Someone Being Mean? Pretty Sure They Don’t Even Know It?

by Reid on February 4, 2016

couple quarrelingWe all had someone that was mean to us, giving us advice on whatever, and they didn’t realize that they’re being mean…but they do come across sometimes very judgmental or harsh. Do you know how to deal with mean people, and with someone who doesn’t even realize they’re being mean?

Hear relationship expert Reid Mihalko from and Cathy Vartuli from talk about different ways to deal with men people.

Cathy: A while ago we did a couple of videos on how to deal with mean people. Someone wrote in and said, “How do you deal with someone who doesn’t even realize they’re being mean?” This is Reid Mihalko from

Reid: This is Cathy Vartuli from

Cathy: How would you deal with someone who probably doesn’t realize they’re being mean? I’ve had that at when people mean well and they’re giving me advice on whatever. How I’m walking, dressing, my weight, whatever, and they don’t realize they’re being mean but you come across sometimes is very judgmental or harsh.

Reid: Well, there’s the enlightened way to do this and the non-enlightened way. Would you like the non-enlightened way first?

Cathy: Yes, let’s start that way.

Reid: That’s when you’re like, “Thank you so much for that valuable feedback.” *cough* That’s what I would do.

Cathy: Yeah?

Reid: Yeah. But the other way is to basically … The more enlightened way is to actually not take it personally. Like to really be like “Thank you.” And just like don’t let whatever’s going on for them that they think they have to be in your business like in this situation and give you advice on your weight. Just don’t even take it personally. Now, if this is a person that mean something to you or-

Cathy: Or you have to work with them everyday.

Reid: You work with them on a day-to-day basis, I would actually use a difficult conversation formula. Again,, go into the search part, Difficult conversation. Basically, just be like, “Hey, there’s something I want to talk to you about. Here’s what I’m afraid is going to happen if we talk, if I tell you. Here’s what I’d like to have happen.” Here are all these good things that I’m going to say that are true for me about what I want to happen and, “Hey, when you offer me advice about my weight. It’s actually not cool to me, so in the future, please just don’t do that or ask if I’m up for feedback on my weight because that’s just not cool and I want to tell you because I’m going to start thinking bad things about you if I didn’t tell you.” This is where it’s always really useful, “And you deserve for me to be upfront and honest with you.”

Cathy: I find it also lands really well if you appreciate them because generally people in that situation are doing what they think is right and good. They’re trying to help and so, if you can appreciate them, “Yeah, I really appreciate that you care enough to share that.” Often they can hear you better because they’re not feeling misunderstood as much any way.

Reid: Yeah. You could also kick them in the shin and just call them a meany.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: That’s like the ultra unenlightened way of doing it. Don’t do … Don’t take that advice.

Cathy: Don’t follow that advice.

Reid: Probably the first bit of advice I gave you, you probably shouldn’t use that either. But most of this video is spot on.

Cathy: If you can be really specific with them, that can help, too. If they’re making jokes that occur as curdy-itful or cunning. If you can give them example when you said XYZ…because most people don’t even realize what they’re saying or how it might land on other people. If you can let them know ,that if you can give them specific examples of what they said, that can help them to tune in and maybe work with you on –

Reid: The other situation to…I mean, I would just add this. If there’s somebody who uses teasing as a means of bonding like maybe they grew up in that kind of family where it’s like police and cop humor or like Wallstreet ball-busting. If you’re going to tell them, which I think you should, be like, “Hey, the way that you tease me as a means of showing camaraderie, I actually want to ask you if you can make an adjustment. Could you tease me about how awesome I am.” Rather than … and just tell them because when you tease me about this, it’s actually not cool for me. I get that you’re a teaser, so I just want to redirect that and take a way for them to tease you that actually works well for you.” Now, they throw a hissy fit that you can’t take it then … This might be hard for some of you who are shy and even for those aren’t shy. You got to be like … “Listen, like what you’re doing now is intentionally being a dick, and that is really not cool with me.”

You might have to get a little firm, but you’re standing up for yourself and don’t let people walk over you. It’s okay. If you need some friends to back you up on this, then get some friends to cheer you on.

Have that difficult conversation. Well, give me the person’s phone number and I’ll call them and I’ll … I’ll come over there and kick them in the shins for you. I would tell…

Cathy: Yeah. If they do say something like you’re too sensitive or you’re over reacting, realize you get to feel the way you feel and how things land for you that’s true for you. You get to speak up about it. They don’t get to decide how it can settle in for you.

Reid: I think the difficult conversation thing in a nice up front trying to connect with them plea, not even a plea like “I’m weak,” but like, “Hey, heads up. The way that you that, that really doesn’t work for me.”

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: How can we create a win-win? Hopefully that’s going to work and I’m sorry if that doesn’t work for you and this advice get you into more hot water. But for a lot of people, this kind of advice works well. Most people actually aren’t out to be huge dicks in life, so good luck with this.

Cathy: Yeah.

Reid: Leave some comments. Let us know how this advice works for you. How it lands on you. We really do want to know.

Cathy: Yeah. Thanks for asking. We look forward to seeing you again.

Reid: Kick them in the shins.

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