True Jerks..what are they thinking?!

Hi all
Just a random question I have been pondering for years…
Take your “typical” person.

Now take the people that person interacts with on any substantial basis…friends, coworkers, neighbors, relatives etc etc
Now of that population, there will be a decent fraction that like this person, another fraction kinda neutral, some more that tolerate em, a small fraction that really dont like em, and a few that can’t STAND EM

In others words a small population that considers the person a true jerk, blankety blank blank etc etc

Now, obviously your typical person varies, and the distribution of their associates feelings towards them varies, but I think the above description is adequate.

Another factor is that most of the time one person REALLY doesnt like another is a matter of taste…all they talk about is sports and you could care less…they tell jokes you cant stand…they are rabid liberal and your rabid conservative…etc etc…

Now, here is the point.

Ever know someone pretty much EVERYONE outright hates? I’ve met a couple and I’ve always wondered “what the heck are they thinking?”

Don’t they have a clue that pretty much EVERYTHING they seem to do and say just drives EVERYONE else around em nutty?

Now, some of these folks seem to know that and enjoy the fact - sick, but at least its a motivation…

I guess what really amazes me are the one’s that seem sooooo totally clueless, and even when told that they are in that category it seems to just go in one ear and out the other to be instantly forgot…

Is it some kinda mental illness…like sociopaths inability to empathize with others…are they truelly in their own little self contained mental world?

And another thing…these folks often seem to have a wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend…and THAT really makes you wonder WTF is going on there!

Nice people seem to have trouble “hooking” up…but these extremes cases seem to almost be guaranteed to be in a relationship!

And when you meet their significant other, they usually seem pretty darn normal/nice!?

Just pondering!

Anyone got any good stories about such social abberations?

take care



Pit material - moved.


I think answers to your questions will be tough to come by as even “jerks” don’t think they are jerks at all. They think they are normal and other people are “jerks”. JMO

it’s like the whole perfume thing - every one knows you shouldn’t put on too much. and everyone thinks they aren’t. Some of 'em are wrong.

The reason these people annoy everone is because they are incapable of picking up the feedback that they get from other people. Same thing is going on with the perfume example. The reason why some people think they aren’t using too much perfume, and are wrong, is because they don’t notice the feedback. People who have difficulty with feedback generally think they are above average, so when someone directly insults them, they just figure the person is being an asshole.

I believe there was a study a while back on this subject that sparked a flurry of interest. According to it, the people who are the most self confident are the least capable. The guy who think’s he’s a laugh riot is the guy who’s tasteless jokes send a whole room silent in shock.

I thought of one person I knew that was hated by everyone. Even his family would have nothing to do with him. I hated him myself, and yet I can’t tell you what was wrong with him in any way that would make you understand why everyone despised him so much. He was just very socially inept, didn’t know how to say anything tactfully, pushed himself into situations where he wasn’t wanted, gave a lot of unsolicited advice, etc.

I felt sorry for the guy, but only from a distance.

So is it a form of high-functioning autism, do we think?

Can we give some examples instead of vague generalities about “these people”?

These are the jerks I know, I know

  • the ones who have nothing positive to say about anyone, at any time. They hate their jobs, and their co-workers, and their lives. They will find a negative spin on just about anything you say. They are also not encumbered with any sort of self-reflection and aren’t aware of the common denominator of all the negative relationships in their lives. (Example. A former co-worker. I can’t describe her any better than I just did above. She complained constantly and every moment with her was torment because I couldn’t do anything but sit and listen to her negativity. She never had any money, for instance, because she had a mortgage and I couldn’t possibly understand because I am only a renter. She couldn’t move up in her career because everyone she had ever worked with was a nasty horrible person so she couldn’t get any good references. She couldn’t do her current job because nobody would get back to her when she called them. Etc.)

  • The ones who know more than you do about everything, or at least, that is what they will tell you at great length and you won’t have the opportunity to interrupt to tell them that, in fact, you DO know what you are talking about. (Example. I burned my arm and it was healing well. A co-worker saw this and immediately launched into a lecture on first aid for burns, how as soon as you burn it you should cover it in Vaseline, and so on and so forth, and he wasn’t at all interested to hear that (a) it was healing nicely already, thank you, and (b) Vaseline really isn’t the best thing for a burn, to put it mildly, and © I didn’t care enough to talk about it anyway.)

  • The ones who don’t care at all about anyone but themselves. “I just heard that my brother-in-law got arrested on Tuesday and I don’t know anyone who can bail him out.” said my friend. “Oh, dear, that must be horrible for you. But oh my goodness, isn’t the weather just lovely today?” said the women she made the mistake of saying that to.

What came to mind for me was David Brent of The Ofiice.
He fits the OP’s definition of a jerk perfectly.

Unskilled and Unaware of it

And here I thought they were making a movie with Steve Martin and Jamie Lee Curtis about a secret agent whose cover is the inventor of the Opti-Grab…

It’s not very often that journal articles make me laugh out loud, but this line did:


But…but, eveyone likes me. Don’t you?

Some people don’t notice because people try to be nice to them. There’s a girl in my class like that- she’s annoying as all fuck but people started out trying to be nice to her. After all, she probably needs some friends. right…? RIGHT?? Eventually everyone just got annoyed with her and refused to talk to her.

Now, right there, they become the bad guys. When they got fed up and refused to talk to her because she’s so clueless and annoying (for the record, she’s ditzy, pushy, never leaves you alone, always has something negative to say about everyone else, never takes responsibility for herself, and tries way too hard to be cool.) she gets the idea that they’re just mean nasty people. THEY’RE the jerks and she’s fine. This comes mostly from the fact that she does not seem to pick up on anything subtle at all, so anything short of a “stay away from me! You’re the most annyoing person i’ve ever met! I don’t want to talk to you and I don’t want to hear what you have to say! just leave me alone!” doesn’t get through. There’s no nice way to tell her to stay the hell away from you.

So what do you have to say that’s positive about your former co-worker?

The problem is, I guess, that everybody has someone who loves them. And if the person is negative, then the person who loves them possibly sees them as observant or helpful.

I had a boss who started every morning yelling at the warehouse manager, at the top of her lungs, “I’m going to rip your head off!!!” (she probably used more exclamation marks than that, but 3 are enough to denote her complete insanity)

I worked there for 11.5 weeks and still hold the record for “Susie’s assistant who put up with her the longest”. The record for shortest is still the one who got there at 10am (the hour we were told to report in for our first day), worked until 1pm (lunchtime), was told she could not get lunch because she hadn’t started at the same time as everybody else (me, I’d brought a sub just in case), took the phone, called the temp agency and said “I’ve got better things to do with my life, bye”.

Apparently Susie is wholeheartedly convinced that the duty of the QC manager is to make everybody hate him. She sure works hard at it; her first remark when we were introduced was “let’s say how long this one lasts”.

I met a lot of nice people there; since the job was close to home I run into some of them occasionally. The job taught me a lot of things about “how not to be a manager” (Susie wasn’t the only piece of shit there, if she was she wouldn’t have kept the job), about the rubber industry, it looks good in my CV (it’s one of the jobs I can list as “QC system auditor” and not “lab tech”). But like Calculus, I already passed it and don’t intend to touch it ever again.

Yeah, I had a pseudo boss kinda like that…he wasnt a jerk ALL the time and people that did not work under him or with him probably thought he was a pretty decent fellow…but at times he could be a royal you know what to his underlings…

HE used to scream my name down the hall on an almost daily basis when he thought I had screwed something up. The vast majority of the time is was because he was misintpreting what I had done…or I had done what what he had ASKED…rather that what he had WANTED (my mind reading skills have never been that good unfortunately). He got so bad that way that some of guys made him put stuff down in righting…not that helped any…

I developed a real pavlovian (sp?) response to the yelling. Except on official documents, I never used my real first name, everyone referred to me by my nickname. But experience became so unpleasant over time, that when I went to my next job, I had them refer to me by my legal first name…and it was years before they even knew about my nickname! It was almost like I was leading a secret double life…trying to keep friends and family from revealing my nickname.

Another funny thing…in reality he was a gloried go to boy between us and our technical customers…he “hung out” at the base with them alot, came back, told us what they “wanted”, we did it, and he took it out there and presented it. He had NO idea what was in the computer simulations, what could be done easily, done, or no way done at all, or even how to turn on a computer for that matter.

Well, we would get these assignments, and end up doing a weeks worth of variations before the base was happy with what we had done. Then we got an “inside man” …turns out the base engineers would want A…he would decide B was better…so we did B…then C then D until finally what we did resembled what the base folks wanted in the first darn place! And to add insult to injury, during this whole process he would be telling the base folks it was US! guys back at the office screwing things up!

Well, on one particularly bad day I had enough. I do this assigment and generate the numbers for a graph that has 2 curves on it for two different things. Its just the numbers, with crude labels and its been sanitized so that by itself its unclassified material. He takes it down to the secretary with the classified computer and the nice graphics package to make a pretty/classifed graph of it.

A few minutes later I here the awful gut wrenching bellowing of his voice…@##$%%% that !@@#### Bob screwed things up again, he’s got those lines mislabeled…switch the labels!!! Well, I thought to myself…why doesnt he come down and ask me about it? But he didn’t.

He comes back, hands me my original, and the new one done by the secretary. I look at mine, and its very clear which label goes to which line. Then I glance at the new one and and note that it looks very nice (the secretaries job was only to deal with classification issues and make presentation look pretty, which she was good at).

Well, off to the base he goes. He thought the graphs were reversed because he had only thought about it for a moment. When I had crunched the numbers I thought the same thing, but I had looked more carefully into the simulation output and quickly figured out why they were the way they were.

Well, later he comes back FURIOUS…the base engineers had their own crude simulation and they knew it was backwards…and he spent a good deal of time tap dancing trying to tell em “his” graph was the right one…to no avail.

Well, him and the big boss come in and I’m in deep doo doo. I get his graph and mine…I look at em and say "who the hell changed my labels around? He gets mad and flustered…so we go down the secretary and ask her who changed the labels…without pause she says “Dick did, he said you mislabeled em”…Then I ask Dick "why didnt you walk down the hall and ask me about it…or at least tell me when you showed me the graph? I knew why those curves were the way they were…you should never change someone’s data without asking or knowing why first…

that made my year…
gawd what a job that was…

take care