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How do Mean people have so many friends?

11 years ago

In my tenure in the complex, I have been pretty lucky to have had only two nasty people living in the same part of the building, and only ever having had one run-in with one of them (who had run ins with everybody).

The first woman threatened to sue or call the police on anyone who annoyed her in any way. At the very least she would see you struggling to open the vestibule door when she was standing on the other side of it, and ignore you.

Yet, she seemed to have friends (from outside the complex, of course) over on a regular basis who would come bearing gifts; and she was often being picked up to go play racquetball or tennis or dressed up for parties.

Now she may have had a Succession of friends who she ended up alienating so there was always a new crop, I don't know.

The other one is my current neighbor. I have a civil relationship with her, but she told one of the other tenants that she Hates Everyone in the entire complex and that is why she wouldn't be caught dead at some social function. (This tenant she talks to is the kind of person who can and Does talk to anyone and probably will not let my neighbor snub her).

I have seen this neighbor throw other people's mail on the floor if it gets put in her box by accident. I have seen her kick packages for other people. I caught her picking pinecones off the wreath on our door, once. She will sometimes switch languages if she is with someone and say nasty things about you right there. (Why people like this assume you are too stupid to understand common words in a foreign language is beyond me, or maybe they Want you to hear it.).

I have never seen or heard her laugh as hard as she does when one of her kids hurts themselves.

Yet it is the same thing: a flow of normal seeming people in and out of the apartment bearing gifts, bending over backwards to Do things for her, etc.

Just wondering why this is, in our society?

Comments (60)

  • 11 years ago

    Throwing people's mail on the ground instead of putting it on the top of the mailboxes, kicking packages purposely and vandalizing (however slightly) someone's door decoration, is not normal adult behavior, though. Let alone laughing your ass off at one of your kids falling and hurting themselves.

    I wonder what "good qualities" I would have to find to make up for this kind of behavior?

  • 11 years ago

    "We have a teacher on our team who will walk right by someone who says good morning or whatever-totally ignoring that person, but when others are around, wow, she puts on such a friendly pretense."

    People have described me the same way! The fact is that I don't really "see" what is around me most of the time. I am deep in thought and it's like my eyes are on auto pilot, getting me where I am going but without any conscious help from me! People tell my husband that when they see me around town, even if they greet me, I totally ignore them. These days when I meet someone new I warn them that this will eventually happen and I ask them to recognize that I have a "disability" in this area. Sometimes I explain faceblindness to them, sometimes I don't bother with the full explanation.

    But of course if I am in a group, I am much more likely to be "present" and ordinarily go out of my way to acknowledge everyone else. There is nothing fake about it. I am happy to see people when it is registering that I see them!

    Everyone's brain is not wired the same. There can be a perfectly innocent explanation for behaviors that don't seem normal to others. Rather than making negative assumptions and judging someone, I would simply ask them about their behavior.

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  • 11 years ago

    LOL Pal, I am assuming the woman's friends have not observed these behaviors. Maybe she has some anger issue involving neighbors. Maybe she has a persecution complex and is convinced that everyone in the building was rude to her when she first arrived, so she treats them the way she thinks they treat her.

    "The other one is my current neighbor. I have a civil relationship with her, but she told one of the other tenants that she Hates Everyone in the entire complex and that is why she wouldn't be caught dead at some social function."

    I wish I had a dollar for every time I've learned that someone has been misquoted.

    My whole family cracks up when someone falls or otherwise gets "hurt". Sometimes we have tears from laughing as we try to catch our breath to ask if the person is ok. Then we usually start imitating the fall, stumble, etc., so we can laugh about it some more. I have heard outsiders judge this behavior as mean. They are misjudging us for something they know nothing about. The victim rarely has any problem with the laughing, because he has been and knows he will again be, the laughing observer. Even if he did have a problem, he knows we can't help it! Once, I broke my coccyx and severely injured my ankle. In spite of the pain, I couldn't stop laughing/crying long enough to tell everyone what hurt. They wouldn't have heard me anyway because of their own hysteria, which was only making me laugh more.

  • 11 years ago

    You are right, she is a perfectly nice person and I have mistaken her behavior entirely. :P

  • 11 years ago

    Pal, if you err on the side of assuming the best, I can guarantee you will be happier for it. It doesn't cost you a thing to give her the benefit of the doubt.

  • 11 years ago

    I have noticed that adults who have a gaggle of friends always lack a single true friend. So WRT mean people I believe that even when with others they are still alone, or so I like to hope;)

  • 11 years ago

    LMAO, good one Pal. Unfortunately the benefit of the doubt only extends to motive. I refuse to attribute a bad motive to someone without actual evidence of such.

    Thus I cannot adopt your unsupported assignment of ill will towards this woman. But I do assume that if you have misjudged her, it is an honest mistake!

    That said, no written statement of facts can rival the information gleaned from a first hand observation. You are probably right that she is mean!

  • 11 years ago

    Bullies are manuplitive and calculating. They pick on those who they view as not having the ability to complain or stand up against them. In groups where censure would occur they act appropriately. That is their little game..

  • 11 years ago

    I know people that others tolerate in superficial social situations such as tennis league or book club but they don't consider that person a friend. So, while the mail thrower may socialize and go to birthday dinners or holiday gift exchanges she may not really have any friends. If she does have friends, I imagine that they don't stick around too long.

  • 11 years ago

    I have been told that I attract mean people because my personality is quiet and reserved. The stronger people met are because they are stronger at being able to start a conversation and know how to find my interest in something. I've gotten caught by this more than a good thing, only to be treated like nothing with snide remarks after getting to know them. Definitely working on it, but very hard for me to find the group of comfort to belong to.

    My guess is this women is so strong personality wise, the group is probably afraid to stand up to her. Or there are plenty of groups she is involved with that have like personalities. I would not want to meet any of them.

    The lack of respect eludes me though with perfect strangers. My day is made when someone holds a door open for me. I love thanking children who do this and make sure the parent is thanked too. Little things are far more important than this awful woman. She isn't going to listen to anything said regardless of what was done.

  • 11 years ago

    Mean people are very often mean because of their own insecurities. They try to project a sense of power, superiority, entitlement, control.. or their attempt at it. They *need* a circle of people to carry on their fragile image.. so they amass a group of people who will attend to their needs.

  • 11 years ago

    Having known a few mean adults, I have two theories. Once, they act differently around different people. If they think someone has something to offer them, be it money, status or power, they are nice. They tend to want a good reputation, so they are nice to a lot of casual acquaintances and others whom they see as their equals.

    Two, other people are afraid of them. They've seen or heard what happens to people who fall out of favor with the Queen Bee and they don't want that to happen to them. So they act all friendly on the outside.

    People who have no value to the mean person are treated with disrespect and, well, meanness.

    I grew up being bullied. I learned how to deal with bullies. At one company, there was a manager who was an office bully, a typical mean adult. I got promoted to be manager of my department in large part because I could stand up to her and not back down. But she made my life at that office pure hell and I left a few years after the promotion because the strain of being the only person who could tell this woman "no" was too great.

  • 11 years ago

    I have known my share of rude people---some intentionally and some just abysmally socially inept---but I can't remember knowing any truly mean person. Also, I think the number of friends a person has is equal to the amount of time and effort s/he is willing to invest in them. Maybe the not-so-nice people you know are willing to spend more time with friends, talking, going out, etc. I don't have much time friends so my circle is fairly limited in number.

  • 11 years ago

    I must live in the wrong place, because I run across people or work with a person or two who are well beyond rude:

    A patient in our office ran out of the waiting room suddenly the other week: in maneuvering a car seat out of her car she managed to flip the side mirror of the next car into it's closed position. The driver of the car was in the car, and she mouthed an apology to him and walked inside.

    She noticed however, his car was still there so she looked out the window. He was letting the air out of her tires. "For bumping into [my] car you stupid b*tch".

    I teach with a woman who likes nothing better than to grade the clinical work of any student who is particularly competent, fail them, hopefully humiliate them in front of their patient and then come back and report "She is not as good as she Thinks she is, or anyone else thinks either!" It's probably as close a she comes to having an orgasm, ever. The triumph on her face is unmistakable. (of course I don't know that this woman has a lot of friends, she doesn't in the workplace anyway)

    Not holding a door open, not returning a "hello", rude, perhaps. Adults performing vandalism out of spite or retribution, --mean.

  • 11 years ago

    Rudeness and mean people are everywhere, even in the South... although your examples are not what I run in to! I can't give too much detail, since you never know who might read, but I knew someone that was very well liked by all their friends. Not so much by my friends. They treated the two groups very differently and if their friends were told how they behaved/acted around my friends, I seriously doubt they would have believed it to be true.

    (I used "they" instead of "him/her" but it was only one person and I'd rather not even reveal the gender... that's how bad it was!)

  • 11 years ago

    I would wonder how long-term these supposed friendships are, if the woman is truly mean. I have to say I don't know many (or any? I'd have to think a bit) truly mean people, but I do have a couple of acquaintances who are "Debbie Downers" -- they always seem to look at the dark side of any situation. I also have an aquaintance who seems to mean well but just has no "filter" and you can't believe some of the seemingly mean things that come out of her mouth, even though I truly don't think she's a mean person. She just has no filter and doesn't think about how certain statements will be received. I've noticed that this woman in particular has a ton of "friends" but they seem to come into her life and then leave fairly quickly.

    I am fortunate to have some of the nicest people in the world as friends. Somehow, I have a lot of them. And yet I have a reputation of being aloof at first, at least in some situations. I'm more reserved, I guess, but once you "force your way in" as my BFF says, I'm very open and friendly. It's an ongoing joke with my friends, who tease me about it (in a nice way!).

  • 11 years ago

    Pal, the bumping/tire incident is something I've seen before-not exactly, but same type. I am shocked when I see people act this way. It kind of leans toward Sunny's topic of A-holes.

    The A-hole/Mean People I've known definitely have followers, I wouldn't call them friends. Some are intricately related to the A/M and hang out to stay in their good graces. Others are too polite...? Kind? to confront the A/M so they socialize with them while cringing inside. And still others are so desperate for attention that they can't stay away.

    I have a friend who continually sucks up to an A/M even tho it makes her cry to her other friends when that person continues to be a jerk to her. I can't begin to understand it, I just know that I refuse to give in to an emotional bully like that.

    Oh, I meant to ask...have you said something to these women? I'm curious as to how you act when you see them do something mean-like the mail or laugh at her kid. Undoubtably they'd turn their meanness on you, but if they're such creeps, why would you care?

    This post was edited by pesky1 on Sun, Dec 16, 12 at 13:40

  • 11 years ago

    I am a complete non-responder if and when the aggressiveness is ever turned on me, most of the time.

    On level one, it means I am no engaging them in the same way or reacting in the way that they want. This tends to diffuse or deflate the behavior somewhat.

    On level two, I feel that it sends a message that, perhaps if their behavior is unimportant to me, They are unimportant to me (and this is generally true). There is not too much they can do if their behavior elicits no effect.

  • 11 years ago

    The extent to which some people assume they know the motives of others is blowing my mind. It's one thing to observe that someone else does not act the way you would like them to act. But I think assigning a plethora of evil motives and personality disorders to them is just about as mean as it gets. Deciding that the person's friends must be insincere, is reaching to the point of denial. A bad person with friends does not make sense. So rather than acknowledge that the person is not all bad, you invalidate the existence of the friendships by deciding they must be insincere. Voila'! You have forced that square peg into the round hole so you can continue to hold onto your assessment of the person in spite of the evidence that you may be wrong.

    Btw, I know quite a few people that have a large circle of friends which includes several very close, very true friends. I've often heard the cliche that a person is lucky to have one true friend in life. In my opinion, that is the observation of people who don't know how to be a good friend. If you are a good friend to others, you will have as many "true friends" in return as you can keep up with.
    Being a good friend means you accept a person's faults and forgive their transgressions. It means if you get your feelings hurt once in a while because the person disappoints you (God forbid she forgets your birthday) or makes an insensitive remark, you are not so insecure that you jump to the conclusion they don't really care about you or worse, that they are intentionally hurting you. It means you address any concerns, rather than jumping to negative conclusions and discontinuing the friendship over what may have been a simple misunderstanding. It means, that when you question their actions towards you, you give them the benefit of the doubt.

  • 11 years ago

    Cindyloo, I know someone who is mean. Mean. Not something silly like forgetting a birthday, but more like someone who likes to pull the wings off butterflies figuratively speaking. He enjoys causing the emotional hurt and pain of others.

    Addressing concerns does not work with this person. It's not a simple misunderstanding.

    I am 50 years old and don't know anyone else like this man. I've known him since I was 19 years old.

    He has friends. He is not a completely bad person. He does charitable things, he's funny, he can be charming, pleasant and a good person when he chooses. He doesn't treat everyone badly. But he does pick out and bully people he thinks are vulnerable and that he can get away with hurting. He is mean to those people, and he does it because he enjoys it. I'm not interpreting his motives or reading anything into it that isn't there - he says himself that he does it because it's fun.

    What you are saying is true of almost all the people in the world I know or have met. But if you don't know someone who is truly mean, not troubled, not mentally ill, but selectively mean to vulnerable people just for the fun of it, then be glad.

  • 11 years ago

    I don't know about friends but it certainly is true that adult, even aged people can be quite mean. Not to say rude, insincere and other unpleasant qualities.

    As far as the entire family laughing at a member who hurts herself/himself that is pretty sick. I guess if they really end up in the hospital that is a real side splitter? Or maybe dead would be even better? As far as getting the benefit of the doubt from Cindy lou she is so deep into denial that she can not see the woods from the trees.

  • 11 years ago

    I don't see anywhere where I discussed the motivation behind any of these people's behaviors. Why does being mean need to have any more of a motivation than being rude or being nice?

    I am also not using the word evil. I don't think the woman who gets a charge out of bringing students down a peg is Evil. She's getting off on being Not Nice to them for some reason, she is not killing them. I don't care WHY she does it, I just see it over and over and over.

    My point was that these behaviors are fairly evident and identifiable as poor behavior in and of itself. There is no mistaking the behavior of an adult person who looks at a package in the mailroom and kicks it, throws mail on the floor when there is a ledge right there, lets the air out of someone's tires. It is at the very least taking More time and energy than they would expend to Not do the behavior, in order to have a negative effect. (with the exception of throwing the letters on the floor rather than lifting an arm, because I have a feeling you would need to call me out on that, too, if I didn't myself.)

    I don't give a %h*t WHAT THEIR PURPOSE for MOTIVATION for doing so IS. Perhaps they have none. Who cares? My question is, is it not something that their friends care about? Is it a side their friends Never See? Are people that facile at acting completely different around different groups of people?

    In any case, I am starting to decide it was a stupid question.

  • 11 years ago

    It's not a stupid question at all. As the years go past I know many people who don't care how rude or unkind other people behave unless it's happening to them. I think you're asking a good question, one worth examining.

  • 11 years ago

    "My question is, is it not something that their friends care about? Is it a side their friends Never See? Are people that facile at acting completely different around different groups of people?"

    I'm going to guess that their friends don't ever or only rarely see the bad side.

    Are your mean neighbors capable of acting differently at home than when out with friends, or acting differently with different groups of people? I don't know why they couldn't behave that way, and that could explain why they seem to have a large circle of friends. Think about your behavior when at work or when interacting with sales people, for example: surely you don't speak to them the same way you would to a close friend, family member, spouse, partner, etc.

    I have another thought: the neighbors who kick packages and do similar things may think of the entire building as home - home being the place where they can stop being on their best, public behavior. To the extent that they are not under stress out in the world, maybe their friends never see their darker side.

    "In any case, I am starting to decide it was a stupid question."

    I thought it was an interesting question.

  • 11 years ago

    Pal, I don't see where I said that YOU discussed motivation or used the word evil, lol. What made you think I was referring to you?

    "Why does being mean need to have any more of a motivation than being rude or being nice?"

    Again, I was not talking about you. But the short definition of "mean", is intent. Intent is a state of mind.

    You wonder if these people have friends that don't care about such behavior? I would be such a friend. I'm concerned with how people treat me and I don't feel the need to supervise or judge their behavior towards others.

    Of course people do avoid disapproval and adjust their behavior as needed. I saw a friend throw some trash on the beach. I picked it up as I expressed my shock and disgust at her behavior. She explained that there are clean up crews for the beach and she saw nothing wrong with leaving trash there. She may be a lifelong litterbug, but she certainly never did it in front of me again. Friends don't have to live by identical standards. They can have big differences as long as they respect each other enough to refrain from displaying their differences in front of each other.

  • 11 years ago

    "You wonder if these people have friends that don't care about such behavior? I would be such a friend. I'm concerned with how people treat me and I don't feel the need to supervise or judge their behavior towards others."

    I think then, this might be the essential difference in our conversation.

    I tend to judge people more by how they treat others/strangers and behave in the world at large, rather than how they may treat me on occasion.

  • 11 years ago

    FWIW Los, the "injured" person is rarely injured. And again, we are not laughing at their pain or the injury, we are laughing at what it looks like when a person falls down, walks into a wall, etc. If we are sick we have plenty of company. It seems millions of people used to find slapstick hysterical. I can't stand slapstick or the Stooges. I guess it has to be a real bump or fall to make me laugh. I do join millions of others in finding most of the accidents on Funniest Home Videos hilarious.

  • 11 years ago

    There is our difference Pal! I don't feel qualified to judge a person's behavior towards anyone but me. I don't know the entire history of any relationship other than my own.

    I'm definitely not going to judge a person for how he acts towards strangers. I may judge a specific act I witness, but that doesn't translate into a decision about what kind of person they are. No, I need a lot more information that that!

  • 11 years ago

    Pal, I think there can be a multitude of things. I find that generally, most people are unobservant. There are also some people who just want to think the best of everyone and some people who just do not care.

    I am a confrontation avoider. If I see character traits that do not float my boat, I generally try to minimize their part in my life. I rarely pass on the things I notice, so it would not necessarily come to the attention of this in my circle.

  • 11 years ago

    Pal,when you figure it out,let me know.It is one of the things I have observed over the years and I can't for the life of me fathom how and why some people can get away with this behavior.
    Anyone who behaves like your neighbor you described, must not be a very happy person.

  • 11 years ago

    Tish, I don't consider myself particularly unobservant and therefore unaware of rampant meanness in the world. But if I saw unkind acts "again and again," as Pal does, I think I would start ignoring them, as it would be terribly depressing to witness such behavior on a regular basis.
    I live in a very small town where we run into the same people at the office as in the grocery store, movie theater and post office. Maybe it is easier to be mean to strangers---- although I can't imagine how a stranger could have that effect on a person. Those who have the most effect on us are usually people we know best. Still, maybe that is the difference, between a small and large population.

  • 11 years ago

    I think what we really want to know is why the woman that Pal mentioned is so popular?

  • 11 years ago

    You'd have to ask her friends. But if they're disingenuous and only interested in things like her money or connections, it would be unlikely you'd get an honest answer.

    They might just share the same values and attitudes towards things so enjoy each other's company.

  • 11 years ago

    Someone can be popular without having a lot of friends.

    People like this have a lot of acquaintances. People they go out with, people they do things with, but not people who would drive 30 miles through a blizzard to get to them when they need help.

    We all have some acquaintances--people we know, but don't know very well. We see them at friends' houses, we meet them at work or school or the gym.

    If we spend more time with them, they start to become friends, as we get to know them more.

    With a truly mean person, however, acquaintances stay acquaintances, because once you really get to know the mean person, you don't want to be their friend.

    But keep the relationship on a superficial level, where the mean person can maintain their facade of pleasantness and likability, and people will want to spend time with him/her.

    Just because someone is surrounded by a crowd of people does not mean they have a lot of friends.

  • 11 years ago

    I do have to keep the superficialty-acquaintance thing in mind.

    I know people who have a cabinet full of little gifts and such to take to people when they visit, but would not be reliable at all if you needed real help. Some people would be in both categories of course, I am not criticizing the gift givers.

    I don't have a lot of friends who would send a card just to be nice or who would take a gift when visiting or a bottle of wine everytime they come over for dinner. But I do have a friend who drove 5 hours each way to attend my mother's funeral, and other friends who would go through a certain amount of inconvenience to really Help if needed, and I would like to think I am the same way. After Sandy one of them offered her undamaged shore house to a full-time resident whose house was severely damaged, rent-free. It was not even someone she knew personally. Superficially this woman can be a real b*tch but she has a good heart.

    I am definitely not always Nice in the superficial way, or socially facile, and probably inadvertantly rude, but decent where it counts,I hope.

  • 11 years ago

    This is a good question, I have asked myself this many times. I agree with camlan I think. Quite possibly the relationships are superficial and not real friendships. I also suspect ( and know for certain in a least one case) that mean people value people differently and act accordingly. This is totally despicable in my view - superficial friendliness when you think you can get something out of it, cruelty all too often otherwise. I also suspect that some of these people are very deeply unhappy and may be struggling with mild (or not) mental illness. I often feel sorry for them, when I'm not furious that is.

  • 11 years ago

    My question is, is it not something that their friends care about?

    My guess is that their friends don't care, unless the mean person in question is mean to them. I know a lot of people who are that way. They don't care what you do to someone else, as long as you don't treat them badly.

    Is it a side their friends Never See? Are people that facile at acting completely different around different groups of people?

    Some people who are mean are pretty selective about who they're mean to, and yes, I know people who are extremely facile at acting completely different around different groups of people. I think we all know people at work who are nice to their bosses and peers, but treat the people "below" them like dirt.

    I think likeability is a lot different than nice. In general I think people enjoy being around someone who is funny, interesting, lively, friendly, outgoing. I know many, many people who would rather associate with someone who is funny, lively and interesting over someone who is nice without those traits.

  • 11 years ago

    "Hold your friends close and your enemies closer."

    Know your enemy in case they attack you and also so you become familiar with their weaknesses. It's just a matter of self-preservation.

  • 11 years ago

    It's that 'dual life' thing~the neighbors are no one special,so rude is acceptable. After all, they're*just* neighbors. The friend doesn't see that side of the person because it's a whole different 'relationship', one where good behavior is required to keep friends.

    The flip side, these people may 'dump' friends and pick up others along the way. IMO, these so-called friends are more like acquaintances, with a slight possibility of becoming true friends. The gift giving may be the 'hope' of true friendship, but it would be more of a one-sided friendship.

    I'm now an 'acquaintance' of a woman who I have enjoyed doing things with, but it's usually been myself that has made suggestions of going someplace, doing something, etc. She has had friendships w/fellow employees, but they waned since she didn't reciprocate the friendship. I recently decided to 'curb' the relationship since i saw the same pattern forming. I invest emotions in friendships, and some are not worth having or persuing since you can end up with hurt feelings. Some people are loners, and can't get close or share any part of their life. I'm a people person, and seek out the same for friends.

  • 11 years ago

    Just an aside~is this a 'new' phenomenon or are we just noticing more as we age? For myself, as I've gotten older I assess people, study them, and have gone so far as to correct them.

    The acquaintance/friend I mentioned above has a very bad habit of using words that are inappropriate to a situation. We were discussing the living situation of my youngest dd's babysitter, her requiring disability since the age of 27, and her anguish at not having as much as other women her age. I commented I felt badly for her, and my acquaintance/ friend , in a very casual way, replied, BUMMER. She uses this word frequently in situations where there shoud be compassion, but she almost seems to enjoy knowing others are in a tough situation as my DD has pointed out to me, since DD knows I'm 'famous' for not seein the bad in a person.

    She also puts down those of lesser means with 'sound effects' in front of our 6 year old grandson~this womans' son is married to mt DD. Yuk, is used frequently, and DD called her on it a few months ago, but the other day, it reared it's ugly head again. She seems to ave the 'I'm better than' attitude(but doesn't realize it)and needs to be put in her place, but I' m not one to be rude or nasty, especially since we're 'family'. DD and I don't think she's the 'sharpest tool in the shed', and really doesn't see her words as offensive or rude. At 58, you would think she would 'just know', but we're all not created equal.

    While I'm on a roll~she has also 'taught' the grandkids(other is 21/2 )to say 'pig' when they burp~ my hair stands out when I hear this and again, always correct them.

    Sorry if I've usurped your thread pal, but I just got going. Maybe I need to start a thread of my own. ; o )

  • 11 years ago

    Last week I saw a list of top 10 careers that have the most sociopaths/psychopaths and lawyer was high on the list. The litigator relative sounds like he fits in well with this group.

    You cannot change sociopathy or shame these people into better behavior. Look up narcissist personality disorder, for instance. Many entertainers/celebrities and politicians, etc. fall into this disorder. They can be charming personalities, but are toxic and selfish to no end. Avoid these people. Unfortunately, not many people have guts enough to get evil relatives out of their family get-togethers.

    There are many reasons for behaviors and choices people make: negative/dangerous personality disorders, or autism-spectrum disorders which cause people to not understand "polite" social rules, abuse and neglect from childhood, damage from past bullying, maintaining a bad attitude/complaining or choosing an attitude of optimism/gratitude, lack of education, a reaction to loss, or just a mental disorder not of their own choosing. It's a matter of what family/environment/gene pool people are born into, with what abilities and attitudes and choices they make as life goes on.

    I use my judgment about other people's behaviors and words to gauge who I want in my life. People who work to be positive or move ahead regardless of what happens to them are at the top of my "welcome" list. Attitude is life and death to well-being, so I don't accept manipulations/negativity/gossip. My BFF and I help each other through our bad days and try to laugh through our difficulties when possible, but we also deal with our problems.

    Watch an episode of Hoarders and see how the hoarders live in a state of denial in the face of mountains of trash and stinky filth. Their mental health, maturity and choices as life has happened are reflected in their living conditions. Fascinating to see their thinking, but has to be hellish to live with.

  • 11 years ago

    I've been waiting for someone to bring up Frugalwallflower's point of personality disorders. Approximately 1 out of 20 people are effectively without conscience and, many of them enjoy being that way and enjoy manipulating and hurting others.

    And some mean people are just charismatic and fun to be around. One in our "group" had a great sense of humor and a mostly masked deep well of malice. She had lots of friends because she picked her victims carefully from the weak fringes and treated everyone else nicely. She and I never got along well; and while I was too strong to be a good victim, I'm not such a sweetie that sending occasional shafts my way hurt her with others. I did mostly enjoy her company, though.

    She got in trouble when she launched a campaign against my husband, who's very well liked by everyone. He's Jewish, and after years of mostly masking it (she'd slip out rare little comments that only the suspicious would pick up on), she started acting out her antisemitism by spreading lies about him. When it backfired on her, she quickly buried it and was once again bright and friendly toward him (completely--I was watching and getting reports from others who didn't forget) for the next two years until she up and died. The dummy actually missed her. I considered it good riddance. And I'm not mean, just intolerant of mean.

  • 11 years ago

    The first neighbor I mentioned who threatened to sue everyone or call the police, was, in fact, a trial attorney and would literally confront you with a legal pad, take notes and scream "JUST ANSWER THE QUESTION, YES OR NO!" as if she were grilling a criminal.

    She was also a clearly angry and unhappy person.

  • 11 years ago

    Rosie, oh my gosh your story is so close to that of what I experienced in my post above. Where I said husband finally caught on is where the meanness was eventually turned on him. He just couldn't fathom the behavior towards him as he is very well liked and gets along with everyone.

  • 11 years ago

    Last week I saw a list of top 10 careers that have the most sociopaths/psychopaths and lawyer was high on the list. The litigator relative sounds like he fits in well with this group.

    I sure would like to read that study. My DH is an attorney, so we have a lot of close friends and judges who are attorneys. I can't think of one of them who fits the bill.

    Maybe you're confusing their courtroom behavior with real life behavior? Big difference.

    One trait that I've noticed is if you choose to debate an attorney outside the courtroom, no matter the subject, make sure you have your facts straight. They're trained to grill people.

    There have been many times I've told my dh to hang his lawyer cap at the door. lol.

    You may not see this in a courtroom, but because of dealing with people from all walks of life, witnessing their pain, I find lawyers to be one of the most compassionate groups of people I've ever met. Sure, there will always be jerks in the crowd, just as there are jerks in every profession.

  • 11 years ago

    Oakleyok, I think my relative is the litigator relative frugalwallflower is referring to.

    We know a lot of attorneys and some judges through my husband's work and just living here in the community. I, too, find many attorneys (including litigators) and also the judges I've met to be compassionate, very good people. In their private lives they do not pick other people apart or mash their buttons just for fun. In their professional lives they don't do that, either, unless it's needed in a professional capacity.

    I would not be surprised to find that frugalwallflower's statistic cited is true. But it's also true that some of the nicest people I know are attorneys. Not gushy, sweet, gooey nice, but down-to-the-core nice with a practical, grounded-in-reality backbone of steel, which is the best kind of nice.

  • 11 years ago

    But it's also true that some of the nicest people I know are attorneys. Not gushy, sweet, gooey nice, but down-to-the-core nice with a practical, grounded-in-reality backbone of steel, which is the best kind of nice.

    Yes, indeed! I've worked in the legal field for most of my professional life, and with several attorneys (including litigators) - one in particular, for over 20 years - who have been among the finest, most generous and compassionate people I have ever met.

  • 11 years ago

    I know of someone like this. She is mean in a different way. Very social (invites people over often) and outgoing-- will talk to anyone. Very loud so people have to listen. She can also be funny and is generous. But, she lies (very strange but I know firsthand) and talks about people, makes fun of them, etc. even when she has just been kind to them. Everyone knows her and only a few trust her. Most people are afraid of her because they want to stay within the big network of people she connects. She has good qualities and skills, but uses them for the wrong purpose, which ends up being mean.

  • 11 years ago

    Sunny, I worked in a law office with two attorneys. The other secretary and I shared a large office together. I had the laid back attorney as my boss. Her's was the opposite.

    One day her boss walked in with a stack of files a foot thick, held them high, then dropped them on her desk! After he berated her for something and he left, she reached into her drawer for a valium. LOL!!!

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