When People Don’t Listen! By Dr. Michael Brooks

I was at King Soopers last week, in the deli department. I stood and waited for my turn. A young woman in her 30’s stepped in front of me and two other women who had been waiting in line for about 5 minutes. She said out loud, as she raised her hand “excuse me; I would like to place an order.” The woman in the red coat behind her said “you better get in line there are 3 of us ahead of you.” Again, without missing a beat, the woman called out again, “I need someone to take my order, and I am in a hurry.” The gal in the red coat and the other woman, started to tell her, you better get in line, there are three people ahead of you, and she pointed at me as one of those ahead of her. Now, this was now starting to get interesting!

More people were getting in line as this was around lunch time. The woman was persistent, insisting that she be waited on, no matter who was in line ahead of her. Finally one of the deli people walked up to where she was standing and said, ma’am … you’re going to have to get in line and wait your turn – there are people ahead of you!

When she heard the deli manager tell her that, she blew her temper, she lost it right then and there, her anger was very clear! She started accusing all of us treating her with disrespect. She had an audience of 15 people watching and listening to her. Finally the store manager showed up. She proceeded to rip on him as well.

I started to wonder if she realizes the spectacle she was making of herself. People began to whisper, some even started talking out loud and letting her know that she was out of line. I have seen several disgruntled shoppers during my lifetime. I was embarrassed for them and how foolish they looked with onlookers glaring at them. There was anger in the air, from her and those who listened to her.

This woman kept the pressure up until, one of the deli workers assisted her to get her to quiet down. I was embarrassed for her, the people she offended and for myself. As I waited for my turn, I listened to the complaints of others. Many were harsh with judging her, while others didn’t seem to care. I tried looking at why her outburst happened. I figured she was having a really bad day, as we all do at times.

I like to look at all sides of the picture. Did she have an argument with her spouse? Did her kids get on her nerves, that morning? Was she having a bad day at the office? There could be many reasons for the way she acted. I like to give the benefit of the doubt. I have seen my own friends act up once in a while, so for me, no big deal. I was entertained that morning, that’s how I saw it.

So what do you do when you feel like your going to lose it? Do you continue your behavior, or do you walk away from a bad situation? I would be interested in hearing how you deal with the storms in your life. So let’s figure this lady at the deli was very angry. Angry emotions include being irritated, resentful, enraged to losing it. So, what message are you sending when you get angry at others? You are telling others that you have been violated by someone or maybe yourself. You just can’t cope with it anymore.

How do you deal with anger so it does not become a personal problem for you? First of all you should realize that people who make you angry may not know your boundaries and why you’re upset! You may have misinterpreted what they have said or done. You need to talk with the offender face to face, and get things ironed out immediately. Your boundaries may be unrealistic and you may have to reevaluate them, after you talk with the person who made you angry!

One of the ways you can stop your anger is to look at the person who made you angry, do they care about you, and do they have your best interests at heart? When you get angry at people, ask yourself this question; what can I learn from this person? How can I help them understand how I am feeling without getting angry at them? Sometimes we don’t communicate our wants and desires with friends and acquaintances, that’s key to understanding yourself. Do you need to be a better communicator? Then work on your communication skills, learn the art of sharing what your feelings are with others. It takes lots of patience and practice to be good at sharing your feelings where people can clearly understand what you are saying.