Note: the below don’t make you, or them, a bad person. But they do make you, or them, or me, a not-great person, a not-yet-grown-up person, and in some cases, yeah…a (shudder) bad person. That said, we all have failings, and if any of these remind you or yourself, well, practice the opposite.
Be accountable. Own up to it. Look to change. I know I have failings (like getting frustrated, giving up in a temper-y 2-year-old way), and I need to work on myself.
That’s our human path:
1. Not owning up to their mistakes and always attributing it to someone or something else. You know, The Narcissist’s Prayer:
“That didn’t happen.
And if it did, it wasn’t that bad.
And if it was, that’s not a big deal.
And if it is, that’s not my fault.
And if it was, I didn’t mean it.
And if I did, you deserved it.”
“People who have never done anything wrong. If you’ve known a person for any amount of time and you’ve never heard them say “I’m an asshole, i fucked up..” they are probably a terrible person and will victimize you in ways you can’t imagine.”
2. Littering. “It’s not a violent act or anything, but it does indicate a lack of respect that usually carries into other aspects of the person’s life.
Yes, kinda along the same lines of people who don’t return their grocery cart. That lack of respect.”
I’d add to that: knowing single use plastic sucks and still casually getting it when there’s a clear choice (like bring your own).
Or eating meat and dairy when you know it causes immense suffering, loss, murder…and, you know, climate crisis. Wait: did I just say you’re a bad person for eating meat or drinking milk!? Not quite: I said “knowing better, and still going ahead and doing that mean thing.”
3. They mistreat animals. Similar to #5.
4. Gossiping with intent to harm, or benefit from it. “If you have someone that you know that talks trash about others… odds are very high that they are also talking trash about you to others.”
5. Bullying. But more subtly, this can show in how they treat the homeless, waiters, retail or service workers, folks on the line for complaints. Anyone “weaker” or more vulnerable, including lonely folks at parties, say.
6. Casually lying about small things instead of having emotional intelligence, straightforward yet complex communication that includes listening, apologizing, eye contact. Doesn’t make the person a bad person, but does make them immature, not yet an adult.
7. Ouch, say many Elephant readers: “They try too hard to prove they’re a good person.”
“True, watch out for people who call themselves ’empaths'”
“Absolutely! It’s a way to make other people’s emotions about themselves.”
“And priming the audience for manipulation.”
8. Taking other’s joys or successes as insults. Look, we all feel lonely and left out and incomplete, sometimes, looking at others from the outside. But going beyond that to belittle others’ joys or successes…not healthy.
“They react negatively to others accomplishments. Ie: pointing out something negative about a person being praised.”
9. Again, I don’t view this as making someone a bad person, but I do view this as…inconsiderate, selfish, lazy. That said, I know folks I respect and love who don’t do this, much, or easily:
“When they don’t say things like thank you or please.
I just automatically assume people are assholes when they can’t do these basic, easy acts of kindness.”
10. The way they drive. The way they park.
Much of the above inspired by this thread.