Dear Bonds,

How do you deal with a jerk? It seems like there are so many out there right now—male and female—whether it’s at the grocery store or online or just walking around the neighborhood. Everyone seems irritated and out for themselves. Today I went to Home Depot to buy some weedkiller and some guy blatantly cut in line and then had the nerve to start berating me for calling him out. I’ve had it! —Fed Up

Dear Fed Up,

I agree, lots of people are falling short of their best behavior at the moment. Some days it feels like everyone’s gone nuts. It helps to remember that people are stressed and more than a little freaked out. Errands—and everything else—feel more dangerous, and folks are in a hurry to get back to their own bubbles, where life feels safer. Of course, some people are just plain rude, no matter what’s going on.

I recently wrote about bullies; these are people who use their strength or power to intimidate or harm someone they see as vulnerable. A bully could certainly be described as a jerk. But not all jerks are bullies. Some jerks are just obnoxious, self-absorbed or inconsiderate.