Thursday, June 9, 2011

Why do people have to be jerks?

I realize this question has many answers, and I would love to hear some of yours.

I guess I'm just naive, or stupid, or this heat is making me particularly sensitive (and cranky), but I am constantly amazed, and hurt, by how incredibly insensitive or thoughtless or mean people can be -- especially so-called friends. (I am not even going to touch on bosses or people we work with. That is a whole other blog post.)

Do people get off on being jerks or making others feel bad? Does it make them feel better making others feel worse? (Btw, those are rhetorical questions.)

Why when a friend tells you she never went to a prom and has prom envy would you say "I went to six proms! Proms are great!"

Why when a friend tells you she is on a diet would you eat a big hunk of chocolate cake in front of her and announce, "I love chocolate cake! Don't you?"

Why when a friend tells you he is really struggling financially would you say "Hey, want to go for a ride in my new Ferrari? I just got her, and she only cost a quarter mill!"

Why when a friend tells you he was just laid off would you brag about your promotion?

Why when you opine to a friend, "I'd love to be able to go out more," does he then go and on about all of the great restaurants and parties he goes to?

Why do people leave nasty anonymous comments on blogs?

And what is with all of the one-upping?

Let me know via the Comments.


Betty Cracker said...

I think it stems from one of two things: 1) some folks are straight-up sadists, and 2) others are insecure and think (wrongly) that bringing you down lifts them up somehow.

People who tell delivery horror stories to pregnant women fall into camp 1. Did that ever happen to you? I can't tell you how many glittering-eyed mombies sank their claws into my forearm and regaled me with tales of endless labor and gruesome episiotomies when I was expecting. Why? Because they're sadistic harpies, that's why.

In the insecure camp are people who think life is a zero-sum game and therefore view your successes as potential losses for themselves, so they have to belittle your accomplishments. Camp 2 has a weird subset of people who feel compelled to one-up failures and pain -- to attempt to rob your suffering of its legitimacy, as it were.

I confess I don't get it either. I take it as a sign of mental health.

larissa said...

General theory
Maybe we're too nice and they're
Thoughtless and heartless

Anonymous said...

My favorite meanies are those that drive like lunatics and when you honk or yell at them out of a flight or fight auto-response, they say "f-u"! I just don't get that mentality. We all mess up but man, what happened to apologizing for almost running someones dog over because you HAD to turn red on a No Turn on Red and didn't look both ways. "f-u"? Really?

This is why I don't own a gun...

I guess we were raised with better manners, including empathy, and sympathy for others.

Mean Stupid People Suck!

Dave S. said...

My takeaway from this post is "Six proms?!" Are we talking six JUNIOR proms?

Also, what Betty said. Also, too, a friend whose thoughtless comment caused hurt feelings would most likely apologize if that were pointed out. Been on both sides of that one myself, albeit not simultaneously.

Don't waste your time with cowards or morons.

KGWORDS said...

All of this nastiness is a sign of our collective insanity. Our world is spiritually bankrupt. We vallue or things and not ourselves or the people in our lives. Our materialism is drowning out our humanity. Why do we go to restaurants with loved ones and each of us pull out our smart phones and sit at the table in silence? Why do we text each other instead of call each other? How is human contact actually becoming obsolete? Why do we rely on Facebook to make us feel more popular than we are. Popularity is totally overrated. Take it from a formerly popular person...
Like your blog, J. KG

Anonymous said...

The mean actions you describe are by those of low self esteem. The only way they can make themselves feel good is to put down others. - Charlene

Jim Smith II said...

See, and I think it actually has less to do with people being jerks and just not being self aware (or self-centered).

They hear the word "prom" and don't really hear the rest of what you're saying, they just want to talk about themselves...I'm sorry, did you say something?

J. said...

Wow, these may be the best comments I have ever received. Thank you.

@Betty, never had to deal with the sadistic pregnancy harpies. Or else I just tuned them out. And like your explanation.

@Larissa, not sure if we're too nice, but definitely not thoughtless or heartless.

@Anonymous #1, that is a whole other special category of jerk (one which I am, sadly, also familiar with).

@Dave S., I didn't ask. I'm guessing it was split between junior and senior, though I am younger than the person who sent me the prom comment and no one I knew had a junior prom back then. And sadly, if I eliminated all the cowards and morons in my life, I would have even fewer "friends" than I do now.

@KG, so true. And thanks for the kind words re the blog. But "formerly popular"? You were one of the most popular people I knew!

@Charlene, I know you are right, but it still sucks when you are the target of their insecurity. Seriously, I think I was born with a "kick me" sign tattooed on my forehead.

@Jim, I think you are spot on -- and didn't even think of that. Thanks. Btw, just bought a new bike. :-)