We all do it. It feels good, relieves stress, and improves our health. No, I’m not talking about a hug, Kaiser Permanente. Big ups to anyone who understood that reference. And I’m not talking about sex, you filthy animals. Stop making Bill Cosby so disappointed. I’m talking about talking crap, especially about our friends.
We all try to present the best versions of ourselves when we first meet people. It is important to make a good first impression because it does last. Our goal is to delay the inevitability of people finding out about our worst habits and characteristics. But the more time we spend with each other the more of these habits come out.
Everyone has an annoying habit or characteristic that drives the people around us nuts. In the beginning people will be polite and either ignore or forgive them. But eventually it becomes too annoying for people to handle and they need to find a release. Enter talking crap about the person for this habit. It helps relieve the stress it creates and avoids building up inside until it becomes too much and the person lashes out in a violent way. Making fun of the person with other people who notice the annoying habit or characteristic helps avoid violent conflicts.
Personally I think all shit-talking should happen to the person’s face. I like to give people shit and make fun of them out in the open. If people are a true friend, then they should be able to handle it. Plus I only like to give shit to the people whom I love, or whom I really, really hate, but you’ll know the difference. Some people take offense to it, but any shit I give to your face is never anything that other people don’t say behind your back. So ask yourself, which would you rather have?
People may choose behind their back because this option provides the comfort of denial, the world’s best elixir. “Tommy is full of shit. No one is saying these things behind my back. He’s just a lonely asshole who enjoys bringing people down for his own amusement.” Whatever helps you sleep at night, but it doesn’t change the truth. I’ve had plenty of conversations with friends about annoying habit another friend has. And I’m sure when I’m not in the room I get the same treatment. I know there is plenty of stuff to give me crap about.
It is traditionally viewed as a bad thing to talk crap about other people. But I think that notion is off based. Shit talking grounds us and inspires us to improve our lives. Never feel guilty about giving a friend shit about something, it is an essential duty of being a good friend. And while, I understand the comfort talking crap about someone behind their back, as I do think it is an important stress relief. I hope that everyone can start giving each other crap to our faces. Words are smaller than actions. We can talk all the shit we want as long as when the time comes for action we have our friends’ backs. As the great Rachel Dawes says, “It’s not who you are underneath, but what we do that defines us.”