The De Facto Guide to Dealing With Jerks.

It happens.

You are hurrying along toward your goal and run headlong onto a jerk.

A selfish, unaware dream-crushing monster of a human being.

Sometimes (sadly), it's a person you know already -- a parent, your priest, or a co-worker.

Other times it's a random person with equally destructive powers -- the impatient attendant at the DMV, the apathetically annoyed waiter taking your order at dinner, or the mom cutting you off in car line so that their super-achieving "Billy" won't be late for karate class.

They probably didn't wake up in the morning with a plan to ruin your day. But none the less, that's what seems to be happening.

And if you are not careful, you can let these jerks distract you from your mission.

If you don't know how to handle them, then it's likely you'll find yourself being angry and petty. Neither of which are great talents to have in working madly towards your goals.

So what to do?

Well, it's not easy.  Know that.

There isn't one final "Finish Him" Mortal Combat blow you can apply to these jerks to get them out of your way, but you can use one or several of the following kung fu moves and watch the problem disappear quite quickly.

1. Call them out for being a jerk

Sometimes you need to stand up and confront a jerk.

Just remember that this is probably the most risky move. You're probably going to be in an irrationally emotional state so you're likely to make a fool out of yourself if you're not careful. BUT. It's still a good move -- especially when a jerk is also a bully.

You might try to say something something with a half smile like: "Hey dude, That was a jerk move. Were you trying to do that?" By wording it this way, you give them a way to apologize quickly and possibly explain why you are seeing their activity in the wrong way.

Many times, you standing up causes this behavior to stop.

2. Feel sorry for them and move out of the way

Sometimes, you learn that the person being the jerk is really a person in a lot of pain who is "acting out" to try to feel in control of some part of their life. In fact, this is quite often the case.

This type of behavior is almost always a way to counter-balance inadequacies. And since this selfish, jerky behavior is public, you have to feel sorry for the person putting on the whole exhibition.

But take note.  This is different from you being "full of yourself". So don't interpret it that way. This is you showing kindness and empathy.

3. Use their behavior as a lesson for those around you

Take the time to pause and point out how unacceptable this behavior this is to those around you. Use it as a learning experience. Use it as a reminder to yourself to not be that same type of person.

Instead of shaking your head and looking down on jerks, you might be honest with yourself and think about how you get to be that guy at times. How sometimes when you are busy or distracted or angry, you do things that other people interpret as "jerk moves".

If you are a mentor, a friend, or a parent, you can use this experience (or person) to highlight how what we do affects others.  By being aware, we become better prepared.

4. Mentally talk yourself back from your frustration

Jerks can get inside your head faster than just about anything else. And it's never positive.

The hurtful things they say to you and the mean things they do to you will have a lasting impact if you don't stop and make a conscious, focused effort to move it out of your head. The other person will move on, but you'll be stuck with bad thoughts and fears rattling around in your brain. You need to take a moment (or a series of moments) and get your head back in the game.

Quite literally, you need to stop everything you are doing and remind yourself that the person talking to you is a jerk. And maybe that's not the type of person you need to be listening to.

Jerks are everywhere.

You don't get the option to live in a fairy-tale world where no one is mean to you and people go out of their way to make sure your emotions don't get ruffled.

Sometimes jerks happen.

But now, you know how to deal with them.