The worst kind of people

Every now and again I encounter (or am forced to deal with) people who I regard as having no real sense of common decency. What I’m referring to are people who are selfish, rude, arrogant, opinionated, and don’t take heed of other people’s views (to name but a few of the characteristics of the type of people I would typically despise). I work in academia, which has a reasonable number of fairly arrogant, self-centered people, but I’m sure they can be encountered anywhere.

I typically encounter these people in meetings or via email exchanges amongst a group who are trying to deal with some issue. The problem I have is I hate letting them get away with expressing some opinion or view that is – in my opinion at least – objectionable. I will challenge them and will try to do so politely (although I don’t always hide my disdain particularly well) and in a manner that is as logical as I can be. I will sometimes even acknowledge when it turns out that the view they’ve expressed has some merit. The reverse rarely happens though. What I’ve noticed, however, is that I’m often alone in doing so. When I discuss the situation with others, their view is often (if not always) consistent with mine, but they can’t bring themselves to get involved as it’s just too much effort and, often, too stressful. One person I spoke with recently was so upset after a meeting they seemed to be suggesting that they would rather not go to such meetings in future.

I’m starting to have some sympathy with this, as I came home on Friday with a headache that really hasn’t gone away and I think it is largely because of a series of email exchanges I had with one of these people that, although not explicitly unpleasant, was fairly annoying. My solution in future is, potentially, to avoid such confrontations. I could easily do so, as everyone else seems to do this without any problems. The issue, however, is that these people will then get away with this type of behaviour and will, in some cases, actually negatively influence what we are doing. I also hate the idea that such people are able to progress simply because any form of interaction with them is so unpleasant that many just won’t bother. I suspect that I will not be able to avoid interacting as I think I will find it difficult to stand back and let them get away with poor behaviour. I just sometimes wish others would do the same. If enough did so, we would probably improve our working environment substantially.

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2 thoughts on “The worst kind of people

  1. I read your post with immense interest. Such interest in fact, that I reread it. I have no idea who you are, and frankly, your blog does not entice me to look you up. However, having read your blog and taken the time to digest it, hopefully with an open mind, I can only comment that you demonstrate the most appalling arrogance yourself. It appears that in your arrogance, you also do not consider such things as freedom of speech or opinion. Your first paragraph seems to be a perfect description of not only your own arrogance, but your failures in personality. I quote Voltaire in saying ” I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.” Unfortunately, you seem ( particularly claiming to be from a background of academia ) to deliberately ignore such niceties?
    Furthermore, and I will not list them all, but as an example referring to anyone as ” these people ” is more of a comment on how arrogant and offensive you are. This is compounded by the fact that you appear to badger others to agree with your point of view. I think from what you say, most people are only humouring you, and an open consideration on your part might make you consider that YOU are more likely the person being talked about after such occurrences, No?

    • I wrote this as a response to a particular event, but didn’t wish to make that obvious just in case the person with whom I had the discussion, by chance, encountered this post. I must admit that I’m not quite sure how you’ve reached your conclusions about me. I have no idea why you think I’m trying to force people to agree with me or why you’ve concluded that I’m trying to stop freedom of speech. This post was really about an encounter that was unpleasant and rude, rather than simply being about an encounter in which I disagreed with someone’s else’s views. Of course I’m more than willing to consider the possibility that I may be the one being talked about in such circumstances. It may even be the case. I, however, write this blog so am writing what I think, rather than what I think others might be thinking.

      I’ve got to say that given that this post is about dealing with unpleasant and rude individuals, your comment has provided an excellent example of what this post was about. Thank you.

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