Hi Everyone! Stef here and the Spring 2012 semester is finally over and I am officially a senior at MSU!!! "Taking it One 'Stef' at a Time" has been ignored for a while because of school and work obligations, but hopefully this summer I will have more time to write for you. I have been brainstorming new topics and series to write about and I have posts in my drafts that I have worked on during the semesters but haven't had the chance to post until now, so I am excited with what the summer has in store for us, so hopefully it will be a successful one. I have a bunch of ideas planned!
So we begin my summer series of posts with the following thought-induced topic:
"Why are boys such jerks???"
...Okay, this is not a sexist piece against men and you probably do not expect it to be anyway considering how I often defend men on this blog. Also, I do recognize that girls can be "jerks" as well, so this isn't a one-sided argument. I'm just saying "boys" because that is my matter at hand.
So one night a couple of weeks ago I was crying to my friend about a male acquaintance of mine whom is currently upsetting me. Long story short, I met him the semester of Fall 2011 and he was so sweet to me, chatting with me and acknowledging me from time to time. Plus, I find him interesting. More of this continued on into my Spring 2012 semester, when I felt like we were developing our friendship a bit more. But then, after a while, his friendliness toward me started to dwindle. He does still somewhat acknowledge me, but he's just not as friendly as he used to be. Perhaps he is stressed and tired, but that isn't necessarily an excuse (though can it be?). I rarely talk to him, so for a while I've been looking back at our encounters, trying to figure out what went wrong and why things have changed between us so suddenly. I know it's not that serious, but I actually feel kind of bad about it. It's like, "What happened? Did I do something wrong?" I've been nothing but nice to him, though, so I don't think that's the case. It's probably not me.
So anyway I was/am upset about this and my friend simply said, "He's just a jerk," to which I responded, "There must be a better reason. It can't be just that." She then said, "You don't think guys can just be jerks? He's blowing you off. What other reason can it be?"
This brief part of our in-depth conversation stayed with me and made me think about the word "jerk" more analytically. I don't want to just settle the issue by just calling him a "jerk." I feel like that is either letting him off the hook or labeling him as something he isn't. I feel like just saying that a person is a "jerk" is excusing him or her for behaviors, dismissing the person as if there should not be any more thought on the matter and it's just how it is ("Oh, he's just a jerk. Don't worry about it."), whereas I believe that something may be going on with him and there's a reason for his not so friendly treatment of me and so calling him a "jerk" is unfair. Can people just be "jerks" and that is all there is to it? Is that a good enough definitive label to give someone? I don't feel that people can just be labelled as "jerks," as if that is who they are and there's no more to it because I believe we are all bigger people who deserve better descriptions than just being the low "jerks." To me it's a slang, writing a person off by saying "What a jerk" instead of coming up with better adjectives to describe the person. People have both their good and bad sides so being classified as just "jerks" doesn't do them any justice because that word is pretty dehumanizing.
A part of me too doesn't want to accept the fact that this guy in particular is a "jerk" because I just don't see him that way. I feel like he's a good enough guy so therefore my friend's label of him isn't just, since neither she or I know him very well to judge. But then again, since we don't know him well, we can't really say for sure that he is a "good guy" either or defend him from being labelled as a "jerk" simply because we don't know him enough the determine him either way. I just have a good impression of him, okay?!
It's probably best if I don't over think it, just let the chips fall where they may, and not worry about it (because since summer vacation began and I haven't been seeing him I've been concerning about it less and less and gradually have been realizing even during the semester that it is not worth obsessing over), which is what I try to do but sometimes have difficulty with because I am also a believer of taking matters into my own hands (This can actually be a good blog post topic: When to let things happen and when to contribute your own actions.), but I am still curious about the whole "jerk" aspect of it and how the word came into existence in the first place. Should people be demeaned as such by others? Then again, do people present themselves as such and deserve this title anyway? If this is the case, then we should probably determine the following: Is there such a thing as a "jerk" at all? Is being a "jerk" just a personality trait like any other that defines people or do people just have "jerk" tendencies and should not be defined as such? What constitutes a "jerk"? What are the official qualities? What is the definitive definition? There should probably be a common ground.
What do you think? Can people just be classified as "jerks" with no explanation, just an observation of their actions, or do people always have a background reason for their ill-treatment of others and should these reasons be taken into account? Have you ever experienced a friendship like this where you try to befriend someone, it looks like it is going well, and then everything is brought to a halt and you don't know why? Is this just something people do and it's considered normal? Maybe the issue is I never met a guy like this one before and I am just not used to his type. Then again, maybe this is just his personality and I am taking it personally. Now that I remember he exhibited this behavior early on as well and maybe I am just noticing it more because I have been talking to him more. I just feel like he only does this to me and not anyone else, but I can't say for sure. But still, just because people have certain personality traits doesn't make them "jerks!" Or does it?
Or should I shut up and just accept the fact that there are "jerks" in the world no matter which way I turn it?
Or, should we refrain from name-calling and stop calling people "jerks" and disregard this whole argument altogether? I don't have a problem with the word, it's just that I haven't thought much about it until now.
This is pretty much me trying to dissect the word "jerk" and figure out what happened at the same time. lol