There are so many reasons why people can be cruel, unkind, and unfair. But when someone is mean to you for no reason, it can be hurtful.

If you’re struggling to understand why somebody might turn on you, let’s look at how to cope with this situation – and why, more often than not, it has nothing to do with you.

When Someone Is Mean to You for No Reason, It Could Be That…

They Didn’t Think

Very often, everyday acts of unkindness aren’t deliberate. We are all the center of the universe in which we exist, and periphery considerations like other people’s feelings can be forgotten.

Sometimes, a friend can make a throwaway comment that you find deeply hurtful – but they might be blissfully unaware that they have upset you.

They Want to Feel Accepted

This is a challenging concept, but sometimes being mean is deliberate, and is a conscious choice because it garners a greater sense of social inclusion.

Think about kids laughing at a homeless person, or a group of people picking on someone who looks a little different. Some people are unkind because they think it is funny, will amuse their friends, or include them in a social group.

They Are Covering Up Insecurities

We all know that bullies are often acting up as a way of lashing out in frustration or disguising their insecurities or anxieties. And this scenario is replicated in multiple situations.

Say somebody feels intimidated by you, whether because you are more competent than a colleague at work, they perceive you as more successful, or you’re wearing a prettier dress at a party. A quick way to try and mask their anxiety is to poke fun at you or to be dismissive in an attempt to shield themselves from the vulnerability they are feeling.

They Lack Social Skills

In much the same way that people can be thoughtless, not having the right social skills can mean appearing unkind, when quite the opposite is intended.

People who find it challenging to communicate clearly might appear to be ignoring you, or being unkind. But in reality, they may be struggling to say what they mean, or be unable to find the tone to contextualize their words.

Here Are Some of the Best Ways to Manage Someone Who Is Mean to You for No Reason

So now we know there are lots of reasons people can be mean to you for no reason at all. They might be doing it deliberately, they might have no idea, or it might be crossed wires and jumbled communications.

Your reaction and coping strategies for unprompted cruelty depend very much on the situation and the relationship dynamic between you and this person.

1. Combat negativity with positivity

It’s easy to say we should rise above, but the reality is that it takes exceptional emotional maturity to disregard unkind comments without them having any impact.

However, when someone is mean to you for no reason and you can’t understand the motives of their behavior, they may need a dose of positive mental attitude in their day.

It is hard for any person to be continually down on anyone who refuses to retreat to their level. If you can focus on your good vibes and positive thoughts, showing a bully that their words have no impact on you (at least, on the outside!) is a great way to shut them down fast.

2. Confront them

Another task that can feel challenging; but if someone is routinely unfair, they might genuinely not be aware of it, or need to be educated about why and how their actions are causing upset.

If you need to be in contact with somebody who seems to dislike you, or is often unpleasant, it can be worth asking for a quiet chat to ask whether you have done something to upset them.

The chances are they either had no idea or didn’t realize you were being affected by their actions. If they were, then at least you can either understand what has caused the tensions between you or decide that this person isn’t worth engaging with any further.

3. Don’t be reactionary

It is all too easy to combat adversity with anger, and frustration with annoyance. But by rising to the level of antagonism that you are facing, you create a perpetuating cycle of ill-feeling, which is unlikely to dissipate.

When someone is mean to you for no reason, they are probably coping with issues and challenges. If you can, try to focus on yourself, rather than what this person has said or done.

If you can rise above, walk away, or practice techniques to bring a sense of calm and friendship to a brittle relationship, you might just turn that tide into something more powerful.

4. Use coping mechanisms

You can use lots of techniques to diffuse a tense situation, either to bring levity to the atmosphere or to enable you to process the harsh treatment without letting it stick with you all day.

These include:

  • Laughing about it – a cruel word can hurt, but if you can turn it into a joke or find something funny in the situation, the tension is almost always diffused (and you come out of it the better person!).
  • Using deep breathing, or taking a walk to remove yourself from the situation to avoid being reactionary.
  • Focusing on your actions, thoughts, and words to concentrate on the positive and break away from the confrontation.
  • Listening – somebody who is unfair might be looking for attention, so if they have something to get off their chest, allowing them to do so might resolve the situation there and then.
  • Value your boundaries, and empower yourself to walk away from people and situations that bring you down.

Remember that you are only accountable for your own actions. When someone is mean to you for no reason at all, this behavior says much more about him or her than it does about you.

Take your time to find ways to control and cope with the situation, and decide how best to manage it should you wish to repair your relationship. If you decide someone is unkind intentionally and isn’t concerned about the ramifications, it may be time to move along.

References:

  1. https://www.wikihow.com
  2. https://www.psychologytoday.com
Lauren Edwards-Fowle, M.Sc., B.Sc.

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