There’s a guy. I sort of knew him in college. A few months ago (much to my surprise) he friended me on Facebook. Then came Christmas. We disagreed on a certain expression of our faith. He became very upset. He and a few friends let me know that my eternal destination was somewhere other than heaven. So I unfriended him. Then recently he found me on a mutual friends wall. Rude again. So I ignored him.

Jerks for Jesus. You’ve met them. Of course, there are also jerks for atheists, Jerks for the Republican party, Jerk for the Democratic party. Jerks for the Progressives. Jerks for the local business people. Jerks for weight loss, jerks for eating. Jerks for young people. Jerks for older people and…well you get the idea.

The world has no shortage of people who are stuck telling a bad story. Often these people are jerks for some cause.

But what happens when the jerk for whatever cause is someone in our life? What happens if it is someone we’re close to? How do we manage life when the people around us are telling a bad story? There are a number of things we can do but I think the following list covers most of the ground.

1. Admit it’s frustrating. I’m always amazed at how people refuse to admit that other people they know frustrate them. Take my former sort of friend for instance. If you talked to him, he would tell you that he has the most compelling story ever told in the history of the world. And yet he is so angry. His Facebook wall ins’t very private so I went and looked at his status updates. He updates fairly regularly throughout the day. I had to go back almost 2 months to find one post about something he was thankful for. Never once did I read about his compelling story.

For me, That. Is. So. Frustrating! You have people in your life that frustrate you. You have people in your life who do things that frustrate you. It’s OK to admit it. Without admitting it, you may never be able to deal with it.

2. If possible talk to them about it. If it’s possible, talk to them about it. If you have someone in your life who is using their words and their bad story to drag you down, you need to talk to them. You need to plan how you’re going to talk to them. What is the goal of your talk time? What do you want to happen when that time is done. Deal with the issue, not the person. Talk about how you’re frustrated or hurt. Use words like, “I feel” or “I think.” Who knows? They might hear you. You might be able to restore the relationship.

3. If you can’t talk to them, stop seeing them or at least limit your time with them. We are affected by the people we choose to be around. If someone is constantly telling a bad story, that plot line is going to rub off on you. You don’t have to be friends with everyone. You don’t have to spend copious amounts of time with someone who is bringing you down. Part of telling a good story is making difficult decisions. If you are going to commit to telling a good story with your life, you may have to stop talking to some people who don’t share the same passion. You may have to limit your contact with people you really care about, or who are related to you.

Life is short. We get one chance at this story. It will be written before we know it. Snap your fingers and you’ll be preparing to die. You’re life will have been lived. Tell a good story. Avoid those people who are telling bad stories. Your story and the story of all of us will be better for it. S

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