(Grown-Up) Bullies Are Not Invited

Bullies are everywhere, but I am still surprised when I encounter one.

I was in a business meeting yesterday with 20 executives.  We were holding a strategic discussion, talking about the future of the company, analysing options that would have impacts of greater than $50 million.

In the middle of a discussion, one of the men turned to me and made a snarky comment about something a person on my team did that could have been handled better a few weeks ago.

He had an audience, he had a piece of information, he wanted to take a shot and I assume prove that he was smarter than everyone else.  The comment had nothing to do with the topic at hand and was a small matter in comparison to the ideas and solutions we were discussing.  Oh yeah, and I just met him that day.  I remarked calmly “Oh, I wasn’t aware our objectives today included taking shots at others.” and I turned away.

I got through the next 6 hours without any issue or interaction with him.  We then had a dinner for all the people who had participated in the meeting.

At the end of the night still not having talked to this person, he walked over to say good-bye to me and made the following remark “It was nice to meet you.  I’m really not as big of an asshole as you think I am”.  I gave a slight smile, shook his hand, and said calmly “I have no idea what you are talking about.”  And then turned back to the person I was speaking with and left him standing there.

Go bully someone else buddy.  I’m not afraid of you.


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17 Responses to (Grown-Up) Bullies Are Not Invited

  1. yellowcat says:

    What a great way to handle that situation!

  2. Expressmom says:

    11111 = That’s me sending you a virtual HIGH 5!

  3. Addy says:

    Good post here! I too have faced a fair share of bullies be it in college or work! However I say something sarcastic and hard-hitting that usually shuts them up for hours and they don’t mess with me after that!!!

    Best Wishes,

    • Hi Addy. The bullies are more prevalent in grown-up life than I would have believed. I’ve decided to think of him as goofball.

      I hope you aren’t dealing with any of them right now.

  4. Zahara says:

    If we all were as cool and collected when dealing with bullies, they would eventually all disappear for having been put in their place. Good work, WTM!
    On another wavelength, some people flirt in strangest ways….

    • Thanks zahara. I’m sure I was not so cool and collected dealing with these kind of people earlier in my career. I don’t know if bullies will ever disappear but they certainly become less effective when we don’t react.

  5. TheIdiotSpeaketh says:

    If only the idiot knew how lucky he is to still be walking! If he had known about your mastery of the Dark Arts of the Ninja…..and that you could have rendered him unconscious with a single well-placed flick of your fingertip….. the idiot would have kept his comments to himself. Good for you Gord! You kept your Superhero Ninja skills at bay! Have a great day! Next time you encounter this dude….flick him to death! 🙂

  6. I love how you handled this. Perfect! How do people not realize that no matter what the other person has done, they look like the bigger fools for behaving in such a rude manner.

    It’s definitely more prevalent when people are anonymous and posting comments online. I always cringe when someone gets sucked into a bitter, online exchange with some troll.

    • Hi Margaret. Thanks for the positive feedback. It was obvious this was a tactic of his to put people off guard and get the upper hand. I was proud I didn’t engage.

      I agree about the online presence that creates an environment for people to say things they normally would not. I’ll try to keep the troll image in mind for the next time I meet with this guy.

  7. I love the way you handled this, WTM. I’ve learned something. It’s important to be clear about what you stand for and even more, what you DON’T stand for. Thanks for this. K

    • Hi business addiction. I had so many things in my head to say to him but knew it would make me look as stupid as he did so came up with that one on the fly. I have learned to engage as little as possible with people like this.

  8. You will find people like that everywhere! We have a really BIG girl in my office, she has never done any harm to me, but she is incredibly bullish to so many people. Personally, i think she has insecurity issues and feels she needs to compensate. Sad, but there is always a bigger picture! Important to put people in their place when it happens though, part of the coaching process!

    • Hi bokkie. I agree, there are people like this everywhere. I have found the best approach with these people is to say as little as possible and even act like you can’t hear them. I worked with a person like this before and every time he talked rudely to me I would say “pardon?”. And then when he repeated it, I’d look quizzically at him and act like he had an accent I couldn’t understand! Tell your co-workers to try that one with the bully.

  9. huffygirl says:

    Sounds like your comeupance made him rethink his remark. Maybe he’ll think first next time 🙂

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