Jerkitude: (noun) having a rude, hostile, and/or offensive disposition causing you to treat others with general disdain or lack of respect. ex: "You know what his problem is? He has a real jerkitude."
There is a lesson that I have learned in life that has served me well: don't be a jerk. That being said, I don't always get it right. Try as hard as I might to be nice and take the high road, sometimes I can be a real jerk. If you are one of those people that have taken the brunt end of my unintentional jerkitude, let me apologize. I am sorry. I am deeply saddened by my actions. For those of you who have never seen that part of me, congratulations - you have witnessed my better side, the one that I hope to portray more frequently.
People in general can be mean. It happens. Taylor Swift writes songs about them. Screenwriters use them as inspiration for movie villains. And they will one day be employed by the nerds they once bullied.
Speaking of Taylor Swift, there is a word she's popularized that has become prevalent to the point of losing it's meaning: hater. As in, "The haters gonna hate hate hate hate hate. ... so shake it off." (Now you're going to be singing that song song song song for the rest of the day. Again, allow me to apologize, I'm sorry.)
That word is frequently tossed around in some of my social circles. If one was gullible enough to believe that every usage of the word hater was truly and accurately applied, then the whole world is populated by haters that want to do nothing more than poop on your dreams.
We know better. We know that is not the case. How do we know? Follow some simple guidelines.
1. Someone doesn't like what you have to say. That doesn't make them a hater, it means they have different opinions, world views, and life experiences than you. We need people like that. Without them, humanity would dissolve into defeat clouded by our own self delusions. No one is correct 100% of the time and we need people to challenge our thinking so that we can either hold firm to that which is true or abandon that which is wrong. These people help us to stretch and grow.
2. If you say something offensive and someone points it out, they are not a hater. They are only pointing out the obvious.
3. If someone says, "I agree with you, but the way you come across is arrogant/rude/dismissive/harsh ... " they are not a hater, they are trying to help you.
4. If someone says, "You offended me, here's how," they're not a hater. They're just setting a boundary - something everyone should do. They might be over sensitive. They might also have some valid points.
5. Someone who is attempting to engage you in a conversation with contrary opinions is not a hater. Anyone trying to explain to you their point of view is someone who is interested, someone who cares. A hater would just dismiss your perspective and mock you; they would never reveal their point of view so that they can continue their mockery even when your positions change.
Rejecting every critical voice, every ounce of opposition, each source of disagreement, and any attempt to correct or admonish says more about you than it does the person you've branded as a hater. In fact, there is a word for it: narcissism.
Taking criticism as a personal offense eliminates the validity of the critic. It removes any possibility that they could be correct or that you could be wrong. It also prevents any opportunity for you to learn. As I said earlier, no one is correct 100% of the time. The only people who believe they are never wrong are narcissists.
Personally attacking or humiliating those who disagree with you is also narcissistic. You can call them a hater all you want, but when you bully them in response it doesn't make you better. It makes you a jerk.
When you retaliate against someone (by using their own words against them), a person who cares enough to share their perspective with you, who displays vulnerability in an attempt to help you, that makes you an ass.
Don't be an ass. Get rid of the jerkitude. And if I ever act like a jerk, please call me out on it. I promise not to label you as a hater.