You can learn a lot from rude people. And with the Christmas season upon us, class is in session. The holidays bring out the best or the worst behavior in people. It can happen to the best of us. You can be an angel one minute and a Grinch the next, especially if someone steals your parking spot. 

Rude people are like a cold, blustery wind that blows holiday warmth and cheer away.

It’s impossible to avoid Grinches during the holidays. You’ll come across impatient shoppers, rude clerks, and probably one or two festively challenged family members, along with many others who will steal your Christmas spirit if you’re not careful.  

Face it. Dealing with difficult people is hard! So, if you can’t beat them, join them, right? Wrong.

Remember two things. You’re not responsible for their happiness, and two, rude behavior says more about them than you. 

But remember this, too: The holidays are stressful, and you never know what someone is going through or trying to survive. So have compassion; be kinder and a little more patient.

With that in mind, here are some typical holiday Grinches you’ll likely run into and how to handle them. 

Grinch #1 – The rude clerk. 

The best way to handle rude or short-tempered staff is to be kind. Will you feel like it? No, especially since they’re paid to be helpful and nice. But take a deep breath, smile, and be kind anyway because they face a lot of stress during the holidays with longer hours and more shoppers. They encounter more than their fair share of grumpy, difficult people during this time of year, while also trying to plan something special for the holidays for their family and loved ones. Just because you’re friendly and nice doesn’t mean most shoppers are. Make it a point to share a warm word of encouragement or a nice compliment. Be the one who brightens their day. Be kind.

Grinch #2 -The grumpy relative. 

We all have that one relative who just can’t wait for the holidays to end, right? And they complain about everything, pointing out what’s wrong with the world and how the season is too commercial. Their very presence puts a chill in the air and sends a shiver down your spine. And if they happen to ask what you want for Christmas, you have all you can do not to say, “Earplugs would be nice.”

How do you respond to grinchy relatives? You guessed it. With warmth and kindness. Chances are, your loved ones are struggling with things, too, just like the store clerk. And even though you’re not responsible for their happiness, you are responsible for your own, so be pleasant and cheerful. Don’t take things personally; ignore their behavior. Be generous with your gifts of love, gratitude, and kindness to them. Celebrate hope, joy, and peace while giving their negativity a pass. 

Grinch #3 – The Grinchy colleague. 

The holidays tend to amplify whatever emotions people are feeling. Some of the people you work with will be lonely, sad, depressed, or struggling with problems you don’t even know about. The happiness of the holidays can make some people feel very empty, especially if they’re dealing with a loss or a significant problem. Again, try not to allow their negativity to affect or infect you.

Be warm and positive, even if it seems to rub them the wrong way; don’t dim your holiday glow to make them feel better (but be caring and sensitive if you know they’re dealing with losing a loved one or struggling in a relationship). Keep your holiday spirit and do something nice to help them feel happy. Your kindness might lift their spirit and strengthen their heart. 

Be the Reason for the season in human form to the people you meet.

You never know the burdens people carry. We spend so much time focusing on unlocking our best life that we overlook the needs of others sometimes, especially in the holiday rush.

Let the warmth of your love and kindness glow this holiday season. Christmas is about giving, not getting. Give grace, second chances, and the benefit of the doubt. Let your joyful spirit and grateful heart help someone else unlock their best life this Christmas.

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