Disrespect is an attitude

Attitude towards disrespectful people

02/20/2019 by: Michael Blochberger

Melanie complains that she is being bullied more and more often by young people. Anne doesn't know how to keep her pushy boss at a distance. And Wolfgang is looking for a clear point of view against aggressive AfD supporters in his environment. How should we behave towards disrespectful people if we don't want to provoke a conflict but also don't want to give in?

More and more often we meet disrespectful people whose behavior we do not want to tolerate. But if we defend ourselves against the improper behavior of others, we have to fear an open conflict or accept personal disadvantages. Isn't it obvious to avoid the situation, to give in or to pretend we haven't noticed anything?

At first glance this seems the most convenient way, but in retrospect it often leaves a bad aftertaste: If we don't defend ourselves, we strengthen the other side and make ourselves losers. Therefore we have to set limits to the simple and ruthless minds if we want to live according to our values ​​and needs in the future. Looking away has never been a solution. What can develop when the moral courage is lacking to put a stop to anti-social behavior, we can read up in history books.

Every day we face the challenge of deciding: Are we going into conflict? Are we looking away? Can we find a way in between?

When things get serious

When disrespectful people seriously endanger your health and well-being - your job, your health, your family - you can't look the other way. Then it is necessary to look for a discussion in order to develop solutions and regain security. This requires courage and good preparation in order not to lose your composure (if it comes to an argument) and endanger the (possibly existential) relationship. In such cases, avoid blaming the other person. Rather, talk about your feelings, needs, and fears. Would you like to behave differently instead of making demands.

In conflict discussions, your attitude and your choice of words determine the success. This works best with nonviolent communication (GfK) according to Marshall Rosenberg. You can find detailed instructions in this book or you can practice it in training. If you are not confident enough to do this on your own, get help to prepare it professionally, in an emergency, a mediator.

In all other cases, if you are bothered by the disrespectful behavior of others, but it does not seem threatening, the best thing to do is not to take it so seriously: do not allow yourself to be provoked! Do not feel attacked! Stand above it all! But don't look away either! The easiest way to do this is with humor.

Set limits with humor

Laughter is one of the most successful communication techniques in the world. Socially acceptable coexistence would hardly be possible without laughing. It makes people personable, creates friendships, is contagious, helps to resolve conflicts and avoid anger. Laughter is a social glue for many life situations, provided you know how to hit the right note. You should also be aware of the subtle differences in laughing and your attitude towards other people, because it makes a difference whether you have a conflict with a friend, a stranger or your boss. While your friend is used to your irony, your manager may misunderstand that.

Humorous interaction between people is therefore a game with situation and status. Make fun of your counterpart, you are in high status and try to make the other person feel insecure or to point out their limits. If he accepts your status you have won - if he feels humiliated, he will strike back. Jokes, irony, cynicism are subtle forms of aggression, attacks out of a (feigned) superiority with the aim of getting the laughs on your side. This technique is suitable for shaking people up, motivating them and making a difference. But the more critical and dangerous a situation is, the more advisable it is to avoid high status, because whoever believes in power does not accept anyone above himself.

Comedy as an offer of peace

If you yourself are the cause of a conflict, for example because you have made a serious mistake or you are threatened by a violent group, then it is advisable to go into the low status and "ask for forgiveness". The role of comedian or clown is well suited for this. Hardly any words are needed, because comedy lives from body language: an exaggerated gesture, a "suffering mine" or a childishly naive posture takes the aggression of others to the limit, the exaggerated humility makes them laugh. The comedian thus evades responsibility and receives a certain "fool's freedom" in return.

With comedy, defeats and hopeless situations are easier to cope with. The fool accepts his inferiority, draws strength from it and gains influence over all those he can make laugh. But he should avoid becoming dependent on this role, because the eternal "class clown" will no longer be taken seriously at some point. So we mustn't stay in one status, but rather internalize the interplay between wit and comedy.

Humor lives from love

Those who can switch between high and low status can also find a humorous attitude and overcome their status thinking in humor. Real humor is free from aggression, arrogance and power games. Humorous people meet others at eye level and are guided by love. Because he accepts his own inadequacy, he can also lovingly respond to the mistakes of his fellow human beings and forgive them. Because he can laugh at himself, he stands above things in critical situations and avoids so many conflicts right from the start.

But humor is not a question of technique, but a question of attitude and attitude. Humorists are value-conscious people of deep inner maturity. Through their sovereignty they give other people trust, security and security. Humor is therefore also considered a special leadership quality.

There are countless nuances between WITZ and KOMIK. You can tell them apart by looking at whether you are laughing with each other or at others. How much real HUMOR there is in a situation can be heard from the way you laugh: the louder and more unrestrained the laugh, the more unprocessed aggression there is. A humorous laugh, on the other hand, is warm and soft and can even carry a bond in shared pain.

Dealing with the different facets of laughter takes practice and experience. For all those who want to develop their humorous attitude, we are offering a weekend workshop for SinnStifter e.V. at the end of March at particularly favorable conditions. There are still a few places available.

Photo: Katharina Wieland Müller_pixelio.de