No one will probably ever admit it, but all of us suffer from the good guy syndrome. All of us want to give the best impression possible and we try as much to go through life without stepping on any toes or rubbing people the wrong way, but this is exactly what makes us assholes. In trying to be polite is how we actually end up offending the most, we delay the blow when delivering bad news as if it will hurt any less, but the reality is that we don’t do this for the sake of the other person, but for our sakes, so that we can at least live with ourselves and not think of ourselves as the bad guy. But here lies the problem, oftentimes we waste our own time and that of the other person by failing to be direct, pass up on other opportunities that could have presented themselves during the contemplation phase of how best to be polite.
I’ve always struggled with the good guy syndrome myself. Not that I have trouble asserting myself and outlining what I don’t like and what I won’t tolerate, but rather in dissappointing other people. When someone is really looking forward to doing something with me, going shopping for example, I feel bad letting them down at the last minute to my previous commitment and I’ll end up doing it even when I’m no longer feeling it. Being raised we’re taught to stay the course,to not talk back, to finish whatever we were served on our plates and in a way we feel obliged to fulfill whatever life has served us at that moment. This sense of compliancy still hangs heavy in me and it will take a lot of unlearning to be comfortable with actually changing my mind and saying no to plans I don’t feel like partaking in anymore. I feel like this issue is also a huge factor in why people sometimes end up having sex even when they are no longer consenting because they somehow feel obliged to continue, but consent is a whole other topic that I’ll leave for another day.
Very few of us are blessed with the gift of bluntness and honest truth. We might temporarily dislike them when they tell us the truth so coldly and directly, but we’ll love them in the long run for not letting us get in our heads and try to figure out what they could have possibly meant. These people won’t waste their time and dare I say they’re the easiest people to break up with and get over. Most of us, due to the good guy syndrome, tend to drag relationships way past their due date when we’ve clearly lost interest, slowly pulling away from our partners in the hopes that they will somehow read our cues and realise that it’s over. We don’t want to be the bad guys that ends the relationship, or go down as the heartbreaker, so we drag it on and cause more heartache in the process than we thought we were avoiding.
This can be applied to many aspects of life and you’ll find out that once you rid yourself of the good guy syndrome you won’t engage in boring conversations you’re too polite to end, or stay in a career you feel like is a dead end or stay with your least favourite uncle for the whole of Christmas because you didn’t want to be rude. It’ll save you a lot of time and effort and people will actually appreciate you more for being so honest and direct. Remember, it is better to be temporarily the bad guy in order for you to actually be the real good guy in the end. Peace