Snark Sharks! How to Keep Critical Strangers From Ruining Your Day

Snark Shark! Hungry for a bite.

Snark Shark! Hungry for a bite.

What are Snark Sharks?
These are critical statements or aggressive behaviors from strangers that come out of nowhere and are freakin’ MEAN!    Let me give you some examples:

Example 1: Girl in line at ski resort. “IS that even a ski jacket you are wearing?! I have never seen anything like it. It looks like a windbreaker. You are going to be so cold!” she says loudly and wheezily (think Fran Drescher) in front of 10 other skiers in my ski class. “Yes,” I reply proudly. “FYI: This is what ski jackets looked like in the 90s, BEEAATCH!”  (OK, so I did NOT call her a bitch.)

Example 2: Strange man to me at a cocktail party. “I like your outfit … almost.” (Heavy and hearty laugh). What?!!!! (Remember the pink rabbit fur coat blog entry?)

Example 3: I once dropped off used books at a used bookseller, whereupon an extremely angry salesperson said, “Put those over there. We are not your JUNKPILE!” Eeeek!

What To Do When It Happens:
1. Come back with a tart reply that proves how smart you are and that they didn’t get to you.  You are made of nothing but Teflon, baby!

2. Detach and laugh about it. These people are just filled with yucky stuff that day and trying to spread it around like a farmer does with … whatever.  Don’t let it touch you. Put your energy else where.

3.  If possible, do not make eye contact and ignore completely. Energy wise, if you never engage it makes it less likely that that negative, toxic energy will enter your body.  I had a body language expert tell me to look at toxic people right above their eyes onto their forehead and they can’t get you riled up. It works!

4.  Be assertive back, if y0u want to. In the book example, I told the guy that his statement was shaming and rude. I used I statements, “I felt____when you____.” He blushed scarlet and I could immediately tell he had been treating me just like he had been treated as a child.(Therapists can tell this.) It was an important opportunity for him to learn about how his behavior reflects.

What are some of your Snark Shark Examples? What did you do about them?

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