Home > Don't make me hurt you, only slightly ranty > Don’t Be a Jerk: On Preachers and Paying Attention

Don’t Be a Jerk: On Preachers and Paying Attention


This morning, I’m thinking about bad behavior. I was reading through a discussion, last night and today, and it made me angry. Not the initial points, but the subsequent ones. Because there were grave errors in judgment.

Why is it so difficult for some people not to be jerks? Why is it so difficult to affirm that there’s often more than one good way to do something?

Sometimes, when listening to people, I begin to feel as if I’m standing in front of a preacher – one who’s clutching the kool-aid and snorting the coke of his own brand of crazy.

It’s one thing to be right. It’s entirely another to say, “THERE IS NO OTHER WAY, BITCHES!”

Yes, I’ve broken out the cursing. Deal with it. Or pretend I said ‘witches’ and move on.

There’s always more than one way to succeed, otherwise, we’d be living in a Twilight Zone episode. Think about something simple and fundamental, like learning to tie your shoe. Some parents give the cute rabbit hole demonstration. Some don’t. As long as you learn to tie your shoe, who cares how you learned to tie it? It’s the end result that matters, right? Or is someone going to stone you for your bunny ears? I don’t think so.

Yet, as I’ve grown up, I’ve seen that type of thing translate poorly. Adults, who should know better than to spew bile, do exactly that: berate and act like belligerent jerks, because they feel justified in doing it. If you find something that works for you, GREAT. But not everyone can replicate the same experience. In fact, it’s impossible to replicate an experience, because we’re all different people.

I’m the first to admit when I don’t know what I’m doing. If I’m winging it, I will tell you. But everything is a learning experience, if you’re paying attention. Pay attention. Be present. Try to observe things, without an already tinted lens. Because figuring out how to do something is great. For instance, as a kid, I learned to crochet…but not with a needle. No, I ended up learning how to do it with my fingers.

Sure, it was an atypical endeavor. I’ve yet to meet anyone else who can say they once crocheted with their hands. Eventually, I learned to use the hook needle. But I still learned. I can still do it. Most people wouldn’t have learned that way. I did. I rock. *ahem*

If you stop learning, if you stop seeing that other views are valid, something is wrong. You’re no longer part of a discussion – you’re on the sidelines shouting obscenities at people. Engaging in a conversation is not the same thing as preaching at people. You can be as right as you want to be, but once you still belittling people and their choices? Well, people stop listening.

  1. Alicia Marie Phillips
    October 6, 2011 at 10:52 am

    Wow this truly hits home for me. Last nite during a tweetchat there were some very disrespectful remarks being thrown about and I was shocked and appalled considering I thought we were all professionals in a professional forum. I didn’t think it was necessary to teach adults how to act like adults, but apparently, it is!

    • October 7, 2011 at 8:53 am

      Gah, if people are professional, they should know how to conduct themselves. I know that we talked about this in detail, but clearly that guy was a grownup sized toddler — and only interested in placing blame and being a jerk. Some people don’t possess even a modicum of maturity. RUN AWAY from them. lol

  2. Jak
    October 6, 2011 at 2:10 pm

    I think adults get so bad because nobody’s there to remind them the behavior is bad. We get to that age and it’s supposed to be worse (according to etiquette) to correct someone on the bad behavior than to commit the behavior in the first place.

    I also learned how to crochet with my hands. I then proceeded to chain 50 feet worth of yarn. I didn’t learn how to actually make something until years after I first learned.

    • October 7, 2011 at 8:52 am

      Jak, I agree with you. There’s a lack of accountability, which results in a lack of decency and discipline. Not always, but in certain cases, definitely. Also, I wish I could hug you right now — because I did the SAME thing with crocheting. For years, I just made really long chains, and then (out of the blue) managed to teach myself how to do the chain stitch. I have no clue how or why, but it makes me happy to know that I”m not the only one. 🙂 Thanks for much for the comment!

  3. October 7, 2011 at 12:40 am

    Amen. And it’s sad, but some “adults” don’t really act like it. Makes me wonder what “adult” means anyway. :/

    • October 7, 2011 at 8:50 am

      Yes, I agree. I think that being mature and being an adult don’t necessarily go hand in hand. That’s kind of a shame, right?

  4. October 7, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Great post, Ali. Oh, if only each of us would

    1) treat others as we wish to be treated


    2) “Seek first to understand then be understood” – Dr. Stephen R. Covey, 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

    Finger crochet = cool. My grandmother has tried to teach me (she is a crochet meister). Maybe one day . . . . 🙂

  5. October 7, 2011 at 7:55 pm

    Perhaps if our chats/tweets/e-Interactions required us to do it via Webcam, people might think twice about the excessive snark. Maybe the problem is that people have TIME to formulate that answer they WISHED they’d have given face-to-face. I just know I have to tread lightly on certain boards to keep from having my rhino-hide lacerated open.

    • October 15, 2011 at 4:42 pm

      I think you are exactly right. There are several people I know who only communicate via email or Facebook message because they can compose snarky, snappy and often downright mean responses to things. If they had a conversation face-to-face, I bet things would be said with much more civility.

  6. October 15, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    There’s nothing that grates on me more than close-minded people who aren’t open to other choices in life. Great post, Ali!

    • October 16, 2011 at 8:08 am

      It drives me crazy. Okay, crazier. 😉

  7. October 27, 2011 at 10:25 am

    I am allergic to close minded people and negative idiots.

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