Indeed, we have an obligation to ourselves and others to not ignore it. And to not accept it. If we are faced with unkind, unnecessary, unproductive and quite simply, unacceptable behaviour, we must stop tiptoeing around, and react. Pointe finale!

Unfortunately, too few of us have the courage or skills to always do what must be done in these circumstances. Nevertheless, these undisciplined people, dear to us or not, who don’t know how to behave, must be called out on their actions. When behaviour is unacceptable, and practiced regularly, the perpetrator is using a form of ransom. In effect, these “babies” are saying, “I am frustrated or angry or unhappy about something, and I have a child’s inability to handle the situation, so I have chosen to behave in an immature, inconsiderate way towards others. See, here I am doing it now, and what are you going to do about it? Nothing! So there!”

Although I certainly cannot claim mastery of the technique, I know that I can and must respond to the wrong-doer with honesty and confidence. I need to tell the person that I choose to not remain in her company when she acts this way. If I cannot leave, I must choose to not remain quiet during her rants, but instead tell her that her behaviour is wrong and that it makes me uncomfortable. It is not rude or uncivil to state my position, clearly, calmly and confidently. Indeed, I must not shy away from it.

But it does require decision-making, willingness to act and practised technique. I can only graduate with my degree in this field if I have the courage to act and perfect the skill.

What about you? Do you ever have challenges with people who regularly display unpleasant behaviour? What are your strategies? I’d like to hear how you deal with these situations.

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