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The question I would like to discuss with you today is “Why is there a person as mean as him?”. This one is a tough one to answer, since as we all probably know, it is pretty difficult to isolate a single factor that causes the development of a spiteful behavior towards other people. In other words, answering this question is a bit like digging up a time capsule that has been hidden from decades ago in the ground. You have to do it one scoop at a time consistently to unveil every layer beneath it. Here are the multiple layers that you need to unveil, to finally discover the reason why someone acts in a certain behavior. And after that, perhaps, make some changes.

First thing first, we need to observe whether the behavior has a repeating pattern. I’m going to be completely honest with you; some people are mean only when they are triggered by certain situations, or by a certain type of people. So, before jumping into a complex and less realistic guess, try to consider the simple ones first. Is it just him, or is it… you? That seems harsh, yeah. How can we know that it’s not our fault? Try taking a closer look towards the person and how they interact, preferably in a social situation where you are not involved in the conversation or assuming a third party position. Examine how they interact with other people: how their overall demeanor is, their intonation, and how they react to a personal comment. If you pick up a similar pattern as to when they are interacting with you, then it probably has nothing to do with you. If not, then there is a good chance that you might be the reason. Maybe you said something that is just not acceptable for them. I’m not saying that it is definitely your fault – there is also a possibility that both of you are just different to one another. In that case, then there is no quick fix and you just have to start accepting your differences.

What happens if I do witness a pattern? You can then eliminate the possibility that you are the one causing it. So, what is wrong with this person? What made him this way? How can I help him be better? Or simply, how can I survive interacting with this person without making me feel bad? To answer that, we need to take a closer look into the human character. Everyone has a different mix of personality and character. Human’s character is like a software that keeps on updating. And just like a computer software, there will be periodical development of newer versions. This is usually developed based on internal and external findings, such as feature testing, consumers’ feedback, market progression, or demand changes. 

Character is also a product of both internal and external input. There is a popular opinion that says childhood experiences and family conditions put a large impact towards someone’s behavior, and that seems about right. Theoretically, if a kid was constantly exposed to mean behavior from his parents or close friends, and his internal processor – in this case, his mind – evaluated this as a normal thing to do, then there is a fair chance that he would have “updated” his character to include mean behavior. Instead, if his internal processor rejected this, then the development would have been hindered. Unfortunately for a kid, his brain might not be accustomed to a good filtering system yet. Heck, even some adults are not.

That being said, internal factors are the deciding ones. The good news is, these are relatively more controllable, compared to the external factors that we may only have a limited control of changing. So, here is a quick tip that I would like to share with you: everytime you encounter a fundamentally mean person, remember that it is hardly that person’s fault. Somewhere along his life, he might have encountered some external situations, and haven’t got the internal capacity to filter out the bad ones. That way, you can look past the hate, and only hate the behavior rather than the person. By acknowledging this, you will stop yourself from feeling bad, and let go of the burning urge to control the circumstances.

After that, if you are willing to, you can start to help this person to become better. How? Train his internal processor without him noticing. Bear with this person, and find ways to bring your relationship with him to a whole new level. A level where he is finally ready to consider what you have in mind and you can finally have an impact. Remember, he might not act like he accepts what you say, but you will know it when he finally shows an effort to change. 

So, are you ready to make a change? I would love to hear what you think! Shoot me an email at dannis@lifeforexperts.com. Or, connect with me through my website in LifeForExperts.com, my Twitter in @lifeforexperts, or my Instagram in @lifeforexpert without the letter “s” at the end.

Thank you for trusting Life For Experts. Never stop learning to become an expert in life. I’m Dannis, and I will see you next time. Bye!

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