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5 Ways To Be Less Of A Dick

5 Ways To Be Less Of A Dick
Carly Jacobs

‘Excuse me, you have to re-make this coffee. It’s undrinkable.’

The waitress apologised profusely and whisked the cup away before asking precisely what the issue was so she could avoid making the same mistake the second time. After the rude man gave her some haughty tips he rolled his eyes and went back to his conversation. His dining companion could barely string a sentence together, he was clearly so shocked and embarrassed by the awful exchange he’d just witnessed.

Mr Smaggle and I were gobsmacked. My heart sank right down inside my shoes as I watched the flustered, red-faced barista carefully remake the offending coffee. We sat in silence as the waitress brought over a fresh cup. As she turned to walk away, the man sipped his coffee, made an unnecessarily loud ‘Blergh!!!’ sound before the coffee had even touched his lips and said ‘No, no. This is awful, I can’t believe you would serve this and call it coffee. Just take it away.’

The cafe was totally silent as she took the cup away. Finally, the awful man left without paying. When we went to pay we made a huge fuss about how great the coffee was (and it was actually great, the man was legit being a total knob about it), how unpleasant that man was and how it wasn’t their fault at all. The staff gratefully accepted our feedback but the damage was done. Their poor hearts would be heavy for at least the rest of the day and they’d probably need a stiff drink after work to wash the nastiness out their system.

I can safely say I’ve never behaved like that. I’ve certainly been served plenty of undrinkable coffee but I just don’t drink it and don’t make a fuss. It’s not worth ruining someone’s day over.

This doesn’t mean I’m perfect. Far from it. I’m sarcastic and impatient which can result in some pretty dick-like behaviour. I try to keep it under control but sometimes against my better judgement, I can get a bit snarky, even with people I love. I hate being kept waiting and incompetence is my kryptonite. You can be as inefficient as you like in your own home, I don’t give a shit but if I reminded you four times to book a table at a restaurant and you didn’t do it, you’ll hear about it.


If you suspect that sometimes you’re a bit of a dick, here are a few things you can do to fix that.

1. Admit that you’re a dick 

It’s not easy but you can do it. I did it just then when I admitted I’m sarcastic and impatient. We all like to think we’re perfect but the truth is, we’re all really selfish. All of us. Even the most saintly among us. Once you admit you’re a bit of jerk and pinpoint how that presents itself, you’re well on your way to being able to correct that behaviour. My dick-ness comes out in snarky comments. For you, it might be passive aggressiveness, actual aggressiveness or simply being inconsiderate. You can’t correct a bad habit unless you admit you have that bad habit.

2. Spend one whole day actively being considerate towards other people

Spend a full day concentrating on being considerate in everything you do. Washing up your lunch plate straight away so no one else has to do it, letting a car merge into your lane even though according to the law you don’t have to, opening doors for people, texting someone you love to see how they’re doing, letting your partner pick what you have for dinner tonight. Just do it for one day and it will be eye opening how easy it is to be considerate of other people.

3. Stop playing the victim 

It’s easy to fall into the trap of blaming your own bad behaviour on the incident that ‘made’ you behave that way. You would never have yelled at your partner if they just put their damn washing in the basket. You would never have beeped your horn and yelled at that guy on the road if he just drove more responsibly. You would never have written that awful email about your colleague if he just showed up to work and actually DID his work. Unfortunately, you have no control over the way other people behave. Ever. The only thing you have control over is your reaction to the way other people behave and if you constantly find yourself blaming other people for your own behaviour, the first thing to do is monitor your own reactions.

4. Give your manner a critique 

I’m the not-so-proud owner of a hardcore resting bitch face. There’s not a whole lot I can do about it and most of the time it’s not a problem because I work for myself from home and no one sees me except Mr Smaggle and he’s used to it. I’m very aware of my Resting Bitch Face when I’m out in public at events or parties and try to make myself look as approachable and friendly as possible. I already have a strong snarky streak in me and if that pops out at the same time as my Resting Bitch Face, it can get ugly very quickly. Keep your face relaxed and open, keep your arms unfolded and concentrate on keeping your tone approachable and welcoming.

5. Listen 

Most of my ‘Oh my god was I just a total dick???’ moments come from when I speak without thinking. If you’re one of these people too, the best thing to do is just pause and listen. Listen to the conversation, listen to the person you’re with and consider your response before you speak. It sounds simple enough but it’s a lifesaver if you’re the type of person who tends to speak and regret it. Like me.

Are you guilty of being a dick sometimes? How does your bad behaviour present itself?

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  1. JessB 6 years ago

    Yes, I can get really cross at bad customer service- I work in customer service and I’m great at it, so when I’m served by people who don’t listen or who just keep getting it wrong, it really irritates me.
    Disorganisation also drives me crazy, when people just haven’t thought something through or don’t have enough staff to make it work- the last time I got really cross in public was when there were roadworks down St Kilda Road and the teams were replaced with buses, and on the very last morning, there was no sign of a bus and no staff member there to explain what was happening. The line was getting longer and longer, and the closest staff member kept avoiding everyone’s questioning looks. It was the avoiding that really got me! Sometimes it’s your job to get into a situation you know is going to be shit! Finally I stormed over to him to ask where the hell the bus was and why there was no staff member there to tell us what was happening? He had no answer but the bus finally turned up – and as soon as I got on I regretted how I’d spoken to him.
    I think if you find that you’re really furious often, or frequently coldly sarcastic then you might need to think about some anger management techniques.

  2. There are definitely ways to express your unhappiness with product or service received without being a bonehead about it. If I got an undrinkable coffee (and it would have to be pretty vile), I would take it back because I paid for it and expect to be able to consume it but I would say something along the lines of “Hi, this tastes a bit burnt/whatever and I can’t drink it – could I get another one please?”

    • Cindy 6 years ago

      Exactly, Beth! You don’t need to put up with it, and not say anything, but you can say something in a helpful, rather than abusive, way, and they can learn from that.

    • Michaela 6 years ago

      I try to do exactly this. I don’t want to be rude but I’m no pushover either.

  3. I can be a major dick when some loser tries to pitch their get rich quick scheme on me.

  4. Michaela 6 years ago

    I’m often a real heel right back to someone who’s being a dick to me, provided they aren’t an authority figure with a firearm on their hip….

    I realize that being a dick to another dick doesn’t cancel out the dickishness, but sometimes it feels really empowering to give a person a taste of their own medicine.

  5. KezUnprepared 5 years ago

    I think it comes down to empathy and being self aware when it comes to your baggage that you bring to the coffee shop/road/relationships etc. Like, learning that dumping your bad day/month/year on somebody else is a dick move and you’re not more special than anyone else so why do you have the right to behave that way just because you’re suffering? Imagine if everyone did that – the world would be a miserable place! It’s the non dicks that make it lovely/bearable. Not being a dick is a choice!
    You can hate the coffee but be constructive and kind in your comments about it. You can not like somebody’s actions/attitude about an issue without resorting to personal attacks. You can walk away rather than surround yourself with unnecessary drama. You can be the bigger person so you can live with yourself and retain your dignity.

    • Author
      Carly Jacobs-Smaggle 5 years ago

      Yes to all of this!

  6. Marla Trujillo 4 years ago

    I’m a female but I can be a real dickhead too sometimes. I enjoyed reading this article. Made me realize that women can be even worse at times. I’m actually a very nice person. I really appreciate good service but I also appreciate great advice, but I do get annoyed at restaurants with bad food, bad service. I feel that way not just at restaurants but at grocery stores, clothing stores, etc., not so much driving anymore. Been in too many accidents to be a dickhead just because someone wants to cut in front of me. It’s not worth the stress. As for restaurants, I often times forget that the person serving me is only 18 years old or so. I’m gonna work really hard to not bitch over Bad service unless it’s mean spirited. That’s a whole other issue. LBut cold coffee doesn’t warrant somebody to be stripped of their dignity. I’m so glad I came across this post today.
    Peace ??

  7. Bertha 2 years ago

    it’s interesting that most of the comments here are regarding minimum wage service jobs, where it’s literally built into the system that you have more power and are more socially elevated. Therefore adding frustration and impatience is definitely on you. If someone is working hard for $6 an hour, or even working depressed and slowly, give pause and thank your lucky stars for your high paying cushy job. Take a breath and wait to be served. Because that’s what’s happening Master. you are being served by a slave. No matter the situation in that case, please I beg you, be kind.

    • John 1 year ago

      Well said.

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