Mean people are unhappy | Self-Help Advice | Cristina Imre

One of the most painful and challenging experience relates to dealing with mean people. That’s why I will give you the best self-help advice which will make your life easier. Simply put, starting from this moment treat mean people like being in need, having deep problems and feeling very unhappy. That’s because it’s true.

When you’re on a mission, you are enlightened

People with a mission that rules their lives are full of energy and inspired about what they need to do next. They feel the power of having a meaning and a purpose. Therefore; they are not necessarily happy all that time, that’s nonsense, but they have a balance and a goal in mind. Similarly to the personality, character, and attitude of the successful people they have no intention to hurt or mistreat someone.

Only when you are unhappy, you want that to others

On the opposite side, someone who is unhappy with his/her life, very disappointed or hurt by someone or something can act as mean. Keep this in mind, only when you are unhappy you can feel the need and even gain short-term satisfaction by hurting someone else and being genuinely mean.

We can also fragment this per seasons or periods of time. You can have a recent occurrence that makes you see everything in grey, so what you project on others will also be gray. Of course, we can always change since we are not just bad or good. But someone who is mean in that specific moment is unhappy. That’s a state which cannot exist in a purposeful energy mode.

Think about it. We all have the need to belonging. Humans are social animals, and that’s a prime necessity, important as shelter, food water, and air. We crave to belong and have a group like us to feel at ease. This applies in our example to the need of creating your own group.

So, if you are unhappy, you may want to have others in the same state, and you’ll do what it takes to have that. It could be unconscious and without an evil intention at first, but still the result you’re seeking is a negative one.

Understanding the process

Let’s analyze it from your own perspective. Think about a time when you were very mean to someone. What did you do or said? Why you did it? Now think about the emotions you had. How were you feeling? What bothered you and made you mean? Because your inner feelings were those, who dictated your action.

If someone’s inner world is full of pain and negative thoughts about their lives, their behavior will reflect that.

Maybe the easiest way to see it would be a jump back into the teenage years. If you are a teenager yourself, I have good news for you. It will pass. So teenagers can be really mean, and they actually are.

Also, if you studied some psychology, you know that those years are compared to an emotional roller coaster when anxiety, depression, ADHD, the stresses are all over the place.

In those years we have two impactful phenomena: hormonal fluctuations and significant brain changes. Imagine that combo. It’s overwhelming. Their last worry is to make you feel better when they don’t know how to deal with what is happening. The general feeling is that “something is wrong with me, but I don’t know what.”

How to apply this wisdom in real life

The most efficient way is to first, deal with these mean people; and second, to go beyond that by becoming unconsciously aware of the root cause which will dictate your reaction. And an extra help for you will come by knowing that most often than not the mean behavior has nothing to do with you. It’s not your fault. Gaining an unconscious competency to deal with mean people requires forming a new habit of listening, understanding, and acting or ignoring upon the mean behavior.

In my years-long coaching experience working with the mean was similar to the Taming of the Shrew. But afterward many treasures can be found.


Every time someone is mean to you ask yourself this question, “What could have caused this person to do or say such a thing?” But start with, “Oh, my, he/she is unhappy at the moment.” We take things too personally, and that can affect us profoundly. If you let such things regularly change you the result could spread over your life. So stop this pattern right now.

Once you acknowledge that the other person feels unhappy and there is a root cause which is not you, your approach will have a qualitative response and later on – result.

People who form this new habit of seeing things related to mean people could have a big career boost as well. Think about your clients. Or your boss. How many times did you let your clients dictate your mood? That’s a vast power to lend over. Is your client mean?

But also your client provides everything you have? A dilemma, right? Many don’t think this way. But they should. If your client is mean you should know that there is a pain involved. Your client is suffering, and you could be the scapegoat. Doesn’t matter. You have a responsibility to listen, understand, solve and thank.

The LAST method, which means: 1) Listen; 2) Ask (to understand); 3) Resolve, and 4) Thank.

Of course, you may say, but my client is crazy. Well, if you have a genuine pathologic client, you have not much to do. But most of them are not insane by a clinical meaning. Those are only unhappy, in pain.

Those can also be your best teachers. Because they challenge your own mental and emotional stability and put you to test. Transforming a mean client to a neutral one is a big A+ for your growth, not only as a customer expert but also as a human being. Once their cry to help was heard and answered, they will feel better. So you become a psychotherapist as well. Doesn’t this help your self-esteem?

Translate this to your family, kids, parents, boss, neighbors, and friends. How would you change as a person by acknowledging that every time they are mean to you, they need help? Most people let themselves transformed by such behaviors, and they become mean themselves.

Today mean once, tomorrow twice, 30 days a month, in one year you could really become a very mean person, right? Translating: in one year you can become an unhappy person. Does it worth it? Of course not.

Become the expert of the mean people

Do this! Differentiate crazy people, psychopaths from casual mean people. Ignore or ask for help from competent authorities in case of one. Ignore or do the same thing in case two. But in case three you are in charge. Fully!

If your approach is, “Oh, this person is in pain!” your attitude will change in front of a conflictual situation. And your attitude will determine the outcome. Always.

Act NOW!

Don’t believe me! Check it yourself. Decide a 30 days test on your own.

For the next 30 days, you’ll apply the new way of responding to mean people, each day. Don’t cheat! Do it every day, doesn’t matter from where or whom the mean act will come. Just change your attitude and start with listening and understanding the cry for help of the other who maltreats you.

At the end of the 30 days evaluate your findings, your gains, and your newly gained wisdom in the matter. You should be surprised by the results.

You could have a revelation which will shape your new life. And I can promise you that if you have that insight, you’ll lose a significant weight of heavy burdens that kept you down till now.

Originally published at


  • Dr. Cristina Imre

    Executive Coach & Mentor for Startup Founders & Executives | Serial Entrepreneur


    Throughout her career, Cristina has been focused on the idea of building and leaving a lasting legacy. For that, quality, purpose-driven, empathic leadership is needed at the top. An entrepreneur at heart, problem solver, executive by action, mindset expert as the usual self. The nonconventional way in which she combined experience and experiments became her hallmark. Cristina Imre served as a leader and executive in multiple industries, including, (but not limited to), healthcare, e-learning, banking, call centers and manufacturing, AI, real estate, financial services, marketing, sales, etc. Worked with multiple startups, SMB's and multinational distributed teams. By breaking down dysfunctional patterns in business, career, and personal life, she stresses the importance of self-improvement at any level. Through her two decades of research, testing, and application of unique and classical methods on business and leadership development, Cristina gained a unique insight into the world we live in and how we function as humans. Quoting her: "Our future is unwritten, and we can only move forward or regress by not improving ourselves, not learning from our history, and not thinking long-term. There is no middle road." Feel free to message her directly through LinkedIn if you sense there is a synergy to explore. P.S. She also wrote 4 books (2 non-fiction, 2 fiction) and you can find her articles around the web and her views on her social media channels, especially YouTube.