If you’re like me you probably hear people say, “People are the worst!” or “People are just plain mean!” The reference here is to what our culture commonly refers to as “Karens.” Have you encountered one of these individuals? You don’t have to wonder if you’ve ever met one – you know! There’s not much of a conversation when speaking with a “Karen,” by the way, I don’t recall a male name equivalent to “Karen” but men can be just as frustrating. I say there’s not much of a conversation because the “Karens” we run into aren’t much for communicating, because they’re much more concerned about letting us know what they think and how they feel than listening to what we have to say. It’s frustrating because they claim to know all the facts, motives and outcomes.
If you haven’t encountered a full-blown “Karen” you may have encountered her little sister “Kristy.” Ok, so I made up that name. Let’s just say “Kristy’s” represent the difficult people in our life.
Whether we encounter a “Karen” or a “Kristy” how are we supposed to treat them? How should we respond to difficult people?
I suggest not joining in on their intense emotional confrontation. They bring raw emotion, usually based on misunderstanding and partial truth, assuming that a grave injustice has been acted out against them personally.
We should bring a calm stability and reason based upon the facts of the matter. We should also let them vent as we listen. This is where I say, “Easier said than done.” But by doing so, we are demonstrating that they matter and we care about what they are saying. This may or may not have a positive reaction. But, as I’ve told my kids years ago, “You can’t control the other person but you can control you.” Meaning, don’t stoop to their level, take the higher road.
Jesus speaks to how we should treat others. Most people have heard Jesus’ words before possibly without realizing He was the one who said them. We know it as the “Golden Rule.”
12 “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you. This is the essence of all that is taught in the law and the prophets.
Jesus makes this an active principle of life. Notice He begins with “Do.” It implies action in our behaviors. Basically, treat others the way you want to be treated; this is the “high road.” He doesn’t say treat others the way they are treating you. There’s the challenge isn’t it? We generally attempt to play nice unless others come at us unfairly. Yes, some rise above the pettiness and the verbal assaults better than others. Regardless, we are wise if we take Jesus’ challenge to heart, especially if we desire to please Him.
If you wish the difficult people treated you more with respect, understanding, calmness and a desire to truly communicate then that’s exactly how you should treat them regardless.
If you’re dealing with a “Karen” or a “Kristy” right now, I genuinely feel for you. In most cases it’s not personal, so don’t make it personal. If it is personal, endeavor to take the high road. Discipline yourself to not wallow in the mud with them. When you lay your head on the pillow at the end of the day you’ll sleep better.