The phrase “stoop to their level” comes up a lot in all facets of life. That’s because generally, nice, decent people try to be nice decent people, but occasionally get brought down by those that aren’t so nice. It’s very easy for a person who’s being cruel or unfair to make you want to respond in kind.
I did just that a couple of days ago. Someone who long claimed to be a friend took advantage of my kindness and when I cut off the spigot, she not only insulted me, but brought my wife into it (who she doesn’t even know). My first instinct was to try and ruin her life in any way I could. And I have plenty of leverage to do just that.
My wife, however, was the one that talked me down and told me that I had enabled that friend for a long time and the reaction should be expected… and… was at least half my fault. Ouch. But true. So this “friend” who’s being so cruel and hateful and insulting my wife without knowing her is being protected from my wrath by the very person she unfairly dragged into it.
But all this has gotten me thinking. Maybe meeting people at their level is not the same thing as stooping to their level.
Here’s an example. Man has a kid or kids and walks out on them. You could deal with that by trying to explain how important family is and how irreplaceable it is. And he won’t get it, because that’s not how his brain works for whatever reason. You could also deal with it by saying “dude, it’s really a bitch move to bail on your kids.” That would be much more direct, but also “stooping.” And it still might not work. But maybe it would sink in?
Another example. Woman manipulates a man into a relationship by acting one way, then once he’s fully committed, she changes her act and reveals her true character. You could deal with it by trying to point out things that have changed by making subtle comments and hope she goes back to pretending… or you could just accept that your life sucks now. Or you could say “honey, remember how you used to pretend like you were everything I wanted… can you please go back to pretending, because I don’t like the real you.” She knows she baited and switched on you. You just pointed it out in a way she could comprehend.
How about a kid example. You tell a kid to stop hitting their sibling. They say no or they ignore you completely. You could deal with it by explaining why it’s not nice to hit. Or you could hit them square on their butt. I’m pretty sure option two will be more effective, despite its irony.
I’m hoping you can tell I’m being tongue-in-cheek!!
There’s an old expression “never wrestle with a pig, you’ll both get dirty and the pig will like it.” That’s pretty much how I feel about arguing with mean people. They obviously like the drama and they aren’t losing any sleep over it… you are.
It’s very satisfying in the moment to have a nice, big fight with a mean person – especially if you feel you’re in the right and have been used or abused. But what I have to keep in mind in the future is, they couldn’t possibly care less about how I feel, and the fighting makes them happy.
All you mean people can keep your drama and use it on each other. I’m out! Peace!