First of all I want to apologize to anyone named Karen or Ken. You didn’t do anything wrong and I don’t know why your name got associated with people who are hard to be around.
Having said that, we have all encountered “karens” and “kens”. People who are self-absorbed, demanding and entitled. That’s bad enough but then they go ahead and complain loudly and make everyone around them miserable too. Eventually they usually need to speak to the manager at the store/restaurant/etc. Exhausting!
Other terms we use for people could include “boomers”, “Poindexter”, “millennials” you get the idea. We all have terms for people who aren’t like us that we don’t like for whatever reason.
Then there are the real problems. The people who don’t fit into a group, but you have a hard time valuing them. Maybe it is a boss, a rude neighbor or co-worker who doesn’t get it. A person with very different political views. Could even be a family member.
All these folks range from annoying to feeling like they are a constant source of opposition. I get it. I have them too. It is hard, I want to be friendly, helpful and even encouraging but their actions and responses make it VERY difficult.
Being angry, annoyed or even writing these people off doesn’t seem like a great answer. Arguing, posting about them online and talking behind their back feels juvenile. Honestly, haven’t we had enough of that?
Here are a few ways to do something productive for all the “karens”, “boomers”, and even enemies you may have.
Quit Barking. Do you have a neighbor with one of those dogs? I do. Bark Bark Bark Bark pause Bark Bark Bark Bark….all the time. It gets really old.
You know what else gets old? Complaining about the person you can’t stand to anyone and
everyone who will listen. Truthfully you are giving them too much headspace.
One of the first ways to deal with the difficult people in your life is to stop talking/complaining about them. Don’t ignore them and don’t cancel them but don’t keep harping on what they did or said or didn’t do or didn’t say. Don’t let bitterness win the day.
Control it. Flip it. Say it. I have those imaginary conversations in my head too, once in while they turn into real conversations unfortunately.
You know how you think of all the things you would say to them if you could and how you feel so much better and they would have to bow down to your stinging accuracy and admit how terrible they have acted. Except it never happens.
How about this. Stop that conversation the real ones and the imaginary ones in your head. Now you have all this unused brain space…so flip the conversation.
Imagine pointing out something you appreciate about them, something good they have done. Now say it. Eat a little humble pie, find the right moment and tell them something positive.
I know it is easier said than done, but control it so you can flip it and then say it. Use your words to build up. (Paul said something about this in Ephesians 4:29).
Remove Regret. This is for the more long term situations. Maybe the reason you aren’t thrilled to be around them is because the relationship is broken.
Broken relationships are about as comfortable as too tight jeans digging into your belly. Here’s the thing, you can’t fix it by yourself. You may want everything to be good again but if they don’t you can’t do much. But that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything.
No matter what happened or what the current state of the relationship, you can make sure there is no regret on your part. Stop waiting for the perfect situation or for the apology they may not even know you want.
Open the door again. Find a way to invite them back into you life. You are not even saying everything is ok, you are simply putting effort into letting them know you care about them and you want as healthy of a relationship as is possible.
This way no matter what happens you won’t look back and wonder, or feel guilty, or have the same pain. Take a step to remove the possibility of regret. Go ahead, I know taking the first step is hard and humbling but it is worth it. Even if they don’t respond, it makes you healthier.
If you know there is something between you and someone else, make a move towards better no matter whose fault it is. Do it for both of you.
Go Platinum. Cool stuff about platinum I did not know:
1) It is stronger than Gold and less likely to break.
2) It is more durable and easier to work with than Gold.
3) It is more rare than gold the world mines about 1,500 tons of gold a year and only 160 tons of platinum a year.
I tell you this because you know the golden rule, what Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount; Do to others what you want them to do to you.
Now that I know that platinum is better than gold I vote for making this the Platinum Rule!
This is the clearest expression of how to love difficult people. There are no guarantees and it will be difficult at times but, think about your problem person.
What is you did to them what you want them to do to you? Chances are high things would change, maybe not immediately but over time.
You are too good to settle for less! Go Platinum on them!
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