A strong point of view is good. The problem is when people use that backbone to say anything they want whenever they want, and label their behavior as simply being picky, blunt or opinionated.
“I call things the way I see them,” they say. “That’s just who I am. If people can’t handle it, that’s their problem.”
Fair enough. But when one’s point of view starts flirting with a sharp wit and razor tongue, something darker, meaner, and alienating can emerge. In short order, one can morph from being funny and into a hateful, ugly bitch. And it can happen without her even knowing it.
Studies show that negative comments and behavior can lead to isolation, which increases feelings of depression and sadness — even if one doesn’t show those feelings in public. Some people have enough self awareness to ask, “Am I mean?” and start looking inward. Others, sadly, do not. But if you are someone who wonders, the first step is to see if the problem actually exists.
Here are five warning signs along with some tips to get you away from Bitchville U.S.A. and on the road to being a stronger, more confident, happier human being.
After a night out do you usually criticize the event or thank your friends for a great evening? Do you find at least one negative thing to say about most situations? Life coach Michael Moniz advises one to look at the bright side whenever possible. “Be careful when you find yourself critiquing everything and everyone around you. You want to make sure you appreciate first.”
We often laugh at TV characters who make snarky judgments, but in real life that gets old. No one wants to hang out with someone who’s constantly judging others because it’s assumed you’ll judge them as well. Deep, meaningful relationships are built on trust, but you can’t trust a person who’s constantly mocking others– even if you think it’s just in good fun.
Whether you flaked on a party or promised a guy you’d call him and then didn’t, lying will hurt you in the end. Even a perfectly innocent “fib” can dirty your reputation.
“Telling the truth is always the best answer,” Moniz says. “It is not rude to politely tell a guy you are not interested. Sure, the person can be disappointed but he will appreciate your honesty. Honesty saves so much time and so many relationships.”
Sometimes situations can be disappointing, but is talking about it part of your shtick?
For example, do you go for an eye roll, a dramatic sigh, or a sharp retort just to score a laugh? Now and then it may be appropriate, but too many negative responses annoy most people. Know your “act” and know your audience. When you see people (or yourself) growing bored with your behavior then it’s time to change things up. Appreciate the positive now and then because there’s nothing wrong with enjoying life.
Opinions are like… well, you know the old saying. The truth is that if your view of something isn’t benefiting anyone or may actually hurt another person’s feelings, then keep that opinion to yourself– even if you think it would be funny or “right” to share it.
Before you say anything, think about why you’re giving an opinion. If it’s to help the other person then ask them if they even want to hear your viewpoint. As Moniz says, “When you ask someone first, you are not giving an opinion and are now giving welcomed feedback. Your friend is more accepting of the information because you asked.”
And if she doesn’t want your opinion? Then move on. It’s not your job to tell anyone how to live.
Just because life is a bitch doesn’t mean you have to be. It’s always best to follow the old adage of treating others the way you want to be treated. It will not only improve the lives of those around you, but it could make you a happier person as well.