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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

The Hater Chronicles: Chapter One

So in the prologue earlier I defined the many variations of Haters.

Since then it has been pointed out that I left out Call-You-Out Hater, usually born a twin to the Blocker Hater. Call-You-Out Hater is the member of the family who waits until you are in mixed company or any sort of crowd and then points out a weakness or low point of yours. When Call-You-Out Hater sees you successfully holding court with beautiful women at a cocktail party, he will approach, smile as big as everyone else, slap you on the back and ask loudly how you can afford to buy yourself a drink since you owe him $5. She will wait until you have the rapt attention of every handsome man within earshot and blurt out "What's that you're drinking there? Whatever it is, don't drink too much! We wouldn't want you wetting the bed tonight the way you did through your 21st birthday!"

So moving on. In the prologue to this posting I mentioned that I had my own encounter a couple of days ago with a classic hater and that I had to consult another buddy about how to handle it.

BTW, I encountered the Downplay Hater. I can't give you the exact story, or else I'll be an inadvertent hater myself by unnecessarily embarrassing the culprit.

Let's say that I was having a conversation with a friend who raised the subject of something good that recently happened for me, something whose longterm goodness depends on how much or how little I make of it. Hopefully that's not too cryptic for you. Now, an even-keeled friend might have started his or her contribution to the chat with something along the lines of "Congratulations again, James!" followed by a "How's it coming?" But the Downplay Hater in this case immediately expressed doubts in my handling of the good thing. He or she wasn't teasing either. So when I tried to counter the out-of-left-field attack by insisting truthfully that the good thing was working out just fine for me, the friend came back at me by essentially saying things couldn't be doing too well for me, because he or she didn't see it that way. Then promptly, with no rhyme or reason, the friend changed the subject to the weather or politics or some other random thing.

It was an interesting conversation, to say the least. I have a theory about certain breeds of Hater: I don't think they realize they do it. I think sometimes it's a subconscious thing tied their lack of confidence in themselves, or their need to feel like the Big Man on Campus, or their sense of entitlement that tells them that there's no way you can have something good in your life without them having something better in theirs. After all, they deserve it more than you, right? They were born for it.

If you're at all curious, I decided not to directly confront Downplay Hater. Instead I'm going to keep doing my thing and let the reality of my blessings and good fortune eat at them like a tumor. And if the opportunity presents itself from time to time I'll drop the subtle hint couched in humor to alleviate the tension that maybe their critiques are a little out of line.

5 Comments:

  • what about the self-hater?
    I run into these types who, becuz of their ingrained self hate, they take on characteristics of many in the hater family...like the call-you-out hater: "gee, steve, you shouldn't wear that with that cuz it doesn't match...I did it too for a while but then found out all my friends were laughing at me behind my back."

    or how about the "I'm-just-sayin" hater?
    "dude, I would not have applied for that job if I were you cuz they are looking for someone with (such and such) experience...I mean, I'm just sayin"

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 1:00 PM  

  • I think the majority of the hater types you described are motivated by envy and insecurity. I had a very close friend that exhibited several shades of hater behavior during the course of our friendship, and all of it seemed centered around taking the wind out of my sails. When my husband I were dating, she was full of "concern" about his character. She criticized my other friends, cautioned me in my approach to my job, worried about my finances, and implied that I had an eating disorder. Over the years, I realized that her life was in shambles in many of these areas. I would encourage you to say something to your hater, but in my experience it doesn't work. Anytime I said something to this woman about her comments, she would turn it around and become the victim and I would somehow end up apologizing. I finally had to let our friendship die out.

    By Anonymous kat, at 1:19 PM  

  • Wow, James, kudos to you on bringing up a subject of personality that shades all the people in our lives, including REAL family.

    They are totally motivated by envy and insecurity, Kat.

    So what I'd like to see is lovers instead of haters in this world, ya know?

    By Blogger Manola Blablablanik, at 9:58 PM  

  • Haters aren't made...they are born. All the haters I know have been like that since they were probably babies. I personally have to go with the "I know more than you because I know everything" hater. I hate those assholes. You can't say anything without them chiming in about some shit that they knew, saw, or did that trumps whatever you just said. If you got AIDS...then they got it worse. If you drank water, it wasn't the right kind of water, you gotta drink this "certain" kind of water. Anyways, you get my drift. I'm drunk so I probably expounded too much on that.

    By Blogger Somebody's son, at 2:11 AM  

  • All I want to know is: when is it OK to let your friends or acquaintances know that their slip is showing? Is using the term "Hater" simply going to be a defense every time someone doesn't ignore some obvious wrong or mistake. I don't know what I dislike more--true "Haters" (which, to me, are people who aren't happy and use every opportunity to spread their unhappiness to others through unnecessary criticism or ill will) or ostriches who want to put their head in the sand when confronted on any issue (their motto seems to be "Don't rain on anyone's parade, even if it's the goose stepping Third Reich").

    I think everyone should grow a second skin and stop acting like little girls who got their widdle feewings hurt every time someone says something. Healthy debate requires people who have ideas and beliefs they are willing to have challenged. I guess that makes me sound like a "hater". But if, for example, I've known you for years as, say, a non-drinker and all the sudden you start guzzling Jack Daniels like Bocephus, I'm gonna confront you on it. Maybe your concerns with "haters" seems to be with the perceived purpose behind the "hating". If it's only to raise their social status while lowering yours--I would say "hater". But if it's to check you on some silly sh*t you let come out of your mouth or to pull your coat to something because they care about you-- "friend".

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 10:37 AM  

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