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There’s always that one person that knows how to get under your skin. When someone is trying to upset you, the worst thing you can do is oblige them. By rewarding their behavior, you encourage the same thing to happen again in the future. Take control of the situation by taking control of yourself.

Others may push your buttons, but you control your response:

1. Consider why they’re trying to upset you. Does the other person dislike you? Are they trying to be funny? Is it about control? What is the purpose of their behavior? Once you know the motivation, you’ll be in a better position to choose your response.

2. Remove the reward. If they’re trying to be funny, tell them you don’t appreciate it. If they’re simply trying to upset you, smile and move on. When they don’t get the reaction they’re looking for, they will usually stop.

3. Stay calm. You’re bigger than a few harsh or mean-spirited words. It’s just sound, not unlike a garbage truck rolling down the street. Take a deep breath, think about something pleasant, and move on. Calming yourself is a skill. Practice as much as possible. Soon, nothing will be able to upset you.

4. Consider how serious you need to be. If the behavior is inappropriate and you’re at work, consider speaking with your boss or human resources. Do you need to contact the police? Take the necessary steps to ensure your safety is maintained.

5. Consider if you’re at fault in any way. Do you complain or whine excessively? Are you unreasonably fussy? Then you’ll probably draw some unwanted comments, fair or not. Do you pick on others? Some observers might decide to even the score.

6. Stick up for yourself. It’s possible that the other person doesn’t realize that they’re upsetting you. Speak up for yourself and let them know how you feel. No one can read your mind. Take responsibility for letting others know how you want to be treated. Many bullies will stop if they face any resistance.

7. Deal with your buttons. They are your buttons after all. Why are you so sensitive about this issue? What can you do to remove all the emotion surrounding it? Your personal buttons are your responsibility to deal with. Enjoy the freedom that comes from eliminating them.

8. Address your buttons with others. Maybe you’re sensitive about your weight or your faith. Let others know which topics you’d like to avoid. The other person might be happy to accommodate you in the future. Speak up.

9. Realize that harmful comments come from personal pain. People are mean when they’re hurting in some way. Try to feel compassion for the other person and avoid taking the comments seriously. Some people erroneously believe they can make themselves feel better by making others feel worse.

10. Leave the situation. Take a time out if you’re very upset. It happens. Take a break and give yourself a few minutes to regroup. Everyone needs a time-out on occasion. Go back with a calm mind and refreshed attitude.

It’s no fun when others are trying to get a rise out of you. However, you don’t have to get upset when someone else tries to annoy you. Take control of the situation and your emotions. Do what you can to discourage the other person. Maintain your composure and choose your response wisely. You’ll find that others are pushing your buttons less and less.

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