Dislike is not a crime

A few days ago my friend expressed great frustration to me at their ex’s unwillingness to talk to them, and their inability to do anything to mitigate this. I have been used to express sympathy for this plight, but for whatever reason, in this particular case I was unable to do so. Perhaps it is because I have experienced this from the other side–I have been extremely unwilling to interact with certain others because they make me uncomfortable, or because I do not like them. I have been terse, I have ignored, but I have never let vitriol escape my lips. This is not rudeness, but politeness to myself and others (for would it not be less polite to tell them to piss off?). My friend, however, complained that the object of their continued affections did not talk to them except by outside initiation. To me, this seems an absurdly privileged view, as it assumes that having attention paid to one is a right.

I wonder, Best Beloved, whether you have noticed the recent–or ancient, as it may be–trend of martyrdom as impressive and laudable. Suffering is particularly in fashion right now; we glamorize the mentally ill, the poor, those incapable of helping themselves, and most especially those who put others before themselves to their own detriment. This has become so deeply ingrained that we criticize those people who value their own happiness as paramount instead of making themselves available for use by others. I am one of those people, and it frustrates me endlessly that one is often forced by convention to associate (closely even, at times) with people one dislikes, else risk being labelled ‘toxic,’ ‘bitch,’ or simply bearing the full emotional brunt of someone else’s unhappiness.

Dislike is not a crime. Others’ perception of my dislike of them as a heinous insult is flattering, to be sure (how much they care about my opinions!) but I have no obligation to like anyone, nor to put myself in their way if that will decrease my happiness significantly. As I am somewhat angry, allow me to reiterate: nobody has the right to your time unless you have made a contract to give it to them. Nobody has to right to receive conversation, support, or favor from you. Human interaction is a privilege to be earned, not a natural right.

7 thoughts on “Dislike is not a crime

      • Well, there are some interesting connections between this and the basis of “friend-zoning,” which is an equally annoying instance of someone taking someone’s attention/affection/companionship for granted. I also think the expectations behind the attitude you pointed out are unrealistic, but that it’s difficult in practice to be kind whilst also looking out for your own comfort level and desires. Tricky, tricky. Thoughts?

  1. In reply to Meredith (those damnable three-level deep comments!):
    I agree that it is incredibly difficult to balance one’s own happiness and the happiness of others. I mostly handle this conundrum by beating very far around the bush, sometimes all the way into bushless country. I hint, equivocate, I completely fail to get my point across because I hate to be the cause of someone’s unhappiness. This is obviously not even close to the ideal way to do things.

    And because I have no clue what the ideal way to do things actually is, I’ll talk about friendzoning instead. It has its base in the classic trade that rape culture so loves: a man gives a woman time, and in exchange expects romance and/or sex. The most frustrating thing to me about friendzoning is this: if you want a romantic relationship with someone, you should already want to be friends with them. Romance is like friendship but with more snuggling! If you’re in the friend zone it’s already practically romance (although I admit my conception of the exact definition of romance is a little hazy). I’ll just go ahead and conclude: dudes need to stop being influenced from birth by our awful patriarchal Society to expect ladies to conform to their whims. Gosh, what is the problem with dudes?

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