I have a tendency to consider incidents that happened in the past as "Let bygones be bygones." And I try to move on. But, when the opposite person involved in the incident doesn't seem to think on the same lines, a kind of unpleasant friction arises between us. This becomes very awkward, especially so when we face each other after quite a few years. Clearly, they have not moved on and still want to indulge in something that would boost their ego. But, I have clearly forgotten about such incidents.

The incidents could be anything related to teasing each other, making fun of them which they could or couldn't reciprocate or just anything.

Recently, I have witnessed one such person. When I met that person, I was very normal but s/he was not and said something demeaning to me. I was initially taken aback at that and later I understood that making such statements boosted their ego.

And then there was yet another person who was giving me death stares after a good five years.

I was wondering is it really worth to remember every single incident that happened in my life. If I can't, and if I come across such persons, how do I deal with them.


I have a tendency to overlook things, I guess I encounter problems because of this. While I am trying to remember how I am going to interact with people even for the first time, I want to know how to deal with people who surprise me suddenly with their 'ego-boosting' behavior.

Edit: What is it that I want? I do realize that we cannot get along with everyone. I need to develop more awareness about myself with that aspect. As the same time, I understand that my conversations rather diversions from their self-centered discussions was one of the reasons for their nasty behavior even after quite a few years. What I would really like to know is how do I evade these self-centered discussions? There is always one person such person whom I encounter at a professional level or at personal level. It is not always possible to not to be part of their discussion. They could be my peers, my relatives, my seniors or juniors, just any random person.

All I can think of is to keep mum to prevent any unpleasantness at a later point of time/life. Will that be the only step I need to take?

Edit :

I am adding the context as requested.

Kindly note the person(s) I have mentioned about are very much self-centered. They have the knack to pull people towards them with their persona and mislead them. At the same time, they try to center all the conversations around them, could be their own family members, or their own office related work or their own lifestyle. Anything at all, and it has to be around them.

When I met the person, many years ago, I found the self-centered discussions uninteresting and diverted to various other topics. This person would keep mum, staring nastily at me all the time, because the attention of the group was diverted towards me.

At that moment, I didn't think much about that diversion, but I did realize later that the person's ego was hurt and since s/he couldn't do anything about it, grudge built up. I was cool as a cucumber but s/he wasn't.

There was no bullying involved. It was mostly diverting the discussion from their self-centered ones to a wide range ones. And I did make fun of them too because I was just giving it back.

  • 2
    These 'incidents'... do they get resolved? Like, you or the other party apologizes, and the other accepts the apology? Or is this more a 'something happened but let's not talk about it or try and resolve it at a later time because the past is the past' kind of thing?
    – Tinkeringbell
    Jun 29 '18 at 12:53
  • 3
    @XtremeBaumer True. I still like to know what kind of 'incident' we're dealing with though ;) It depends on which it is whether this is about skills to resolve such situations or asserting a boundary of 'don't bring up the past'
    – Tinkeringbell
    Jun 29 '18 at 13:01
  • @XtremeBaumer They are not very hurtful incidents. As I has mentioned in the post, they were kind of teasing, leg pulling incidents which happened from both the ends. But, there are certain people, who only want to make fun of others but cannot handle it when someone reciprocates the same. I am talking about such ones.
    – Sara
    Jun 29 '18 at 13:28
  • BTW. The description of your behaviour is quite close to bullying to me. Definitely not someone I would want to put up with, and someone that I wouldn't want to get involved with if I met them five years later. What you misinterpreted as "ego-boosting" is most likely caused by genuine dislike.
    – gnasher729
    Jun 30 '18 at 18:04
  • 1
    @Sara Since other people don't see things like you do, yes, it can be seen as bullying. Many bullies don't notice. Since you seem totally unaware and ignorant of people's motivations, it is quite possible that you didn't notice. Bullies also tend to lie about bullying. What reason did you have for your behaviour? Was it to boost your ego? (People often attribute their own faults to others).
    – gnasher729
    Jul 1 '18 at 8:40

It doesn't sound like these later meetings with people are strongly related to specific, individual events (at least from what you've posted in your edits) where they felt wronged. If someone is giving you a "death stare" and not telling you why then it is only your guess that it's due to a specific event. It sounds more like these people simply don't like you very much based on your past interactions.

Even if we accept your description of events as being 100% true in every detail, the self-centered person you described wanted something (a conversation about his/herself), you perceived this desire, decided it was boring to you, and then actively prevented that person from having what they wanted (by redirecting the conversation, though you also mentioned that you focused the group's attention on yourself, which could irritate such a person).

Your post suggests that you were aware of all of this at the time. I don't know that it should be surprising that such a person has negative feelings about you as a someone to interact with, and is therefore less than friendly when you meet.

You also wrote that "And I did make fun of them too because I was just giving it back." This sort of thing can be hard to evaluate. Even if people are teasing one another in a group that doesn't mean that absolutely anything you say is appropriate. It's definitely possible that you said something which was more hurtful or upsetting than you intended, and possibly out of proportion to the others' teasing. This happened to me a lot when I was younger-- I was nervous about participating in conversations, especially friendly teasing with people I didn't know well, and some of my attempts went very differently from how I expected.

Some of those produced specific issues to be dealt with ("I was really upset when you said [X]") and some of them produced people that disliked me ("Upper_Case is just a jerk, and so that's how I treat him"). The former is fixable, the latter is harder.

So, your actual questions:

How do I avoid being surprised by these unpleasant interactions?

A bit more awareness, of yourself and of others, might help. The surprise sounds more like an issue with your expectations than anything else. I don't understand why you would expect a second meeting with the self-centered converser to be anything but negative based on what you posted alone. It could be even worse than that if the teasing got out of hand. It is also absolutely possible that you are more abrasive than you realize.

Some people don't get along with some people, and when that seems to be the case it shouldn't be shocking that you continue to have friction with someone you already suspect dislikes you.

How do I deal with it?

Ignore it. These are people that you already dislike and that seem to already dislike you. I don't see why you would even start an interaction with them, let alone continue one under unpleasant conditions. But if you have to interact I don't see many options to change their opinion of you on the spot, and if they aren't bringing up a specific complaint or explanation for their behavior I don't see much else you can do. You could ask about it, but that extends the interaction and your "past is past" attitude suggests to me that you wouldn't care to address their complaint anyhow.


(I'm sorry if my English is poor)

I think you shouldn't make the assumption they only did that to boost their ego, it is very insensitive from you. If they haven't forgiven the past event it's also maybe because they do not consider the event the same way as you do.

For you it was a small tease, a little harmless mockery but it might have been more for them. I am saying so because I can relate a little to that. When I was younger I was bullied, nothing physical, but mockery. For the other child point of view it was maybe not very important but it did hurt me a lot. Years passed and I know that if I were to meet the guy again I would still feel resent. Not because I want to feel self important, but because he never apologized and recognize he did something wrong.

I am not saying say that we should never tease anyone, but you have to consider how other people feel. And that they might not react the same way as you do to the teasing. Because they experienced different things than you. Teasing is fine but not if it the person feels offended or hurt.

To go back to your question : if you meet someone that seems to resent you for something. Don't assume they are doing it out of ego because it is very incentive from you. Werther you know the reason of their resent or not, apologies. It does not cost anything and they might forgive you and move on. Something like :

I am sorry if I hurt you when I teased you last time. I didn't realize I was being insensitive.

If you don't know why they resent you then you can ask them. They might get even angrier since you did not even remember what you did wrong but it might help them to forget the event and move on.

Then again, you can also meet very resentful people, that want to get back at you even if you apologies. If they won't forgive you after apologizing, just move on. We all have people we will never get along with.

After edit from OP :

The people you describe seem to be very self-centered people not to say narcissistic people . They resent you for hurting their ego. A part from putting own ego aside and admit you were the only one doing the wrong, you cannot do much. I would recommend you to just avoid this kind of narcissistic people, because you won't get anything good from them.

  • Thank you. I guess striking a conversation is a good one. But, what do I do when I get those death stares? I really have no idea how to handle that.
    – Sara
    Jun 29 '18 at 13:50
  • @Sara Edited but I would recommend you to read things about narcissists to see if this correspond to the behavior you witnessed. If so just avoid them. Those people are destructive.
    – guillau4
    Jun 29 '18 at 14:03
  • Agree. It took me a while to understand that they are better left with their own self-centered conversations rather than interrupt and divert. They are destructive in a sense; because the persons I have mentioned about, have the knack to mislead people with their conversations. The charm they possess is rather interesting. They are instigators and the opposite person would never even realize that they are merely becoming relays of instigators. But, I did divert those conversations eons ago, and I face those death stares now. Was wondering how to deal with it.
    – Sara
    Jun 29 '18 at 14:08
  • You can try making them understand that by staring at you, it kinda gives you some credits or ask them if they want a photo ;) or.... Ignore them, they'll eventually get tired of it or find someone else to hate and envy. Even if they are "death" stares they won't kill you :P.
    – guillau4
    Jun 29 '18 at 14:19

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