The handy guide to not being an asshole

a.k.a. How to be a proper human being

I went on Google earlier today and – for some weird reason – typed “how to be good to people”. A part of me wanted to see if humans are really so dysfunctional as to write something like this. I didn’t think they were. But what do you know, guess the Internet wins again – there are 1,430,000,000 results under that phrase, folks. Which begs two questions:

  1.  What the holy hell is wrong with you to type something like that into a search engine?!
  2. What the flying fuck is wrong with you to put up a post like that?!

No, seriously, if you need Google to tell you how to be a good person, I’ve got two things for you: 1) you’ve got no friends, bud; 2) you’ve got some serious problems on your hands.

So, what to do if you find yourself hitting that proverbial bottom of life? Not to fret, friends, I’ve got you covered. What follows are some of my surefire tips and tricks to get you out of the blues.

  1. Smile. It’s a human facial motion which resembles an upside-down banana. If you love bananas, you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s said to look good on people, some people even say it’s the best thing you could ever do. Try it, you might like it.  
  2. Also, put your fucking phone down. I really shouldn’t have to say this. If it belonged attached to your body, you would have been born with it. Unstick your grizzly face from it and look around. Woooooah, what do you know. It’s better than 3D!
  3. Be fucking polite.  One piece of advice online says ‘you should be just as polite to strangers as you would be to your family members’. Well, that’s not saying much for your average teen nowadays, is it. So instead, I would say: use The Golden Rule – “Do unto others whatever you would like to have done unto you”. That means –don’t walk around randomly pushing people on the streets and not saying sorry; when you see a pregnant woman in the subway, stand the fuck up, let her sit down. You‘ve got lots more time to be your asshole self later.
  4. When you see somebody struggling, offer help. If you were the one hauling 30 kgs of shit down the hallway in 10 cm heels wouldn’t you have wanted someone to open the goddamn door for you? Precisely. Thank you.
  5. When meeting someone new, introduce thyself. You know how it is. Sentences made of words. Words made of sounds. Vowels and consonants. We studied this in kindergarten. If you’re gonna sit there like a frickin zombie with your eyes shifting between the different moles on their face, you might as well give that poor person your name.
  6. Talk to people. Don’t stand there like a dud. Actually say something. Though whatever you say, for the love of God, please avoid everybody’s favourite elevator topic – the weather. Skip past the small talk and ask them something significant: what are they excited about today? What has been the best moment of their day so far, and why? Get some happiness on there.
  7. Make an effort to remember the names of people. Pro tip: Repeat the person’s name as you shake their hand, right after their saying it and before you saying yours. Works extremely well in large groups of people, so you don’t make an idiot of yourself. Another useful tip is to pick one characteristic trait of the person whose name you just heard and tie that in with their name in the backend of your system. Let me reiterate that: Do not, for the love of Christ, say it out loud. I can bet no one would enjoy hearing “Thrilled to meet, you, Richard Big Nose. Heard a lot about you.” Don’t be that guy.
  8. Strive to remember some stuff about said people. That short vacation your friend just had might not be a big deal to you, but it damn well might be for her, seeing as she busted ass for 2 years prior to that, saving to buy a car. And yeah, that is a thing where I’m from.
  9. Ask questions. Pay a genuine interest in people. Like, for real. Get your head out your ass. Notice stuff around you. Look at people, less like a weirdo and more like a normal human being. How do they look? Are they feeling down? If yes, try to lighten the mood. If not, you can ask them how they’re doing otherwise. But not in the asshole-y, more like in that genuine sort of way. You know what I mean.
  10. You’ve got ears on both sides of your head. Use ‘em. Easy way to remember this: two ears, one mouth. Always spend more time listening to people than you spend talking. It might not work every single time, but just trying still forges the habit. God knows I am a sick narcissist and this doesn’t come easily, but I sure do try. The trick is to get it in your head like a psychological trigger: as soon as someone starts talking, you tell yourself ‘listen’. You’ll get the hang of it over time. And then you’ll log on here and praise me, and send me cake by post, because I transformed all your relationships and found world peace. You’re welcome.
  11. Don’t wait for a compliment to give one. Be sure to make it something worthwhile that makes your eyes smile. At least feign a little interest. And if you get one, definitely give one back. Though try to make it something comparable. Don’t point out their ‘new’ haircut after they’ve complimented you on your job raise. That’s pure bullshit and nobody will buy it anyway. The general tactic is to try and stick to a similar, if not the same, field of life when paying the gesture back. Be smart. Again, don’t be an asshole, we have plenty of those already.
  12. Don’t curse/ trash talk. Yeah, I know, I’m a hypocrite for saying this. Ha-fucking-ha. Truth is I can curse over here, because I get the privilege of (somewhat) choosing my audience. For those out in real life – including me, of course – a general rule of thumb should be to abstain from foul-sounding words in the presence of children, the faint of heart, your grandma and, generally, any person you wish to make money out of. Which in today’s economy is pretty much everybody. Also, as to the second point – in case you find you’ve got something to say to someone, say it to their face. Grow a pair, will ya?
  13. Don’t be a lizard. Gossiping is not okay. Nobody likes Betty Big Mouth. Well, almost nobody. Though it might work if you’ve got other aspirations, if you catch my drift.
  14. Be tolerant to people. You get two assholes together and suddenly it’s like Tweedledee and Tweedledum went off on a fucking rampage. Don’t be that guy. Be decent, don’t judge people, and don’t offend. It’s really not that hard to do. Also, you’re gonna have a far better time out in the real world, I guarantee it. If that’s not your thing though, you’re always welcome to buy a couple of cats and move inside, where it’s safer. (Or at least you think it is. You own two fucking cats, for God’s sake. Get your head straight.)

There you go, folks, the 14 ways to instantly not be an asshole. Call this your new Pocket Bible for Kids. Now go out into The Great Big World and make me fucking proud.

XO,

Issie