The Four Words to Remember Before Yelling at Old Ladies

July 21st, 2011 by Nick Notas 0 Comments

Years ago, my friend Travis introduced me to Wil Wheaton and his well-known blog. Wil is an excellent writer but after all these years, I still find his most profound piece of advice to be:

“Don’t be a dick.”

Simple and to the point, right? It’s raw yet immensely powerful. He breaks down a life lesson to its most basic form so we can understand the no-frills message behind it. I strive to apply this in my own life and like to think I’m a better person because of it.

For example, I was driving with my girlfriend last week and looked over to an older woman in the car beside us. I politely gestured to her, hoping we could merge into her lane when the light turned green, only to be met with a cruel scoff and a dirty look. Shocked, my anger got the best of me and I gave her a piece of my mind right back.

My girlfriend turned to me after and said, “Why’d you have to do that? What was the point?” I tried to justify my actions, but as my frustration subsided and my logic resurfaced, I couldn’t help but feel foolish.  I asked myself, “Was I being a jerk?” And indeed I was. I realized I accomplished nothing except making my girlfriend uncomfortable and contributing to that woman’s bitterness towards others.

Here are some examples of how you might be acting like a dick:

  • Lying to girls you’re interested in to “increase your odds”
  • Being late without notice or flaking out on plans
  • Guilt-tripping your partner into getting what you want
  • Putting others down to make yourself feel better
  • Not respecting the privacy of others
  • Being rude or inconsiderate to those you encounter throughout the day
  • Keeping secrets in your relationship
  • Losing your temper and not apologizing for it

We can argue that it makes us feel better to take out our negative emotions on others, but in the end, it’s just childish. Dealing with problems by forcing them onto people demonstrates insecurity and cowardice. Taking the easy way out only perpetuates the conflict instead of creating a solution. Remember: an eye for an eye makes the whole world blind.

So from now on, keep Wil Wheaton’s Law in the back of your mind. If you’re ever unsure about how you’re handling a situation, ask yourself, “Am I being a dick?”