Author Topic: How to politely handle a negative person  (Read 5377 times)

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scotcat60

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #15 on: November 22, 2012, 07:26:11 AM »
It sounds to me as if Jill had an issue with her husband before they even got to the restaurant, and was getting back at him by criticising the food, and sulking, in a sort of "now look what's happened. I told you I didn't want to do so and so. This wouldn't have happened if we hadn't come here" mood.

Giggity

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #16 on: November 22, 2012, 08:47:06 AM »
"Jill, why are you acting like this? Generally you have good sense."
Words mean things.

TootsNYC

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2012, 09:21:00 AM »
It sounds like they were both enjoying the opportunity to be mad.

The one thing you might have done (but i wouldn't have been fast enough on my feet to think of it!) is, when she said, the first time, "Oh, gross, I can't eat this!" is to say, "Oh, goodness, let's call the waiter over and discuss it with them!"

It might remind her that her audience is wider, and it has a bit of the "what are you going to do about it?" tactic to it (that's a great phrase to use for someone who's whining about their weight yet again).

Another good reflex to cultivate is that when other people get loud, you get soft. When they get rude, you get ultra-considerate. Sort of, role-model for them how it *ought* to go.

boxy

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2012, 11:27:42 AM »
OP here with comments to the comments and many thanks for the helpful hints and support:


Out of curiosity, what kind of food was it? It sounds amazing!

It was an upscale Mexican restaurant, think enchiladas meet coq au van (sp?), i.e., not your Grandma's tacos.  I mean the food really was interesting, different and fantastic. 


You say they are "new" friends.  Sounds like a really quick friendship from beginning to end!   ;D

Seriously, most of us go out with our adult friends to get away from our children for an evening, not to spend the evening with two great big giant new children! 

I have to say though, none of my KIDS would have ever even THOUGHT about behaving like that in a restaurant!   :o

Yeah, I cant' see this friendship maturing into anything meaningful.  You are SO right about the bolded. 


Well they sound like an ex-friend (or at least people to never eat with ever).

My suggestion is similiar to what I use when people make subtle racist comments. I would praise the food. I would praise the food to the skies.

"Really? That's too bad. I love this appetiser. The chicken is perfectly cooked, I love the spices and it goes so well with bread. I wish I could cook like this."

"What a shame you don't like your dish. Mine is FANTASTIC. It is creamy and perfectly seasoned and...(turn to your husband)...here dear, try a bite, isn't it amazing??"

I think this might have worked!  Jill is not unintelligent, she's just incredibly rude.  I suspect (based on her brazen and loud remarks) that she's gotten away with being rude for so long it's just second nature and no one ever steps up to say, "perhaps you might lower your voice a little" or something like that.  I'm thinking what you wrote above is very polite and I KNOW I would've felt comfortable saying it. 
« Last Edit: November 22, 2012, 11:29:39 AM by boxy »

MrsJWine

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2012, 11:35:17 AM »
"Can you stop? You're ruining the meal for everyone who thinks this is delicious."


I have a blog.  I hate that word.


Utah

boxy

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #20 on: November 22, 2012, 11:38:32 AM »
It sounds like they were both enjoying the opportunity to be mad.

The one thing you might have done (but i wouldn't have been fast enough on my feet to think of it!) is, when she said, the first time, "Oh, gross, I can't eat this!" is to say, "Oh, goodness, let's call the waiter over and discuss it with them!"

It might remind her that her audience is wider, and it has a bit of the "what are you going to do about it?" tactic to it (that's a great phrase to use for someone who's whining about their weight yet again).

Another good reflex to cultivate is that when other people get loud, you get soft. When they get rude, you get ultra-considerate. Sort of, role-model for them how it *ought* to go.

Toots - do you know Jill?  When she wasn't complaining about the food she was going on and ON about her weight!  I'd (successfully) blocked that from my memory but oh, man, it was hard to listen to her whine about it. 


Side story completely unrelated to Jill:   Years ago an acquaintance was speaking to my friend Bob and me about a mutual friend, Joe.  The acquaintance was saying that Joe was an idiot, a jerk, etc.  Bob saw Joe in the room, grabbed the acquaintance's arm, lead him to Joe and said, "Tell Joe what you just told me and boxy."  Gasp.  I thought that was a great way to stop a gossip in his tracks. 

O'Dell

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #21 on: November 22, 2012, 11:51:42 AM »
Well they sound like an ex-friend (or at least people to never eat with ever).

My suggestion is similiar to what I use when people make subtle racist comments. I would praise the food. I would praise the food to the skies.

"Really? That's too bad. I love this appetiser. The chicken is perfectly cooked, I love the spices and it goes so well with bread. I wish I could cook like this."

"What a shame you don't like your dish. Mine is FANTASTIC. It is creamy and perfectly seasoned and...(turn to your husband)...here dear, try a bite, isn't it amazing??"

You aren't going to get her to not be a jerk, but you can be a completely unreceptive audience.


This is what I do in similar situations. It works. (I also do it when someone tries to badmouth other people to me. Use this technique enough and people stop doing this around you completely.) :)

It sounds like they were both enjoying the opportunity to be mad.


This is at the root of it. Jill might be this way all the time or just that evening, but she was getting pleasure out of being mad and spewing it at others in some way. This was common wisdom when I worked on the frontlines in a big box store years ago. When a customer was aggressive in their rudeness or anger, we'd encourage each other to shrug it off because of this. Knowing this also stops you from taking it personally or seriously. It's likely that the restaurant owners/workers saw this in Jill too. They are professionals...they have had or will have to deal with a lot of Jills.
Do I contradict myself? Very well, then I contradict myself, I am large, I contain multitudes.
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Zilla

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #22 on: November 22, 2012, 12:07:32 PM »
Honestly, I would have left after her commenting on how gross it was so loudly.  I would say, "I have to go now. Goodbye"  And left to find the waitress, pay for your meal with apologies and leave.  Ignore them completely.  What an incredibly embarrassing and uncouth set of people ever to enter a public space and act like that. 

weeblewobble

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #23 on: November 22, 2012, 05:11:09 PM »
After the argument over ordering, Jill veered of the rude track and progressed to full-on public in-crazy-cation.  And frankly, I don't eat with people who openly insult the staff/kitchen crew in restaurants.  That's how unfortunate accidents befall your food.

I think you would have been fine asking the waitstaff to box up your orders to go and left the other couple at the table, with the explanation, "You're clearly out of sorts and not in the condition for eating out.  We'll see you some other time."

I'm glad your husband told the staff that you enjoyed the food.

Sharnita

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #24 on: November 22, 2012, 05:15:34 PM »
Did you all drive there together? I would have said "You are free to leave if you are not enjoying yourself."

Mikayla

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #25 on: November 23, 2012, 05:49:56 PM »
Recently we had a disastrous dinner at a restaurant with some new ex friends. 

Here, I fixed your first sentence for you  :o

It's really hard in the moment to know what to say, because you don't want to make an even bigger scene.  Something similar happened to me once at an ethnic restaurant in DC metro, and it was some friends of a co-worker he wanted me to meet.

They were like this the whole time, and what I did was just politely contradict them.  When we left, I went to the cashier/waitress, told her I thought the place was awesome and I intended to return, and I apologized for the boorish behavior of these other 2 people.  I wanted her to know I had never met them before.

Later,  my co-worker wanted to explain why they were acting like that, and I cut him off by saying I didn't care, and please don't ever subject me to that again.  I admit, I'm pretty hardcore on how people treat waiters and behave in restaurants, but that's not changing anytime soon.

rose red

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #26 on: November 23, 2012, 06:16:26 PM »
Jill went past negative, past rude, and right into nasty.  Rude is snapping fingers a the waiter or demanding an extra steak.  Her comments were evil. 

Saying anything else would just provoke her more.  The best thing is never seeing these people again.

boxy

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2012, 02:07:39 AM »
Jill went past negative, past rude, and right into nasty.  Rude is snapping fingers a the waiter or demanding an extra steak.  Her comments were evil. 

Saying anything else would just provoke her more.  The best thing is never seeing these people again.

Oh gosh, I'm SO glad she didn't stoop to snapping her fingers.  That's incredibly rude!  See?  She was only 99% rude, not 100%.



Mikayla - thank you for fixing the first sentence!   ;)

CreteGirl

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #28 on: November 29, 2012, 03:34:44 PM »
I am so puzzled as to why people behave like this.  As suggested above, I think they enjoy being mad, and all the attention it brings.

Auntie Mame

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Re: How to politely handle a negative person
« Reply #29 on: November 29, 2012, 03:56:29 PM »
And that's why you don't bring snakes to a restaurant *ducks and runs*
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