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Burnett's Urban Etiquette

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

Hater Anniversary

It has been almost a year, since I first introduced the Hater Chronicles, a blog study of haters and what makes 'em tick.

I am happy to say that we have defined "hater." I think we can all agree that a hater is someone who begrudges you your success or happiness or contentment. A hater will listen to your announcement of a promotion at work and then downplay your boost as not that big a deal. A hater is the buddy who will see your interest in a woman and when you're out of earshot drop her "hints" about you that might kill her interest. A hater is the girlfriend who sees you trailing TP on the heel of your shoe but doesn't tell you as much before you approach that guy you really like. A hater listens to someone compliment you and then earnestly tells that person giving the compliment that he, the hater, deserves higher praise than you.

A co-worker of mine is a world-class hater. This person - gender intentionally omitted - spends an inordinate amount of time scoffing at other reporters' work and saying things like "I once wrote an article about that very same topic...only better." Who knows why he/she does it?

We spent nearly a week last June discussing on this blog who haters are. But what I don't think we got into enough was what motivates a hater. It's easy to say haters are jealous or insecure people. Those are givens. But I think it's deeper than that.

Anyway, what prompted this mental review were an email and phone call received recently from a friend who moved away. This friend left South Florida for the... how do you describe the weather/atmosphere of the North East?

The email was essentially several inches of "I'm sorry you're 'stuck' in Miami. Your life would be so much better if you were in New Jersey." Jersey? For real? The phone call was more of the same: "You must hate life and want to kill yourself. How can you stand living down there?"

I'm being facetious in how I paraphrase what my friend wrote/said, but seriously if you really feel bad for someone that they "can't" live in as nice a place as you, do you tell them how terrible you believe their circumstance is? Isn't that kind of mean?

Now, you have to believe me when I tell you that I wasn't offended. My feelings were not hurt. Maybe if I'd had a thin skin. But if anything I thought the message and the call were funny, 'cause I really believe this friend means well. He cares about me, the way you care about a buddy with whom you've tipped pints and shared laughs. But he's a classic hater. Sometimes subtle, but definitely classic.

This is the friend, who when I bought a new car commented that it was nice but he could never drive something like that, because, essentially, it wasn't up to his standards. A friend who described my house as OK for me, but not to his liking. A friend, who earnestly, sincerely told me that maybe one day I'll do better professionally and find myself on his level. The friend, who when I said I was getting my little "swimmers" checked out to make sure they were fit for procreation, told me with a straight face that his little swimmers were the strongest ever and that a doctor once told him his swimmers could do the back stroke to the promised land.

Why are some people haters? Seriously, I want to study them like lab rats.

Again, don't tell me simple jealousy or simple insecurity. What makes 'em that way?

Tell me your hater stories and why you believe your hater behaved so.

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  • My hater is my SIL. She cannot stand to see anyone happy, because she makes her own life miserable. SHe used to try to split me and my boyfriend up (now my hubby), to no avail. She tries to split up my other SIL and her hubby.
    She sabotaged a family party at the weekend, a one year old party, by telling everyone she had an abortion...shit you not.
    I have now formed my decision and say that I omitt her from my families life...I do not want negativity to seep through to my kids because of her. They are happy and healthy and it is my duty of care as a mum to keep them far as I can anyhow.

    I do believe you that you were no offended by your friend putting down the place you live. I had a person that I did my training with and she hated my side of town...but, I got back at her saying, "Well, my side of town IS good enough for you to come on over and go to our it ain;t so bad right??" Never a bad word again from her, LOL.

    By Blogger Cazzie!!!, at 2:12 AM  

  • Not sure why haters hate, but feel sorry for them that they just aren't enjoying life themselves. After all, if they were they wouldn't want to rain on everyone elses's parades, would they?

    Strikes me it's a form of selfishness, & definitely NOT to be encouraged.

    By Anonymous bronchitikat, at 7:18 AM  

  • My personal opinion is that haters hate themselves the most. They will never be good enough for themselves and therefore must put everyone else down in order to feel any modicum of good. Except it backfires, because these people know that putting other people down is low class and dissappoints them even further. A horrible, vicious circle. To be pitied.

    By Blogger Lee, at 8:33 AM  

  • The person that comes to mind doesn't use himself as an example of what is to be desired...but rather he just tears down everything.

    If someone buys a new car, he tells you everything that is wrong with it. If you mention your dentist or doctor, he groans and lists all the things he knows that are negative.

    I love feeding the birds in the backyard... he complains about the bird doo doo. Get the picture.

    Negative is his attitude about everything...The hubby and I have limited our exposure to the couple .

    By Blogger Pamela, at 10:43 AM  

  • "The back stroke to the promised land" huh? Now that was choice! Had I been sipping my coffee at the time I read that, I probably would be cleaning up my keyboard right now!
    But as to why these people are "haters" -I think much of it is really from jealousy and very, very low self-esteem! Pure and simple. Some people have to elevate their lives somehow and seem to take more pleasure in doing it on the backs of others. By trying to make others look as poorly as possible, it gives them a false sense of their own "greatness" I guess. Something like the "my dad is better than your dad" syndrome we all should have grown out of way, way back in our childhood days.

    By Blogger Jeni, at 10:49 AM  

  • I laughed and read the little "swimmers bit" out loud to my husband. There's a dad on the west coast who can relate to you on that one. I can't wait to hear about Burnett 2.0.

    Anyway, haters! I had a gal pal who sounds like she is a seasoned member of the hater family. The only time our relationship was peaceable was when things were going badly for me; like when my ex dumped me for another woman when I was pregnant or the time my house burned to the ground. When those things happened she was the perfect portrait of love and concern.

    However, she was a whole different animal when things went well for me. She flipped out when I was asked to make a guest appearance on a radio program because of a few pieces I had written, noting several times leading up to the day of the interview that she could not fathom why anyone would read the garbage I produced. When my current husband proposed to me she went balistic. This woman and I worked together and while I was on my honeymoon she told several of our co-workers that I was pregnant again and didn't know who the father was. Oh yeah... she was also a prolific gossip and drama queen.

    We weren't friends after that, but my husband and I still get a giggle when we think back to some of the ridiculous stunts she pulled.

    By Blogger Queen of Dysfunction, at 11:41 AM  

  • To by psychoanalytical about it, I think it comes out of an inferiority complex or some sort of self-esteem issue.

    It's really hard to pin down, because I know someone like that who I have to deal with too, and I can't quite put my finger on it.

    My sister is one such culprit, who does this weirdo kind of compliment/slap that somehow helps raise her standing in her own eyes. It's a passive/aggressive way of saying "Look at me, I'm better than you." It drives me nutso ever since I noticed it about half a year ago.

    By Blogger The Dummy, at 1:07 PM  

  • "Why are some people haters?"

    I have to go along with Lee and The Dummy; I think that covers most of the people haters.

    By Blogger BobG, at 3:05 PM  

  • I thoroughly believe it is pure ego. This guy thinks everything he does is awesome and that everyone has as strong an ego and has no idea he is insulting. It's easier for people to identify with, or excuse, the person with low self esteem. But, the person who consistantly behaves like the guy you talk about here, it's pure bloated ego.

    Now, the person who intentionally sabatoges you is not a nice person or a real friend and isn't really a hater, just an a-hole.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 4:40 PM  

  • That comment about the backstroke made me spit out my water a little.

    Very funny.

    I'll have to give my "haters" some thought, and perhaps return to this later.

    By Blogger thirdworstpoetinthegalaxy, at 4:41 PM  

  • I wrote a post about this same subject not long ago. Only mine was much more insightful and funnier. hahaha

    kidding!! I'm kdding. I kid because I care.

    Somebody had to say it. ;-)

    I wish I knew what made people this way. My Brother in law is this way sometimes. What gets me is he really has a pretty great life. Great wife (my sister), beautiful home, very successful career and on and on. So why would other people's success bother him? I don't really get it.

    A lot of it seems to be "well, I had to do more" or "work harder" or something liek that. In some ways it's true, but so what?

    Maybe they're just people that no matter how good things are they feel like it SHOULD be better.

    By Blogger Jay, at 5:46 PM  

  • I have found that it all boils down to insecurity. Seriously. The reason I know? I find myself much more quick to criticize or pseudo-hate when I'm not feeling so hot about what I'm doing/where I'm going/what's going on in my life. Hard to admit, but true.

    Also, there's the holier-than-thou element. It's what I call the Grandma condition. My grandma is holier-than-thou ALL the time and I think it's because she's miserable and her life didn't turn out to be what she wanted... so she has to constantly one-up everyone else.

    I got engaged very recently and I already have people telling me how wonderful and perfect their own weddings were while turning their noses up at my plans... and I haven't even set a date. Ugh. Haters.

    By Blogger Melissa, at 7:01 PM  

  • I have a friend who hates everything and everybody who is successful in any way. She hates this town, and the people are all morons, etc., etc., etc.

    I sometimes think she only likes me because she "has more" than I do and she can be "Lady Bountiful", as in, "Let ME pay for lunch. I know you have limited funds." Even though I know this stems from her insecurities, she always succeeds in making me feel inferior. Her fault or mine? I don't know.

    By Blogger Betty, at 9:25 PM  

  • I once wrote this type of post ... only better.


    No, I kid. I think "haters" are motivated by low self-esteem. They probably just want someone to clap them on the back and say "Hey dude, nice article." Either that, or they're just retarded douchebags.

    By Blogger Malnurtured Snay, at 11:03 PM  

  • Cazzie, that is crazy! What a nutty announcement to make at a 1-year-old's party. Good for you to cut her out of the loop. Sounds like she might be depressing company. And I love how you handled the friend who was too good for your side of town, but not too good to attend university there. Funny.

    BK, selfishness is interesting. I hadn't considered that as a hater emotion. You're making me think.

    Lee, very good: haters hate themselves. I could see that.

    Pamela, I "hate" this kind of hater especially. They seem to embody that whole misery loves company thing.

    Jeni, I swear that swimmers analogy was not exaggerated. This guy really said with a straight face a doctor had told him his swimmers were the absolute best the doctor had ever seen and were amazing, and smart, and handsome, etc. OK, maybe not smart and handsome, but seriously you're right. This kind of mine's-bigger-than-yours 'tude should fade after childhood.

    Queen, with friends like that...Sheesh! What a spiteful person. Glad you distanced yourself.

    Dummy, good call on the passive-aggressiveness. Very good observation. It's almost as if haters are so venomous behind backs and in the "shadows" of whisper, and email, and phone, etc., 'cause they don't have the nerve to speak their dirt in the open. So they sort of restrain themselves by way of backhanded compliments, but not really.

    BobG, your vote of affirmation is duly noted ;-)

    MRP, another good call with ego. There really is a fine line between hater and A-hole. You point out the distinction well.

    ThirdWorst, come on back. We all have a hater story...or two or three or 10.

    Jay, interesting take. Haters are never satisfied. Makes sense.

    Melissa, congrats on the engagement. You deserve the happiness. It's funny. Mrs. B had "friends" who were sort of snotty about our wedding plans too. I even had to explain to a few "friends" that we weren't having 500 guests and a $200,000 wedding 'cause we weren't trying to impress them. We wanted a simple service for family and a few close friends. And if they didn't like it they could go fornicate themselves with a tree branch.

    Betty, definitely her fault. She needs your pleasantness to riff off of. If you were not a nice personality it would probably be more difficult for her to "hate" on you, 'cause you'd be two peas in a pod.

    Ha! MS, you've solved the newsroom hater problem. Now, what about the rest of 'em? I know, one step at a time ;-)

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 11:53 PM  

  • remember my "what part of this face looks like it cares"look? that's haters fact..i used it recently WITH a person-i-shall-not-mention and it shut her down instantly

    By Blogger savannah, at 12:17 PM  

  • I have had the "your hair looks better than it usually does" type of "friend", and the "I sure wouldn't want to have to clean that big house" type of "friend", but I sort of moved on and left them behind. I cannot however escape my mother in law except by outliving her. I love everyone, but the only reason I would attend her funeral is if she dies before my father in law. That's cold, I know, but I have never known anyone more hateful, condescending, tiresome, or downright spiteful. She treats my child from my first marriage differently than the two from this one, even though being the second wife herself, she is not actually related to my husband. Over the years I have tried to understand her, but I have no idea what makes people so mean. Oh, I might go to the funeral after all. I love to dance.

    By Blogger wordsonwater, at 1:52 PM  

  • Savannah, I need to rehearse that look. I think I used to be better at it. My mean mug has faded.

    WoW, you almost made me spit out coffee with that last sentence.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 4:03 PM  

  • have you ever read White Dade's blog? he's not the hater... but the frequent commenter on that blog named ANON1 is the definition of the blogosphere hater.

    insecurity is what drives most people to being haters.

    By Blogger minijonb, at 6:14 PM  

  • Determining the motivation for their hatred is one thing. Learning why they feel they've gotta bring others down with them by their comments is something else. (The ones that hate in silence aren't any better, because they can turn their wrath against others in a more tragic manner.) I believe those that take you down with their one-upsmanship feel that they were somehow unjustly considered for life's rewards. They need a reality check.

    By Blogger The Sarcasticynic, at 7:43 AM  

  • I'm a hater. And proud. The object of my scorn is Lebron James. God...I had hoped the NBA was getting away from making gods of players. Sigh. Remember the obscenity of the Jordon Rules? Dwayne Wade? Sad. It's why I prefer football and baseball. Sure, there's the occasional Barry Bonds, and Derek Jeter, but they aren't bigger than their team. They aren't THE GAME.

    Remember this quote from Lebron: "I don't want to just be a superstar, I want to be an international icon." JEEZ.

    I know, I sound bitter because the Pistons couldn't neutralize them yesterday...that's another story.

    So me? I'm a hater. And proud.

    By Blogger Stewart Sternberg, at 10:48 AM  

  • Words on Water - that was funny.

    By Blogger Lee, at 2:31 PM  

  • Dude, that guy is a dick!

    Evil Spock doesn't have any hater stories. Everybody Loves Evil Spock.

    By Blogger Evil Spock, at 3:44 PM  

  • minijonb, I do read White Dade. Can't stand annonymous haters. Cowards.

    Sarc, I can see that I-deserved-better-attitude.

    Stewart, I salute you for admitting your hatertude. Honestly, we all have a little hater in us. I hate on the rich guys - real and posers - who drive past my little SUV in their $200,000 Bentleys and their RRs. Of course, I say I'm joking 'cause really I'd just like one of those cars myself. But a small part of me is a little serious. Jealousy. What can I say?

    Lee, we agree on WoW.

    Evil Spock, I wanna be you. That'd be lovely to live in a world w/out haters - serious, mean haters anyway.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 1:48 AM  

  • The one who comes to mind is my older brother, who has put me down and abused me since I was born.

    Every one of your examples has crossed his lips except for New Jersey. (Even he has his limits.) I hear from him only when he has something to brag about, but he has never had the slightest interest in my life, except to demean my choices.

    But why, you ask. I think it's because he really hates me. He was an only child and grandchild for 6 years, and he has never forgiven me for being born.

    He is an intelligent, successful person who has been able to travel all over the world, but he can't seem to get away from himself.

    By Blogger heartinsanfrancisco, at 3:27 AM  

  • My husband's ex was a hater. She told him she didn't love him anymore and asked him to leave. He tried several times to come back, but each time was rejected. Then a year and a half later he and I met and fell in love almost immediately - and were married exactly one year later. That's when the hate began. She did everything she could to make our lives miserable, but in the end her bitterness and hate made her miserable instead. And he and I are still together and more in love than ever - after 20 years!

    Hate ultimately destroys the person who practices it.

    By Blogger Ms.Green, at 10:38 PM  

  • HeartsinSanFran, you rang a bell. I notice that a lot of the respondents here said a relative, a sibling, was their hater. That fascinates me. My older sister and I have had some on/off tension over the years. Not sure if I ever felt like she was a hater. Hope she didn't feel that way about me. But this gives me cause to think. Maybe it's like that saying about keeping friends close and enemies closer. Maybe the most likely hater are the people closest to us.

    Ms. Green, glad to hear you and your husband were a unified front against the hater. Kudos.

    By Blogger James Burnett, at 11:26 PM  

  • A "friend" was a hater tonight. Instead of flipping out, I looked at them, and thought to myself, "now there is a hater".

    It helped me to keep my cool till I could blow off some steam at home and just avoid them for the next two or three years.

    I was assertive but did not want to give them the satisfaction of seeing me care about their opinion.

    What an f-ing hater. Anyways, thanks for putting it in perspective.

    By Blogger Agent Ska, at 11:47 PM  

  • I still think there is a fine line between "hating" and being thin skinned when someone gives you their opinion. People currently seem to be more hyper-sensitve to any type of perceived negative comments or less than complimentary gestures.

    I guess what I'm trying to say is that in order for someone to be a "hater" to you, you have to be in a position to be "hated" upon or, in other words, in a position of seeking outside approval for your actions. The ends don't justify the means--they justify themselves. So once you stop giving a crap about other people's opinions of you or your actions, no matter how close to you they are, then you'll find there are less "haters".

    In that way, it's sort of like voodoo. You have to believe in it for it to be real. For instance, I am a hater when someone is overly excited about something minor while major destruction is going on around them. The phrase "killing the ants while the elephants run free" applies here.

    Example--My cousin calls to tell me how excited she is about rapping for a crowd of 20 in a club for no pay-it's hard for me to get excited for her anymore because she is 34 and lives at home with her mother, who has been taking care of my cousin's child for 11 years while she chases this dream. I tell her she did great, but why doesn't she have a job since I took her to a job fair the week before. She calls me a hater.

    Am I?

    By Anonymous Big Daddy, at 3:34 PM  

  • Hater by the name of V. Hall at U of M. This person talks behind the backs of every person within her department. She always makes comment about her weight so someone will say your weight is fine(your grossly overweight). She loves to talk about herself constantly.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at 3:03 PM  

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