We have all been there, girls and guys alike: you have a friend/acquaintance that makes a move on you, and you want NONE OF IT, so you do the responsible thing and let them down easy. However, rather than taking your feelings into consideration and moving on, they get tragically butt-hurt and begin giving you a long, drawn out Oscar-award-winning guilt trip about how you should want to go out with them. They’ll go to great lengths to make your heart heavy for rejecting them, including verbally abusing themselves and claiming they’ll be alone forever, or even turning against you by telling you that you owe them a chance – since, after all, they have been a good PLATONIC friend to you. Naturally, these guilt trips rarely work, and when they do, the outcome isn’t good. Why? Because the whole effort is based on a single fundamental: pity. Now I don’t know about the girl next to me, but the last date I ever want to go on is one that is only occurring because the person I went with feels bad for me, and nothing else. That doesn’t really seem like a healthy relationship dynamic, now does it?
Having said that however, it still happens; as a matter of fact, it happens to me quite regularly. Mind you, many of these people are just dudes skulking over the internet, but on multiple occasions (and I mean multiple) I’ve had these issues with cold-approachers and guys I actually knew personally. After so many of these occurrences, I began noticing that there always seemed to be an extremely common trait in every single one of them: they were extremely self-entitled. Now I know what you’re thinking: RJ, can your really nice guy/girl friend really be self-entitled? I mean, they were always there for you before, wouldn’t that mean that they’re better than that? Well, to answer your question honestly: no. You can be a good person and even a selfless person and still have a self-entitled air about your personality. That doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re a completely self-entitled person in general, but you at the very least have your moments. I came to this conclusion when I really began breaking the situation down piece by piece.
People who assume that someone owes them intimate affectionate based solely on what they deem an equal exchange (rather than taking the other person’s preferences into consideration) is undoubtedly someone, who at least in that moment, is acting pretty fucking self entitled. What’s worse is when they use petty tactics, such as the focus for this take: guilt tripping. Guilt tripping someone into giving you what you want is nothing short of a form of manipulation, which isn’t exactly a desired trait when searching for a partner. Suddenly, these hard-done-by souls don’t seem so pity-worthy, now do they?
Relax. I know I am coming across harsh, so I am going to lighten things up a bit here: most of these people don’t realize what they’re doing. I know this because I was one of those people in my youth – though I never guilt tripped anybody I saw as a potential partner, it was a common tactic I used when my friends would criticize me. It was a form of defense, to quickly and easily defuse an upsetting situation and make me the victim, earning me sympathy and comfort – and sometimes, even what I wanted out of the situation in the first place. It wasn’t until I got older that I was called out on it, and was told straight up that the behaviour I was showing was self-centered and blatantly selfish. At first, it was hard to fathom, because I always thought that being self-centered or selfish required you to be an aggressive dickhead, not a pitiful sap who couldn’t take no for an answer. When I really took the time to think about it, I realized there was only one difference between the two: one was aggressive, and one was passive aggressive. Both had the same affect, both had the same attempted resolve. From that point on, I began learning how to really consider the actions I took and the things people had to say about them, because ultimately, it benefited me to be able to understand multiple perspectives by giving me the chance to be more personable. Chronic guilt-trippers haven’t made this discovery yet.
To wrap this up, I’m going to address the chronic guilt-tripper directly, to help shed some light on a clearly very dark situation. These guilt tactics of yours, dear guilt-tripper, are not only flawed, but are extremely unlikely to work. Let’s take the theory apart: you theorize that by guilting somebody enough, they will essentially feel obligated to go out with you, and from there, you can “prove” to them that you’re actually exactly what they want/need, and they just haven’t realized it yet! But, is it really going to work out that way? Let’s make up a hypothetical to test the theory:
You ask out a friend of yours who you’ve like for a long time, but to your dismay, they softly reject you. Feeling betrayed and hurt, you begin a kamikaze of guilt tripping them for not realizing how perfect you are to them, reminding them that for the kindness you gave them willingly, they owe you their upmost intimate affection, even though they don’t feel intimately attracted to you. You ignore their own personal preferences, because – hell, they couldn’t possibly know what THEY want for THEMSELVES, they want all of the wrong guys/girls, who they NEED is YOU. So, by the grace of some really sick God, you manage to guilt trip them into dating you. Now, you’re with a person who is only there because they pity the shit out of you, they resent you because you don’t care for their personal preferences and they’re completely not attracted to you in any way (they likely weren’t before, but your personality has gone to shit now too, removing all hope you ever had) and they’re completely miserable, because while they are sitting there with a person they never had any sort of romantic feelings for, they could be off trying to find somebody who they are genuinely compatible with. As a result, they’re distant, you fight, they won’t put out (because they aren’t attracted to you in any way, physically or emotionally) and most importantly, they’re unhappy. Suddenly, this person you wanted to do no more than care for is completely miserable, and that beautiful relationship you had figured out in your head hasn’t flowered the way you were expecting it to. Eventually, that relationship falls apart, and you’re left asking yourself: where did it all go so wrong?
It went wrong when you decided that you didn’t truly care about this person enough to take their feelings into consideration. It went wrong when you decided you didn’t respect and love yourself enough to find somebody who TRULY loved you for exactly who you were, rather than trying to force someone else to do it instead. Is this a really ridiculously exaggerated example? Of course, but let’s face it: if guilting somebody into dating you actually worked, the outcome likely wouldn’t be too far off. Plain and simple, if somebody doesn’t love you back, it isn’t a crime, and it doesn’t even necessarily mean there’s anything wrong with you: you two aren’t compatible, and that’s okay. In fact, it’s good information to have. Because there’s nothing worse than putting 100% of yourself into a relationship when the other person really doesn’t want to be there.
So, to conclude: respect others, respect yourself, find love by giving it, never by forcing it. Always strive to be a better person.