Social Question

tom_g's avatar

When was the last time you were the jerk?

Asked by tom_g (16585 points ) July 25th, 2012

When was the last time you realized that you were the complete jerk in a situation? And how/when did you discover it?

This afternoon, I walked to the ATM near my work because I needed cash to pay the babysitter when I got home. I also needed air and I had a few minutes before a meeting. When I walked into the single-ATM lobby, there was a man in the middle of a transaction and there were two other people waiting to use it. The man typed away for what seemed like 10 minutes. It sounded like he was typing a novel. I suppose my frustration and impatience might have showed.

When he was finally done, the next person in line started typing away. Transaction after transaction, and I realized that I might just have to leave without my cash because my meeting was quickly approaching. The whole thing was unbearable, and I might have sighed and held my head to keep from screaming.

When she was done, the man next in line looked at me and told me that I could go first. Ouch. It was then that I realized that I was the asshole who was pissing and moaning about having to wait a few extra minutes while people managed their transactions. He had to witness my passive aggressive temper tantrum. His reaction? To let me go. It was such a generous thing to do, and it served to bring some awareness to my reaction to such a minor first world problem. It also brightened my mood to have someone make a kind gesture like that.

Are you ever the jerk?

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19 Answers

Paul's avatar

Yesterday, I accused my friend of having no good reason to cancel an arrangement next Tuesday when after much arguing he told me his Dad was policing the Olympics (where there have been terror threats) and it was the last time he’d see him for two weeks (he’s also missing my friends 16th birthday. I felt like such an asshole :/

Blueroses's avatar

Yeah. Quite similar to yours, @tom_g.
There’s a coffee kiosk in the lobby at work, and two days in a row I was in a rush and needed a cup of coffee to go. But,both times, the barista had an order in front of me and was visiting with the customer while preparing it. I sighed and mumbled, “I don’t have time for this” and left (rather huffily, it must be said.)

Totally my fault for cutting it so close to when I needed to clock in.

The third day, I had plenty of time but didn’t need coffee. The barista saw me walking by and said “I can get you a cup. Please, it’s on me.”

I felt like such a dick.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

Oh crap. Last weekend at Walmart. In line to checkout. The lady ahead leaves her cart behind her while she pays, so we can’t get to the counter. Hubby sees my exaspiration. Nuff said.

filmfann's avatar

I snapped at my daughter on the phone last night. She is trying to do the right thing, and I had an anger flash because it involved her sons father.
I was wrong. I need to apologize, and I haven’t had the chance.

gailcalled's avatar

Pissing and moaning is not “passive-aggressive” behavior, no matter how annoying it is.

Neither is being an asshole and having a temper tantrum. Neither is being impatient.

Passive-aggression describes behavior when you say you will do something and then you don’t do it.

For example, you promise the bag sitter you will pay her in cash and then you don’t bother with the ATM machine and have to write her an IOU.

Or your teen-ager promises to take out the garbage in time for pick-up and then doesn’t/

Pass the kind act on.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

The last time I can recall was when a girl who was way too nice for me seemed to be getting attached, I turned the jerk on.

I am never a jerk on purpose and I don’t throw temper tantrums. The people I am angry at I don’t care enough about to want to screw with.

Earthgirl's avatar

I am afraid that I don’t know. But I am sure, absolutely, that I was a jerk to someone without knowing it.

Blueroses's avatar

@gailcalled There’s quite a bit of argument about what “passive-aggressive” really is. It’s not quite so cut and dried as your definition, though yours is included in it.

It can be a note saying “I hope you enjoyed my yogurt you stole from the fridge.” Or
“Have a great day! I hope you like my parking space. I’m pregnant and had to walk 4 blocks in heels”

Passive-aggressive is really anything said in a nice tone when the intent is obviously opposite.

gailcalled's avatar

@Blueroses; Would not your sentences be perfect examples of sarcasm?

athenasgriffin's avatar

I dragged my best friend with me to see this guy that I have some affection for, not really noticing that she didn’t really want to go, and doing it repeatedly. The thing is, this guy is known within the Greek world as being a player, and I could never go visit him at the house on my own, because everyone would say I was another one of his conquests, and that isn’t a rumor I would like to encourage. So, I brought my friend as part chaperone, part human shield. If there are two of us then no one can say anything and my reputation is safe.

But he flirts with me and gives me most of his attention, which isn’t fair to my bestie. So basically I am going to every single event she wants to go to from now until forever to pay her back. With a smile on my face. (I don’t really like going to wild, huge drunken parties, but she does.No, of course I want to go to the Luau on Saturday. It sounds like so much fun.)

Blueroses's avatar

@gailcalled Sarcasm, yes. But in many circumstances, such notes are left with smiley faces and such. To indicate that the leaver of the note is not confronting but is really pissed! To hide such anger under a veil of politeness… that is passive-aggression.

christos99's avatar

Today at work… Only because some of my co-workers are completely incompetent.

gailcalled's avatar

@Blueroses: I would still take issue…if you are royally pissed, you are being aggressive-agressive. No one reading your examples, I don’t think, would see them as truly polite. I think that is the definition of sarcasm…to say one thing and mean something else.

Blueroses's avatar

Heh heh, @gailcalled, hence the ongoing discussion of definition.

Kardamom's avatar

^^ OK you two, which one of you is going to start a new Q Asking for a definition and examples of Passive Agressive Behavior?

Blueroses's avatar

^^challenge accepted!

augustlan's avatar

I’ve been a jerk to my ex, twice very recently. I don’t know why, but he’s been getting on my last nerve for some reason. It’s so unusual for me to be like that to him, too. I’ve apologized for one of the instances, and we semi-worked out the other one. Still, it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It’s not how I want to be.

@gailcalled I would say that sighing and mumbling are definitely passive-aggressive. Making unhappy little noises, giving someone the silent treatment, ‘accidentally’ shrinking your spouse’s favorite sweater, anything other than directly talking about what’s wrong would be passive-aggressive.

tom_g's avatar

@gailcalled – “Passive-aggressive” or not, my behavior sucked. It didn’t make me feel any better, and it likely caused some discomfort to the people around me.

Going to look for the passive-aggressive thread now so I can learn what this means….

nikipedia's avatar

A colleague/friend won an award that I was absolutely sure I deserved more than she did. I overreacted really badly and felt totally humiliated and envious. I congratulated her once and then avoided her for 2 months. I could barely look at her. I knew it was really rude and I was completely in the wrong.

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