Let’s Not Be Bullies

Let's Not Be Bullies

I was in the car going home and I tiredly remarked, “When will life become something steady?”

Within an hour or so, the feeling passed. I didn’t sign up for a safe life. I’ve always done things things a bit..differently? weirdly? I don’t always do things people agree with. Actually, I can usually be found doing something a host of people don’t agree with.

I was 18 years old and I remember going home from university to find out I had been the talk of town. Somehow I had become notorious in the small tight knit desi (South Asian) community of Fort McMurray because someone saw me hanging out with a boy – nevermind that he was my partner for philosophy class and we were working on a project. I was the talk of parties and the gossip behind my back became so far flung it was nothing like the truth.

Once a lady who was a guest at a party hosted by my family was rude to me – rude enough to legitimately anger me. I kind of marched up to her in public and shut her down. Not my finest moment. Needless to say, a bunch of people were pissed at me. Apparently that was talked of as well, in various circles.

I’m no saint. I gossip. I talk about things that are happening. I try my best to talk about only those things I’ve witnessed myself and try not to be too negative. I have no idea what’s going on in someone’s life or what the context of any situation is. I’m not perfect, but I try to be a little better every time, maybe because I’ve dealt with the brunt of other people’s gossip.

I was thinking about Lilly Singh’s #SpreadGirlLove initiative today.

I don’t know what has ingrained this in so many people and in so many communities, but we like to tear each other down. We talk shit behind each other’s back. We pass around information that paints people in a negative light – and we relish it. We feel better about ourselves talking about other people’s shit, smug because it wasn’t us. It makes us feel better.

That’s the definition of a bully.

I do it. You do it. We all do it. There’s a bully in most of us, sadly. Some of us do it out loud, some of us do it internally, and others shout as loud as they can.

I’m not better because I talked shit about someone else. Because I’m not perfect and I’m sure I’ve done things that can be taken and twisted into something and talked about.

I’m not even going to pretend to take the moral high ground and say we shouldn’t do it because it’s not a good or right thing to do (for the record, it isn’t, but we all know that already). I’m saying that the best way to protect yourself if you have any semblance of a social life is to not talk shit about other people. If you’re talking shit about people, then without a doubt, there’s someone talking shit about you.

This is a reminder for myself, but also for you, dear reader. To be good and kind. To remember that you don’t know everything. To keep in mind that talking shit about other people makes you a bully, and that’s not cool.

I don’t want to be a bully. Most of us want to be good people. Good people do not bully. So let’s not bully.