How To Keep Your Cool Around Mean People

keeping cool around mean people

The Mind Loops Blog – Oct 2020

People can be mean. That’s it. That’s the tweet.

People will be bullies to your face, and behind your back. They’ll be bullies to people they’ve never even met before. Have you ever read the comment section on a YouTube video? The bravery people have with anonymity is astounding.

If someone has that mean-streak, they’ll choose any avenue to unleash their toxicity – because all they need is someone on the receiving end of their hate. Sometimes, unfortunately, that “someone” is you.

Can we just avoid them? Oh, how I wish we could. Imagine having a little detector in your mind that beeped when you approached a mean person – so you could drop everything and run the opposite way. You’d be doing a lot of cardio, that’s for sure.

Unfortunately, it’s impossible to escape all mean people. You’ll run into one eventually – whether it’s your hard-ass boss, nasty co-worker, so-called “friend,” crabby family member, or total stranger (live or troll).

So what do you do when you encounter a mean person? Here are 3 tips to help you keep your cool:

1. Remember that their meanness is a reflection of themselves and their deep-rooted Mind Loops; it’s not about you.

Instead of productively dealing with their own hurt and struggle, mean people deflect by unleashing their negative Mind Loops onto others. It’s a coping mechanism. Not a good one, but one all the same.

Negative “Mind Loops” are thoughts that play over and over in the privacy of our own heads. They come in flavors of: worry, shame, guilt, fear, resentment, jealousy, self-doubt, self-criticism, etc. Mind Loops are based on our childhood “programming,” and very often are unconscious – meaning, we are often not even aware we’re thinking these things. 

Mean people are “superspreaders” of their own abundant, negative Mind Loops. Their inner thoughts are rampant with self-hate, fear, anger, “the unfairness of life,” blame, judgments, and self-criticism. A cheap way to feel power is to bully another person, knock ’em down a notch, take ’em off their high horse; to create misery in another to match what they’re feeling inside their minds and hearts.

Despite knowing this, it is completely normal and understandable for you to feel some degree of pain and humiliation from the mean person’s words or actions. Which is why #2 (below) is so important.

It’s also important to remain mindful of our own reactions. Otherwise, the pain we feel can cause us to lash out and become mean ourselves. It’s up to us (the more mature ones here) to stop that toxic cycle. The last thing any of us need is regret about something we said or did.

2. Be kind to yourself, and practice self-care.

What the person said is not a reflection of you – so don’t let their words and energy seep into you. Unkind words and criticisms can easily trigger our own hidden Mind Loops of self-doubt, self-criticism, anxiety of not being enough, jealousy, fear of failure, and all the rest. 

If you feel yourself getting triggered, become aware of where you’re placing your focus and attention. If you notice you keep replaying the bad incident, or an old memory that was aroused by the mean person’s actions, feel whatever you need to feel, but don’t linger there, ruminating on the negativity.

Do whatever it takes to shift your focus onto things that uplift and enliven you. Whether that means getting into nature (even just into fresh air for a walk), calling a friend, listening to your favorite music, deep breathing, praying, watching a funny animal video on YouTube… Whatever it takes to interrupt the downward spiral.

Mean people are energy vampires, and they feed on taking away your power, focus, kindness, and positive energy. Notice they are doing this! Don’t allow them to feed off of you. We all have a lot more interesting things to do with our energy than hand it over to someone undeserving.

3. Remove yourself from the situation as quickly as possible.

The more time you spend with the mean person, the more opportunity they have to deflate your confidence, energy, and power. Keep your communication with them short, but cordial. Your aim is to leave the conversation or situation as quickly as possible.

Even when not in their presence however, the mean person can still “be with you” – when you replay in your mind the cruel phrases they said, or envision scenes where they deliberately worked to trigger jealousy or cut your confidence. Those “replays” can turn into Mind Loops of your own – and they will bring you down just as easily as being in the room with the mean person. De-loop those thoughts ASAP. Stop the downward momentum.

(Check out my book How To Stop Negative Thoughts for specific steps to de-loop. And/or get the “10 Ways To Stop Negative Thinking” for free here).

Mean people exist, and they’re unavoidable. What’s the saying? “If I had a dollar for every mean remark I’ve come across, I’d be living in a mansion on a tropical beach somewhere”? Pretty sure it goes something like that. So treat yourself (as well as others) with as much kindness and compassion as you can. Because we could all use a little more kindness right now.

To your happiness,


Barbara Ireland
Author of the #1 Amazon Kindle Bestseller, How To Stop Negative Thoughts
Contributing author of the #1 Amazon Bestseller, The Transformative Power of Near-Death Experiences

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