How to Deal with Stupid People

I come across them regularly, on the road, in the supermarket, walking on the footpath. People who behave in such a way that I can only assume that they are stupid. Sometimes I call them ‘jokers’, other times I have more colourful names for them, but in my mind they are categorised as ‘stupid people’.

I am sure you would know some people like this. People who don’t seem to understand your priorities or seem to care about your sense of urgency. They could be just about anyone, and as it turns out they are usually anyone who is not me.

I think my eldest son was about 7 or 8 when I first heard him call someone a ‘joker’ from the back seat of the car. I am so glad that he didn’t use something more colourful. This was a rude shock – when you hear your own judgement parroted back to you it can be startling. And how long until that word gets used to describe me? Are other people using that word to describe me? Am I someone else’s ‘stupid person’?

It is the easiest thing in the world to judge people, to create a story in our mind about how they are just stupid for not seeing the world as I see it and behave in a way that I would behave. It is the easiest thing in the world to be completely self-centred.

What I have discovered is that everything that everyone does makes sense to them, even if it is just at a subconscious level. They may not even be able to articulate why they do something but at some level their behaviour aligns with their values, or their world view.

If you don’t understand why someone does something then your path to understanding is through curiosity, asking more questions and making less judgements. That is generosity in relationships.

If you have stupid people in your life, then perhaps you’re not asking the right questions.

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