Oh, also: don’t be a coward. Always be honest as early as possible when something bothers you. Cowards have a bad habit of not being able to inflict small pains on other people — i.e. they cannot handle confronting people about reasonable things for fear of hurting their feelings or not being liked — so they wait until those things build up and inflict huge pains on those people instead, fleeing immediately after. Instead of having control over things, they feel better letting events blow up and force them into action.
- They will date someone for a long time and drag things out, making the person more invested, hurt, and blindsided when they break up.
- They badmouth someone behind their back, so that eventually the person is hurt not only by them, but by the people who listened/participated in it, and the people who didn’t tell them. All this when a simple conversation or merely ceasing to interact might have fixed everything.
- They lie to avoid dealing with problems, so that the other person ends up feeling even more betrayed and develops trust issues when it finally comes out.
- They do things like cheat on their SOs because they can’t have simple conversations about why their needs aren’t being met, or they can’t simply break up with someone when it clearly won’t work out.
Those around the coward are always hurt way out of proportion to what was necessary.
I actually actively avoid people once I see them exhibit cowardly behavior, because they’re an easy to spot subcategory of People Who Will Hurt You for No Good Reason Out of Nowhere and You Can’t Stop it. Others cannot feel safe around a coward. The only way to even be friends with a coward is to ensure everything between you is always perfect — which is impossible anyway, and which you cannot ensure with a coward especially because you won’t get honest feedback. A small tick that annoys only the coward and no one else could build up into something insane later.
So “don’t be a coward is essential,” I think. That entails bringing things up early, thinking through the consequences of keeping grievences secret and acknowledging how much worse it will be when they find out later, and not being a delusional idiot who imagines they can keep up some pointless ruse his entire life. This is just as bad as being impossible to approach, it’s just a slower relationship killer because it can take people longer to identify that they don’t know the coward as well as they thought. I also feel it’s more damaging to others in the long run.
What both have in common is how easy, and how much, you can hurt someone with no malice involved at all. (Only some of the coward behaviors require malice; most are attempts NOT to hurt someone that blow up in obvious ways the coward would like to believe won’t happen for some reason.)”