Broke London

A car crash guide to surviving life

How to be kind

Something happened to me this weekend that wasn’t very nice.
If that’s a bad way of phrasing it then I do apologise but it’s hard to put it into words because I’ve never had it happen to me before plus reporting any kind of bad behaviour feels hilariously playground.

Put simply it went like this:
A girl I don’t know, but who had once dated someone I had been involved with, decided to post a snarky comment on Facebook about the demise of our relationship. (me and the boy…not me and her…I mean you get it you’re clever people). A comment that, in one word, expressed her amusement at how badly things had ended up.
I got this message in the middle of a bar in Brixton, three gins deep and already feeling pretty fragile.
I was pretty shocked actually. Maybe it’s because my pals and I are slightly grannyish when it comes to Facebook – using it primarily to tag each other in videos of fat animals doing weird stuff or quotes about loving wine loads. Or maybe it’s because, extremely non-confrontational by nature, I rarely get into arguments and certainly never over social media. I tend to get a bit sweaty tweeting complaints to companies about late deliveries so…. not exactly cut out for a facebook debate.
Mainly though I was shocked at how much it stung.
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For whatever reason, it hit me in that way that makes your legs go all weird and shaky and I ended up typing a reply asking her to consider how that comment might make me feel whilst my pal G stood over me shaking her head and repeating ‘You’ll regret that in the morning…you’ll regre – oh god ok you’ve sent it’.
But actually, I don’t regret it. Had I launched back and insulted her I’d have felt awful. But I can’t say I regret asking her to take a moment to think about how her comment made me feel. No matter who she meant to direct it at.
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Hey ladies (and gentlemen where applicable) – here’s something I think we should all keep in mind.
Break ups are tough. Actually life, in general, is pretty tough. Unless you are phenomenally lucky you probably will have experienced some form of heartache in your life. We’ve all been there. It sucks. You probably know what it feels like to feel like everything is falling apart and to feel so miserable that something as a small as a whiff of familiar aftershave or someone in your office putting on song that used to mean something is enough to send you off to the bathroom with a wobbly lip.
You probably know what it’s like to have your phone physically wrestled off you after a second glass (bottle) of wine whilst you scream ‘get off me, you tiny whore’ at your well-meaning mate.
You’ve probably cried through a mouthful of prawn cracker whilst watching Love Rosie with your flatmate before choking on said prawn cracker and dramatically declaring that the headline surrounding your death would have been ‘Greedy loser dies alone’.
Ok maybe you haven’t but I’m a special brand of saddo and I also love Chinese food so go figure.
My point here is whether its breaking up with someone, losing your job or just having a bit of a bad time of it – we’ve all been there in some way shape or form and we can all attest to the shitness of it. This is something we know to be true. In which case, doesn’t it make sense to commiserate with each other rather than tear each other down? Clapping your hands gleefully at another’s misfortune never leads anywhere good and often just makes you feel like a giant wormy ratbag afterwards.
Plus, it makes you look like a mega douche. FYI.
It’s easier said than done and I’ve definitely been guilty of a bit of schadenfreude* in the past. I’ve done a big HAR HAR when some smug person has been taken down a peg or two. But it’s counterproductive and it’s got to stop. I’m not standing here with ‘the nicest person in the world’ crown on – I’ve been mean when I could have been kind and said nasty things behind someone’s back when I could have taken a moment to think about how they’d feel if they heard it.
*I bloody know! IMPRESSIVE. I mean not really because I learnt that word from an episode of Boston Legal but like whatever.
Life is tough enough without tearing each other down. Every day we’re exposed to more and more pressure from the media, to settle down by a certain age, to look a certain way, embody certain traits that are often unobtainable and, quite frankly, sometimes this culminates in us feeling inadequate and under pressure to be better than we are. We need people to be kind because we’re not all that kind to ourselves.
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I think it’s easy to be unkind when social media is involved. We’re faceless strangers behind a keyboard. There’s no need to consider the actual effect of your words. It’s impulsive and the gratification is instant.
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You may have felt sassy as all hell posting what you did. You were probably cheered on by your mates and booze and a triumph that is hard to escape when you’ve been really hurt by someone and then they fall from grace.* The reality is that the person it affected wasn’t the guy who hurt you. It was a girl who had also been hurt. A girl who a few hours earlier had pulled herself together, given herself a stern talking to in the mirror, covered her red (and extremely piggy) eyes as best as possible and gone out to try to forget about it and have a nice time.
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A resolve that was promptly ruined by a snarky comment that was best left unsaid if we’re all being honest. Because the last thing you need when you already feel like a huge idiot is someone confirming that they are also laughing at you.
*I’m sorry you got hurt by the way. It’s awful and I hope it only gets better.
It’s easy to be kind to our friends and its harder to be mean to people who are standing in front of us looking like sad dogs. Take away both intimacy and immediacy and it’s easy to say something mean or make someone feel bad without even trying. So let’s all think before we post. We might find that we’re better off re-directing our feelings of hurt and putting ourselves in each other’s shoes. And then being a bit nicer.
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RANT OVER FOLKS. Let’s all be kinder and feel better for it.

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