The difference between being a maverick and an asshole

Things I am sick of: people who brand themselves as a maverick, nonconfirmist, rebel, straight-shooter, (insert “edgy” adjective here)…and then use that as an excuse to do whatever the hell they want. Act first, ask questions later, not think about other peoples’ feelings or experiences, and any time they get called on their shit? Yo, you just don’t get their badass rebel vibe, man! Don’t be such a hater!

Sad fact: sometimes you’re not being a rebel. You’re just kind of being a dick. 

How to tell if you’re being a jerk or not:

You’re wasting someone elses’ time or energy.

Are you sending someone a long email that they didn’t ask for, explaining all the reasons they’re wrong? Are you asking someone to do something to gain your approval or respect – especially if they never indicated they want it in the first place? Wasting someone elses’ time is one of the most dickish things you can do, because they can’t ever get it back afterwards.

You’re violating boundaries.

Are you giving someone advice when they said they only wanted a space to vent? Are you publishing things that were said in private (i.e. via email, private message, or DM) publicly – whether you’re naming the person or not? Did they say they don’t want to hear advice about their opt-in but instead they want to hear advice on their copy, and you’re critiquing them on everything from the name of their business to the footer on their website?

You have to say “the truth hurts” to make yourself feel better about saying what you’re saying.

“The truth hurts” is one of my massive red-flag phrases. People who say it usually are fully aware they’re being assholes, but they want to feel justified and like some kind of Badass Internet Vigilante, so they spew a pile of vitriol and wrap it up with “sorry, but the truth hurts!” No. Your face hurts.

You’re giving someone unsolicited advice under the guise of “tough love.”

Unsolicited advice is a pet peeve of mine. And opinions on it vary wildly. But quite frankly, unless someones’ life or well-being is at risk, I don’t think it is ever called for – especially if it’s unsolicited criticism-cloaked-as-advice. Not least because being on the receiving end of that, there is little to no way to sort out whatever is actual, practical advice versus what’s the advice-sender’s personal baggage or history being transferred over. Unless I ask for your opinion on how I’m running my life, work, relationship, or business, then I damn well don’t want it*, and giving it to me anyways is intrusive and asinine.

The phrase “tough love” is kind of like “the truth hurts.” If you’re saying that, you’re just trying to make yourself feel better about doing something that you know is wrong. Don’t make me pull out my machete of internet justice on your ass.

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*I will of course make exceptions for the aforementioned risks to life/well-being of myself or others and sometimes make exceptions for close friends. 

The final decider?

If someone behaved the way you’re behaving – for example, critiqued you publicly without giving you the chance to defend yourself, sent you an email criticizing your branding and/or life choices, or said something that hurt you deeply and then followed it up with “the truth hurts.” Genuinely switch roles here. (Key point: with you having no idea of the other persons’ motives behind saying or doing these things.)  Would you feel justified in telling yourself about how they’re such a hater? Would being on the receiving end of that experience make you want to post a rant to Facebook and rally all your friends? Or bitch about it over happy hour drinks with your best friend?

Because if so, then chances are, you’re being kind of a jerk – whether intentionally or not. So. You know. Stop. You’re an adult. You know better. Just fucking stop it. Apologize if you have to, own the fact that you screwed up – we all do – and improve your damn behavior, already.

And for shit’s sake, stop calling yourself a rebel every chance you get. It’s tacky.

PS: if reading this list made you mad at me…well, the truth hurts, yanno. ;)

Photo Credit: Libertinus via Compfight cc

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