By Hope Racine
Hello, my sisters in snark, my colleagues in curtness, my friends who are frank and my associates in assertiveness: Today we salute you.
You, who so boldly and decisively refuse to stand for bullshit. You, who do not cower; you who do not yield. You, who most likely suffer from moderate to severe resting b*tch face.
Like you, I have been told at times that I have a bad attitude problem.
Maybe I'm alone in my definition of a good attitude. I'm not mean or cold or dismissive to people. I'm genial and friendly. I take criticism well and thank people for holding doors and in general do not say mean or offensive things (to people's faces). But I don't swallow bullshit.
I don't know when society decided that the proper response for other's incompetence and personal problems was a big smile and weary acceptance. Do you want me to do a dance for you and give you a cookie for continually failing to follow directions? Hold that thought, though, because I need to go plan a party to congratulate you for that one time you actually did the job you were hired to do.
And why, pray tell, am I somehow required to give a f*ck about your personal problems?
I know that part of my "attitude problem" stems from my gender. My male friends and coworkers get to sharply extract themselves from conversations and have no problem being direct and to the point. As long as they aren't openly hostile, they avoid the classification of "d*ck" and get the softer "grouch" or even better, "driven".
I just get called a b*tch because I have "a tone".
I have a conspiracy theory that the world of good feelings and hugs and oversharing was created in order to keep people like you and I down. Think about it: Somehow it seems like a vast majority of the people I encounter in positions of authority are either utterly unqualified for that position, or take themselves way too seriously. Self-indulgence and overestimation seem to be the name of the game, and the entire system banks on passive aggressive politeness.
If you call out incompetence, it's rude. It's mean. It's arrogant.
But don't you think that sometimes people need to be knocked down a peg? I think it's important to have frank, brutally honest people around you. You're never going to learn or better yourself if you're constantly shielded from the fact that you suck.
In my perfect universe, I would love to have the position of negative life coach. Instead of empty platitudes and positive thinking, I would just like to sit down and make lists of how people have f*cked up and caused their own mistakes. It would be a really invigorating session, and therapeutic for all parties. At the end, instead of emotional oversharing, the person would quickly leave the room so there would be no uncomfortable crying in public. Then they would go home, drown some sorrows in Chipotle, and emerge the next day with a game plan on how to live their life.
I would kill to have a life coach like that.
I don't exaggerate when I say that some of the most productive, life-changing conversations I have ever had revolved around the theme of my failure. It's refreshing to ask someone a genuine question and get a 100-percent honest answer. You need someone in life to be frank and honest and drop the overly polite pretense and cut through the shit. People like that are valuable -- so treasure them. And cut them some slack.
Originally posted on Literally, Darling an online magazine by and for twenty-something women, which features the personal, provocative, awkward, pop-filled and pressing issues of our gender and generation. This is an exact representation of our exaggerated selves.