Socially Single: Some people are jerks

Kelsey Foster

I like to teach that even though dating can be disappointing at times, by and large, most people out in the world are good. They might not be terribly self-aware or they might have difficulty communicating in a clear manner (which causes the majority of dating and relationship issues), but at their core, they are good people. Just maybe not the right person for YOU.

However, this week I’ve been smacked in the face with the harsh truth that there are in fact some jerks among us. Folks who intentionally do things to hurt the people around them. And for someone who wants to believe in the innate goodness in others, jerky people both baffle me and make me mad. Really mad.

Take for example, a situation that happened at my kids’ school this week. A classmate had a birthday and her parents circumvented the normal process of sharing treats with the whole class by sneakily setting up a small side celebration in the lunchroom. With treats for only SOME of the kids. The rest of the class got to witness this “special” celebration and those who weren’t lucky to receive a treat, went home pretty dang bummed out.

Leaving my personal feelings out of the equation for a second, I tried to look at this as a coaching opportunity. One of my kids got a treat and the other didn’t. So we talked about how it feels to be left out. How this classmate’s family might have done things differently. And why in life it’s a good idea to think about situations where their choices impact other people’s feelings.

Now. I don’t encourage anyone (my kids included) to go through life on a quest to try to please everybody all the time. Most of us understand that it’s simply impossible to achieve that goal and we can make ourselves miserable in the process. However, developing empathy and awareness of how our actions and words make others feel is a gigundo lesson that extends beyond the elementary school lunchroom.

And this definitely relates to how we show up in our dating relationships.

Because life happens. Plans get messed up. Maybe there is no spark. Or you meet someone else who really knocks your socks off. All valid and real situations in the life of a dater. Each with an opportunity to exercise empathy while being honest.

It’s not comfortable to be accountable when you know the other person might be disappointed. We fear confrontation or big emotional displays.

Because yes, it may involve a scary conversation. Yes, it may mean having to witness some emotions. It may mean having to apologize…or it may mean having to unapologetically tell someone goodbye. But at the end of the day, a good person owns their choices and at least acknowledges how the other person feels. A jerk doesn’t.

Don’t be a jerk.

Kelsey Foster is a dating and relationship coach in Edmonds. She is released a new book titled Improve Your Love-itude available on Amazon. Find out more information about Kelsey on her website or join her on Facebook.

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