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We all know that person. They are cringeworthy, overly opinionated, crude, rude, arrogant, anything but thoughtful and incredibly difficult to get along with. So what happens when that person is us? I know, I know. The thought of that is almost preposterous. The truth however, is that from time to time, we are all simply a jerkface.
The question is not, “is this possible?” The answer is let’s do better. The thought of change has the tendency to overwhelm. When we allow circumstance to swallow us up, we forget the fundamental principles that make us all human. At the very center of it all, is change. There are five simple things that we all can do in order to be the people that we expect others to be in return.
5. Stop bailing.
We have all done it. We will probably do it again. When we make a habit of bailing, it becomes problematic. Things come up, we all get sick, we misread our schedules, we run out of time. Those are all situations that at times cannot be avoided. On the contrary, we can always avoid ghosting others. The epitome of jerkface behavior occurs when we simply disregard those that we are supposed to regard. That’s exactly what we do when we bail. We tell the other party that they just aren’t that important. I know, you’re all ambassadors to small countries, creating life saving technology and building apocalyptic proof empires. In other words, you’re super busy.
When it comes down to it, no one is too busy to reschedule or ask for an extension. Those who have left their jerkface ways for better days, have realized that it simply is not okay to be irresponsible and let others down without correction. So meet your deadlines, show up to the events, attend the birthday parties. When you can’t, say so as soon as you know you can’t make it and make it up to those you’ve disappointed.
4. Make a new friend.
Why is this such a foreign thing to adults? After all, isn’t adulting much more difficult than childing? Is this not the time when true friendship could make all the difference in the daily struggles and stressors that we face? In early stages of friendship we are able to find ourselves being in the best action and showing the best versions of ourselves. It teaches us to be thoughtful and fun and interesting and curious. We take risks. We take chances. We learn. All things that jerkfaces would never do. When we make new friends we open up new pieces of the world that our soul has always longed for and our hearts haven’t yet experienced. Do yourself a favor. Invite the accountant on the other side of your weekly email to chat about why they love payroll, their new car, your new house and your weekend plans over lunch. They are what your life is missing.
Remember, it does not always matter what you think. Not every argument needs to be had, not every opinion needs to be spoken, not every statement requires a response.
When is the last time you sat anywhere and simply did not speak for a period of time? There is so much value in being a person who is able to simply observe and take note of what is actually happening around you. Get to a place where you realize that listening is powerful. Let someone else shine without having to tell your story of “how the same thing happened to you.” Let someone else cry on your shoulder without having to “understand exactly how they feel.” Let someone else scream and yell and possibly throw something in your presence without matching their tone and actions; because at the end of the day, “it’s all about you.”
But really, it’s not about you at all. It’s about them. And you should let them have that moment. The non-jerkface world has mastered discerning what is about them and what is not. They ALWAYS follow the greatest rule of healthy relationships-it’s not about winning so I don’t have to be right and I have nothing to prove.
2. Do what you say and say what you mean.
No one likes a phony. Not even you, even when you’re the jerkface. Hypocrisy does not come easy. It comes with a cycle of guilt and shame that no one is able to continuously endure. You see, many times our talent, appearance or our misconception of ourselves take us to a place that our character and integrity is not able keep us. The other side of this is that we don’t have to perpetuate the cycle of people pleasing. You’re allowed to go on a date and then not pursue a relationship. You’re allowed to estimate that you will have a project completed in two weeks and need more time when complications arise. You’re even allowed to be a person of faith or a particular interest and make a mistake, or two, or ten.
What we’re not allowed to do is make it something that it’s not. Red is not green. Water is not soda. Hubris is not honesty. So when you are not interested or attracted to that blind first date, tell them and wish them well. When you need an extension, don’t bulldoze your way to a messy product or leave things undone. Ask for more time. And when you make a mistake or get it wrong, own it and fix it. Get the right help, take the right advice. Stop setting yourself up for failure by not giving yourself the freedom to have good character.
1. Be honest.
That’s right. The number 1 thing you can do to not be a jerkface is to be honest. The wisest woman I know, my mother, instilled in us daughters at a very young age that there is never a time to not be honest. Now, all of us jerkfaces have a tendency to confuse honesty with saying whatever we want and even being rude. The fact of the matter is, those who live honest lives understand the necessity in speaking the truth in love.
There is a higher value of understanding than the need to be right or prove a point. Honest people value relationships and authenticity. Transparency is carefully crafted and sacred for those that are closest. But in all things, out of the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. And if you want to not be a jerkface, becoming an unabashedly honest person is a must. Do what is hard. Let the decision come easy. Change is good.