Social Question

GabrielsLamb's avatar

Given the choice would you rather encourage another person to their best possible potential in life, or break them down for whatever reason?

Asked by GabrielsLamb (6176points) October 13th, 2011

If you notice someone is having a hard time of it whatever “it” means do you do your best to lift people up. or do you do your best to finish the job and make them feel worse than you know they already do?

If they don’t feel quite as badly as you believe they should for whatever predicament they are in, do you make sure you get them there by making it worse? Or do you take the situation in the other direction and say or do something to encourage them or cheer them on so they can get back on their feet?

The answers can be in relation to anything in general personal stories or experiences but I’m asking this because I was getting gas a while back and there was a couple sitting at the local gas station who were obviously homeless. Certain people ignored them, other people helped and gave them money, and a few people made nasty comments like “Get a damn job.” or “Yeah right.”

I gave them money because they had a little dog with them but it isn’t really within my scope of understanding as to how they ended up where they were so what good does it do to say things like that?

What do some people get out of that kind of behavior? All of the nasty people that made rude comments and there were a few in the short time I was pumping gas their answers were always kind in return and very respectful, not rude or snide back. I think about them sometimes, and wonder where they ended up.

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23 Answers

HungryGuy's avatar

Best potential.

Aethelflaed's avatar

Is anyone actually going to answer “break them down”? I think a lot of these mean comments come from people who really think they’re doing the nice or moral thing.

I don’t feel it’s my job to be their cheerleader in either direction.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@Aethelflaed If I did it, I would say it… But I wouldn’t do that so…

Aethelflaed's avatar

@GabrielsLamb Yeah, I don’t think it’s that simple. The world isn’t divided into people who want to do right and good, and then everyone acknowledges how wonderful and good they always do, and people who consciously wake up in the morning and decide to purposefully hurt people, and everyone agrees that their actions are harmful. There are a lot of people who do hurtful things because they see the world a different way, and thought they were doing right. And people who are just kinda self-absorbed and neglectful, and aren’t trying to hurt anyone but also aren’t spending tons of time making sure they don’t hurt people. And lots of people who do spend tons of time trying not to hurt people, but they have some less than helpful ideas of what’s being nice, and they get so wound up about not hurting people that they hurt people more than if they’d just relaxed and not worried about it.

LezboPirate's avatar

I don’t know why anyone would want to purposely make anyone else feel worse about anything.

I’ll tell you this though, I ran into a homeless couple once, at Walgreens down in Arizona. They asked me to help them, and I would have loved to, but I didn’t even have a job of my own. I had no money, I had gotten a ride there with my girlfriend. I looked at them and said “I don’t have any money. All I have is a bus pass.” When I came back out of the store the man yelled at me. He said “What do you have a bus pass for? You got here in a car!” And he quickly hurried away.

I didn’t even buy that bus pass, my girlfriend bought it for me. And it was her car I was riding in. The bus pass was so I could travel about and look for work while she was at work. Because she already had a job. But I said to myself “If I ever see them again, when I do have a job, I’m not giving them anything.”

I don’t know why, but some homeless people think that everyone has all kinds of money that they can just afford to give away.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@Aethelflaed That makes asolutely no sense to me. So you’re saying that when people do and say things like that they don’t understand that it is being hurtful?

I don’t get it. EVERYONE knows when they are being hurtful.

EVERYONE… I think some people just don’t like to be viewed that way regardless.


GabrielsLamb's avatar

@LezboPirate Reversal of fortune I suppose…. That’s why I said it could be about anything, not just homeless people… that was just the answer I gave for myself

There are a million different scenerio possible here. Like bullies and people that enjoy making people feel worse when they are already down.

That I hate.

Aethelflaed's avatar

@GabrielsLamb Yes, that’s what I’m saying. No, people don’t know when they’re being hurtful, and definitely not everyone knows all the time. There isn’t some objective reality of if a certain action is hurtful or not.

Bellatrix's avatar

I would not deliberately hurt anyone. Without being deliberately cruel, there are times when the right thing to do is to tell the truth as I see it. That may be construed by the receiver as a person being mean and cruel.

For instance, if a friend is constantly bemoaning the situation they are in, but are equally constantly making it worse through their actions and attitude. I can either nod sympathetically because that is what they want me to do but I know it wont help them, or I can say “you are bringing much of this on yourself”.

I should say, I am not talking about homeless people. I would more likely give some money to help them. How I respond will always depend on the situation and what I know about the individual.

wonderingwhy's avatar

Situationally, I try to help out; but I draw the line at people who are able, and know it, but unwilling to do what’s necessary to help themselves yet still expect others to bend over backwards for them.

I should qualify I’m not really talking about random strangers/homeless above, but rather people I know personally. With other cases in general I give aid as I feel I’m able. I’ve no qualms about dropping change in a cup or a hand, giving half a sandwich, or helping someone change a tire.

ETpro's avatar

Everyone who ever achieves greatness stands on the shoulders of all those they built up along the way. Those who only break others down asure they never rise above the fray.

marinelife's avatar


GabrielsLamb's avatar

@Aethelflaed Then those are the very people I am speaking of when I say “I do not like people.”

The rest are okay

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@marinelife That shows in your heart and in your every word absolutely! *And that is rare actually.

spykenij's avatar

When I worked on High St. in Columbus, we saw a lot of bums. Some people get really tired of the bums and others, like myself worried about them and tried to help them. Last summer was really hot and when I saw “Big Mama” on the concrete couch at 4am, sometimes I would just go give her a 32oz, ice cold powerade that I brought for myself. I would just say, “Its too damn hot. Drink this, you’ll feel better.” Other people, like the owner of that store, were so mean and nasty to her and the others, he would end up walking out to a freshly pinched dump IN his Jaguar. Another guy I know will only give them money, so he can expand his collection of “Pennies for Pics” on his page. The way I saw it was, all of these people were just that – people. You could piss them off and end up with your windows smashed out (or crap on the seat) or be nice, give them a cigarette or two when they walked by and then they’d let you know if anything suspicious was going on near your car. I witnessed homeless drunks standing in the stores with open beer cans, scaring me at 2am while I was by myself. A guy that worked there pushed that bum down and knocked the wind out of him. An hour or more later, he was sitting on the ground, eyes wide open in a daze. Luckily, the can of pop a co-worker threw at the bum’s head, missed him by about 4 inches. I think that co-worker would be in deep shit if he had hit that bum. They were all over the place. A bum came into my store, stuck pills (I looked them up and they were meds to make you sick if you drink) in the tissue box when I had told him he needed to leave. Another one would come in, try to steal shit and then beg for money. One even gave me his probation ID card. I was also threatened to be cut by a large, black man who said he was racist against white people. He wasn’t too comfortable when I grabbed my jack pump stick and phone and called the police. Fat bastard took off on his bike :P I guess it just depends on how the bum acts. Everyone who was nice, was ok. Others were not so nice and they were dealt with harshly, unfortunately.

Dutchess_III's avatar

Best potential. I teach inmates….I have a loooong road ahead of me.

GabrielsLamb's avatar

Dutchess ROCKS! *That’s seriously awesome that you do that…

OpryLeigh's avatar

Yeah, I enjoy breaking people so much that they curl up in a fetal position and sob. My key for the sarcastic symbol isn’t working damnit!

Honestly though, even if they did, who is going to come on here and say, in all seriousness that they enjoy breaking people?!

GabrielsLamb's avatar

@Leanne1986 I suppose I am rather idealistic in that I prefer my bastards honest. Otherwise they’re just pussies not really true bastards.

OpryLeigh's avatar

@GabrielsLamb Well, good luck finding them!

Dutchess_III's avatar

@GabrielsLamb They are the BEST guys. One morning, before they came to class, there was some loco guy that they’d booked in. This guy was NUTS. Screaming, cussing, ranting, raving, threatening. They’d picked him up at 4 .am. and he’d been doing that since. They had him in isolation with covers over the window, but he was still being temporarily held at the booking station, which is by my classroom. It was a little scary…I’ve heard angry people yell…but never in my life have I ever heard anything like that. I felt like, “O God. What if he gets out somehow! I really, really wish my students were here!”
So I called them in early.
I feel safer in that classroom than anywhere else on earth. :)

Scooby's avatar

If the outcome is to a positive end, then yes I’ve done it ( Broken people down ) if they can’t see the woods for the trees, the error of their ways sometimes you have to be cruel to be kind & dam right merciless to get them to change course & get back on the right track.. Yes I’m guilty I’ am that bastard & sometimes the truth hurts but only until the penny drops ;-)
I get nothing from going there, infact it takes much away from me to go there… A favourable end result is usually worth it, all the drama…. As for the homeless, I give what charity I can, be it cloths, money or even on a couple of occasions a lift in my car :-/

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