By Katie East
Recently, I’ve had to deal with some cynical naysayers who don’t respect me, my decisions, or my way of life. In other words, I’ve got haters.
I thought these simple-minded kinds of people died out after puberty, but alas, they are still alive and well. Haters survive. They are like the cockroach of the human world. They thrive on their hate and anger and use people’s differences as a fuel for their outrage.
Haters will always be around for those of us who don’t go along with the status quo. They will randomly show up throughout your life, especially when you are on the right track to make you question yourself and try to knock you off your path.
When I was in highschool I used to say things like “People either love me, or hate me.” I guess what I really meant by that is that no one who ever met me has no opinion on me; I make an impression.
Really though, most people like me. Despite my self-consciousness and general state of wanting to feel like a badass, I am very likable. It’s my job as a stand-up and a writer to be myself and be relatable. (Most) people like my honesty.
But in middle school, there was an “I Hate Katie East” club. Yup. It wasn’t officially sanctioned by McKinley Middle, but there were at least enough members to have officers. Even a parliamentarian, if I remember correctly.
I’m sure there was never an official meeting, probably just a few notes passed around. Still, I was obviously upset to hear about it a couple years after the fact.
I found out about the club because I became best friends with one of the members. She got to know me and liked me; imagine that. When she looked past that resting bitch face she liked who she saw.
She admitted she was just jealous of me. If you told me then so many people picked on me and spread rumors about me because they were jealous, I wouldn’t have believed you. But of course, jealousy is a hater’s number one motivator.
Between work and doing stand up, I meet hundreds of people a month from all walks of life and social backgrounds. I can get along well with almost all of them. You just have to know how to treat people individually.
Even the rich, entitled, angry folks that I encounter at work, I know how to deal with them. It’s very rare for me to lose my cool with a stranger or an acquaintance. I save that for my family members and loved ones.
Just remember not to rise to their level. It’s not always easy being the bigger person but it is so rewarding. You just have to keep your cool.
Over the years, I learned not to take it personally when people are rude or say mean things to me. For the most part, those people are just unhappy. Still, I can almost always find a way to relate to these people with a smile on my face so they feel like a jerk for being rude. They almost always apologize.
When I was younger, it was easier to fall into those traps that sad, angry people put out there. They overact and immediately raise the tension in a situation. Most normal people react with anger when they are greeted with anger. And thus, that sad person continues to be a jerk because they think the whole world is out to get them and no one understands them; it’s the hater’s cycle.
Now, I treat those people like a scared dog. Really, that’s all they are. If you confront them and match their intensity, they’ll get scared and attack. I prefer to keep calm and talk to them like I’m putting a baby to sleep. Usually, I offer them a drink or an honest compliment.
I think they said it best in the film The Grand Budapest Hotel:
“Rudeness is merely an expression of fear. People fear they won’t get what they want. The most dreadful and unattractive person only needs to be loved, and they will open up like a flower.”
If that sentiment is a little too lovey-dovey for you, maybe Master P’s lyrics will inspire you on how to deal with these difficult people:
“I’m just trying to get mine, you best get yours. So what you hating for?”