Category Archives: Understanding Difficult People

It jes’ doesn’t happen over night

Meaness jes’ don’t happen over night.*

I sometimes wonder whether the mean people I run into are “jes’ that way,” or whether they are “jes’ havin’ a bad day.”

Seems to me, if I label them ‘mean’ in my mind, it “ain’t them jes’ havin’ a bad day.”

AND! What’s extraordinary about people like this is — many of them either don’t give a crap about the fact that they are being mean, or — they don’t know they are mean.

The latter statement comes from my work with “difficult people.” As hard as it is to believe, many difficult people, and even REALLY difficult people, don’t have a clue about how they come across to other people, AND they have no idea how much they hurt other people.

They just go through life stepping all over everyone else because their singular focus is themselves. They have no:

  • consideration
  • empathy
  • compassion
  • kindness
  • thoughfulness
  • positivity

[This could be a long list!!! If you want to add some “definers”, make a comment below!!]

And it seems they have no “joie de vivre.” Joy of life; joy in living.

I would like to stop them in the middle of their meanness and say:

  • Look at that rainbow
  • Smell the roses
  • See the Mama and Papa ducks with their baby ducks walking down the road in a straight line (and all the other people being considerate of them?)
  • Did you ever notice how beautiful her smile is?

Because it seems they never see such things; they just see darkness, and hate, and dominance, and pain, and…???

Sometimes I don’t care that they might have had a rough day, a rough week, a rough year. Most of us have had a heck of a lot thrown at us in the course of our lives: “the stories I could tell…” Somehow we’ve managed to get out of bed every day and try again, and again, and again with positivity, kindness, consideration, etc.

One of the sad things, too, because I have spent a good bit of time trying, is you can’t seem to help these kind of people out of their “meanness.” I’ve known some lulus in my day, and I HAVE tried to help them see the roses, shown them considerationĀ instead of reacting, even tried to talk with them about a more positive approach to life, They might agree with me up front, but their approach to others, to life doesn’t change — it’s who they are.

Which brings us back to the title of this blog — “Meanness doesn’t jes’ happen over night.”

So what are our choices?

Choose all of those things in the list above and all of those things you can think of to add to the list, and use them in your life regardless of the other person — it’s who you are:

I’m a nice guy. Yes, I get angry, sometimes I react to negativity like everyone else, get upset when I am attacked, put down, treated badly; but overall, being kind is just who I am, and its not worth it to have some “meannie” change that. [One of those words we used as kids to describe bullies.] Somehow, to this point, I have managed to always come back to me.

Hope that doesn’t change.


Joe Koob

*from Farmer’s Almanac

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Filed under Musings, Pet Peeves, Understanding Difficult People

You can choose…

You can choose… Your God’s name over someone else’s God’s name… but are they so different?

You can choose…to be better than someone else because they are different because of… social class, race, religion, they make less, look funny, or…?

You can choose

…to believe that men are better than women, and treat them that way… which is fairly prevalent in some countries, but unfortunately is still true here in the U.S. of A. too.

…that black is better than white.

…that your ideology is better than theirs.

…that right is better than left; or is it that left is better than right???

… that sticking to one’s guns is far better than compromise.

… to be right instead of being kind.

… to cut in line, instead of being courteous.

… to have it your way, instead of considerig someone else’s way.

… to cut someone off, instead of leting someone in.

… to be magnaminous when someone is having a bad day, rather than being rude.

…to open a door, instead of shuting one.

… to love instead of hating.

…to find peace and joy, instead choosing anger, frustration, and pain.

What are you choosing today? Tomorrow. What did you choose yesterday? What is in your head every day? These are the thoughts that make you who you are. These are what you bring into the world. More importantly, perhaps, what are you listening to — broadcasts of anger, hate, frustration, fear, people railing against each other about this thing or that? Or are you finding more positive things to pay attention to? Every day I try to find something positive to read or listen to. And every night before I fall asleep I try to remember to read or think of something positive. It’s a start. Here’s one I thought up yeserday: If every day were a massage — what a great world it would be! (Brings a smile to MY face!


Joe Koob

And in the morning you can start your day that way, too. :}

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If you are a regular reader of this blog then you know I have waxed about Kindness on several occasions: KINDNESS is one of my “Seven Keys” to Understanding and Working with Difficult People’. AND! the truth is Kindness is a KEY to understanding and working with people — all people — in general.

Every day I try to remind myself of this, and yes, some days I fall shorter than I would like because I let something else get in my way. It IS tough being kind when you: don’t feel well; are stressed; someone is in your face; someone treats you badly; something bad has happened to you or a loved one; and so on.

I could even say it it REALLY hard to be kind when you are: being given the run around; someone puts you down or hurts you badly; when you are dealing with frustration after frustration (e.g. calling internet providers and actually getting someone who can help you — a personal pet peeve); when you are being treated unfairly; etc.

I think perhaps sainthood should be reserved for people who can bring kindness to every situation they face. I do aspire to this; but don’t give me a halo just yet.

The one thing I have witnessed both in an everyday how-we-interact-with-the-world-sense, and even in a professional sense, is that Kindness makes such a difference. The best managers/professionals are those who place kindness before accountability, the bottom line, getting to the top, and so forth. I have seen this in people I have worked for; people I know (my wife is an exec at a large firm and exemplifies this positive approach and concept); and in people I have observed and worked with as a coach.

Every day in a myriad of ways we have the chance to choose Kindness over something else. Making such an effort almost invariably changes the situation for the better; changes us; and can even help change how someone is approaching/interacting with us.

In the previous blog I talked about courtesy. Courtesy is the tip of the iceberg — kindness takes it to another whole level.

Sometimes Kindness is simply finding a better, more positive way to approach something difficult.

Sometimes Kindness is simply adding a kind word, a pat on the back, a bit of encouragement, some positive feedback (instead of focusing on the negative), acknowledging a person for who they are and what they bring to this world, and so on on.

Kindness is so much easier than we think — the tough part is taking advantage of every opportunity that presents itself on a moment to moment basis.

And here is a last thought: kindness comes from the heart; it has to be sincere in the giving.

Bring kindness into your heart and you WILL bring it to the world. Start today.


Joe Koob

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It seems such a little thing — to be courteous to others. How much effort does it really take to:

Let a car in when stuck in a line of traffic
Hold a door for someone (woman or man)
Help pick up something someone dropped
Give that best parking space to someone else, because you CAN walk a little further.

These are little things we can do every day.

Unfortunately I see so much of the opposite going on: people who are in such a hurry that courtesy is far removed from their repertoire of daily skills. Or is it people who are so into themselves that they don’t care for others? Or that they don’t care, period?

I read an interesting thing the other day that said that people who own high end cars (BMW owners, I believe topped the list), are the rudest and least likely to be courteous. Does money and wealth change who we are; or is it the choices we make?

I can relate so many discourteous happenings that I sometimes wonder if humanity has given up their humanity. I get upset and depressed because I see so much rudeness and deliberate negativity toward others. Maybe I am more sensitive because I write about positivity, and all this negativity just seems unbearable at times.

The truth is WE can choose courtesy NOW! Every day; every chance we get. Maybe it won’t change everyone; but I can tell you this — it makes all the difference to me when I am at the receiving end, or when I see someone else offer such to another. [Whenever I witness courtesy these days, I have gotten into the habit of giving the person a free book when I have one handy.]

And think about this: courtesy is only the beginning. It is the simplest of positive things we can do. Next blog I am going to wax a bit about choosing kindness. That’s taking courtesy to the next level, and the next.

Start with courtesy — make the effort every chance you get. You’ll feel better, and you will help some else feel better to, I guarantee it. And if it is me — then I thank you in advance. Love yah!

Joe Koob

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Difficult Men: A Book for Women by a Man

Difficult Men – Is NOW AVAILABLE at It should soon be available at Amazon and later at Barnes and Noble and other major on-line retailers (some take longer than others to set up new books). I will make a more formal announcement when it is available at Amazon, but if you want an early copy, you can order now.

What’s it about?

One an over-riding theme throughout is “Positivity”. We always have this choice.

9611-9 DIFFICULT MEN - front


Joe Koob

UPDATE!!! Just checked: now available at!!!

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Men are…

My new book, “Difficult Men: A Book for Women by a Man” addresses the very important consideration about how you (if you are a women reading this) feel about men. It’s worth thinking about, because the better you understand the feelings you have toward: men in general, and a specific man you are having difficulties with, the more successful you can be in coping, weathering, dealing with, being successful with them.

This type of question can of course raise some strong feelings, so if you need support when working through something like this do it with a friend, life-coach, therapist… someone you trust and feel comfortable with.

Keep posted. Book is at publisher and I’m hoping it will be out within the month.


Joe Koob

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Filed under Ask Dr. Koob, Understanding Difficult People

Difficult Men: A Book for Women by a Man

It’s DONE! It’s almost here!

My new book: Difficult Men: A Book for Women by a Man is at the publishers and should be out soon. Keep looking on this blog for updates and teasers. A lot of work for some long months, but I think it is looking good — mucho help from all my readers who I will introduce you to anon — some great women coaches gave me lots of excellent suggestions.

This book will be available in softcover and as an e-book.

Looking forward to sharing many ideas with you… and by the way That Black-Haired Beauty is doing great. She just turned nine and got a 100% thumbs up with the Vet on her latest physical.


Joe Koob

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Filed under That Black-haired Beauty and I, Understanding Difficult People