Stanford professor explains how to deal with ‘a**holes’

Say good riddance once and for all

Olivia Petter
Friday 29 September 2017 10:40 BST
(Getty Images)

How do you deal with someone who grinds your gears?

A Stanford professor has spent more than a decade researching “a**hole behaviour" and has come up with a definitive list of strategic coping mechanisms to “deal with people who treat you like dirt,” as outlined in his new book.

Robert Sutton, professor of organisation behaviour and engineering, has identified four distinct types of “a**holes” found in the workplace and beyond.

His guide then outlines evidence-based strategies for overcoming them, ensuring that these bully-types don’t stifle and torment you.

Chapters in the book include “make a clean getaway” and “mind tricks that protect your soul.”

Speaking to Mail Online, Sutton explained that the general definition of a modern day a**hole is “someone who leaves you demeaned, disrespected or de-energised.”

However, there are distinctive types that sit within this umbrella definition.

First there are those who are vile without even realising it – some people really are that wrapped up in their own worlds.

Sutton stresses the importance of telling these types of a**holes that they are being a a**hole, otherwise no progress will be made and they’ll continue to irritate you months down the line.

Then you’ve got the a**holes who feign ignorance to their dastardly deeds.

One example of this, Sutton explains, could be behaving as if they don’t know someone who they’ve actually met several times. They’re not forgetful, they’re just rude.

Next, there’s the caricatured “Machiavellian” type; someone who is all kinds of Lord Voldemort levels of evil and does not even try to pretend otherwise.

In other words, they’re the colleague that wouldn’t think twice about stealing your sandwich from the communal fridge. In fact, they’d ask you why it didn’t have more mayo.

However, the most dangerous of them all is the Judas a**hole, which Sutton explains is the most “strategically competent” type because they will lure you into a false sense of security that they are your friend, your comrade, the Ben to your Jerry. One night, they’ll be lending you their copy of Sapiens, next thing you know they’re flirting with your fiance at the Christmas party.

The A**hole Survival Guide follows on from Cook’s first book The No A**hole Rule, which was published in 2007.

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