My spirit animal. Image: @TheHappyTalent
Humans evolved to be extremely sensitive to loneliness — we couldn't survive or successfully reproduce while alone, so there was a strong evolutionary pressure to be lonely.
That is why loneliness causes tremendous physical and emotional agony — and why I've spent time writing posts to help the lonely find companionship.
It's also why my replies to the incels who criticize posts like What Men Don't Understand When They Complain, "It's Only Creepy If The Guy Isn't Hot" and "Creepy" Isn't About Attractiveness. It's About Reciprocity are curt, direct, and arguably "vicious."
Because the thing about these guys is, people find them creepy and unpleasant to be around, and most of them have no idea why. They have no idea what they're doing wrong, because most people are too "polite" and "kind," perhaps giving out their number but ignoring the text, or perhaps not calling out annoying behavior.
And therefore, the guys never figure out why no one likes them and keep doing the thing that makes them so off-putting.
In the past, I've encouraged more women to be "rude" for their own safety and happiness. As I wrote in The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Gif That All Women Need to See Immediately:
I wish more women knew that it's okay to tell someone to fuck off. To get out of my house. To stop following me. To back off. If someone isn't listening to you, it is okay to yell. It is okay to call for help. It is okay to be rude. I mean, let's be real, here.
However, being "rude" isn't just a good way to make sure some jerk doesn't impose on your night — it's also a kindness. Most people aren't jerks on purpose. They just don't realize they're being jerks.
By being "rude," you help them identify the problem — and then they can start working on it.
Vesta and I have been spending a lot of time at the beach.
The other day, we crossed paths with a guy, and there was just sort of an instant connection. Before we even started talking, we'd already "clicked."
Through an outdoor, social distance conversation, we discovered our shared love of scuba diving, travel, and road trips — and we even ended up going diving together!
By the end of our first dive, I was already looking for an excuse to ditch him.
But instead, I gave him some honest feedback. Here's how it went down:
ME: I spent two days in Homosassa — the first, I went swimming out of Hunter Springs by myself. It was only $1 to park, and I saw three manatees. The second day --
HIM: I've been diving in Crystal Springs since I was five! You really should have gone to Three Sisters! That's where I go, and I always see THOUSANDS of manatees!
ME: Yeah? Well, I've been diving there since before I was born! And I actually saw MILLIONS of manatees.
ME: Look. You're kind of an obnoxious one-upper. It is rare that I ever get to finish a sentence around you, because you almost always interrupt me with the same story, BUT BETTER!
HIM: I'm not a one-upper!
ME: Yes, you are. Literally everything I've ever said — your truck is better than my truck! Your dive gear is better than my dive gear! Your business is better than my business! Your air consumption is better than my air consumption! You're SUUUUUCH a faster swimmer than I am! You saw a bigger alligator than I did! (Though honestly, half the time, I don't even believe you — did you really think I'd believe that you did a three-hour dive in forty-degree water with no wetsuit? I'm not stupid!)
HIM: But I'm not trying to one-up you!
ME: It doesn't matter if you're TRYING or not. It's what you're doing! I don't know if you do it because you're insecure or if you're trying to impress me or if you just don't give a shit about what I say, but it is obnoxious, and it kind of makes me hate you. If you want to have good charisma, you shouldn't interrupt people constantly. Instead, you should at least pretend you think they're interesting.
I'm not telling you this to be mean. It would be easier to just blow you off. I'm only telling you because I'm trying to help.
Could I have been "nicer" with my feedback? Maybe.
But to me, a euphemism is a lie. If I'd been "subtle," he probably wouldn't have picked up on the hint — if subtlety worked, he would have identified and corrected the noxious behavior by now.
Instead, I told him exactly what he's doing wrong — even though it would have been "easier" to just ditch him or ignore the behavior, I made the effort to be vicious, because it was a situation in which viciousness seemed like the greatest kindness.
After all, there's a reason this man was traveling alone.
Similarly, as I wrote in You'd Get Invited to More Parties and Events if You Would Mingle, Instead of Cling:
I love my friends. That's why I'm mean to them.
People in the comments called me a bitch. But I think telling her why I don't want to invite her to parties is 100000000% kinder than just never inviting her to hang out with me again.
It is rare for people to get the kind of feedback that they need to grow, because everyone is so worried about being "nice." Even a lot of professional, paid psychologists don't call their patients out on their bullshit, so they keep doing the same things wrong and their relationships never improve.
Yet as someone who has a master's in psychology, I know that a huge amount of unhappiness stems directly from interpersonal dysfunction.
And this is exactly why I think viciousness is the new kindness.
About the Author
Eva is a content specialist with a passion for play, travel... and a little bit of girl power. Read more >
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