Basic Human Decency: Fuckboi edition
I really wish I didn't have to write this blog post. But, it can wait no longer. It appears that common sense seems to have gone out the window when we catch feelings for someone (myself included). The content of this post was birthed out of a three-way conversation with two old friends of mine. Long story short: how do you know when a relationship is more trouble than it's worth?
Disclaimer: the next paragraph is clearly a hetero example, as it's more of where my personal experience lies.
Picture this, you've been crushing on someone for a while or (more likely) you right swiped them. Maybe you've been out of the dating game and you're expecting the worst as you take a chance on another potential fuckboi. But, guess what? It's your first date and things are going really well. He picked out a trendy bar for some overpriced cocktails, he was on-time, clearly put some effort into his button-down and is even wearing sultry smelling aftershave. Exciting. Conversation starts and he patiently listens as you tell him about your passion for ripened avocados. You ask him a question and he isn't afraid to divulge some personal details about his last relationship. Your heart begins to flutter as you ask yourself: could this be the one?
Things start to progress and you realise you really like this guy. Familiar feelings of vulnerability bubble up to the surface and biologically-speaking your rational part of the brain is shut-off. If you weren't aware of this incredible evolutionary phenomena, when the good-feeling hormones start to leach into your bloodstream you become unable to make a well-reasoned decision. This is why experts recommend seeking a neutral-parties second opinion before the fourth date. It makes sense our drives want us to procreate and make beautiful babies. Our hormones do not care if this relationship makes sense long term. All those nights carefully considering what your next relationship would look like goes out the window and you can't help but fall for this guy.
Now, I would assume at some stage in this courting ritual you'll gush about him to a close friend of yours. Maybe you'll make sweeping statements about his sense of style or how you feel as though this time might be different. Hopefully, the noddingly excited face looking back at you toes the line between getting swept up in the blissful serenity of new love because it's beautiful and amazing and I'm so happy for you - and sensible suggestions. But, before you get too attached, if you want something long term you should ask yourself whether this guy can go the distance.
Studies have shown that kindness is one of the most important factors in long-lasting love. Kindness is not necessarily just about whispering sweet nothings in your ear (although those are much appreciated). It's about ACTION. As I sat cross-legged at the end of my friend's bed mulling over her current relationship I tried to describe what I mean when I say someone is authentically kind. In my mind, it's about generosity of spirit and willingness to go through discomfort for you. In my life, this love has most been shown by my dad (although thankfully I have countless examples in my family and friendships).
This kindness is the person who you can call at 3am when you're in a sticky situation and they will hop in the car to bail you out. This kindness is the person who will carry your bags when they can tell you're suffering. This kindness is the text message out of the blue when you post a photo where you don't look like you're feeling 100%. This kindness is not easy and it's not comfortable. It's a willingness to go above and beyond for the people you care about.
You might be asking yourself, how in the heck can you gauge whether someone will pick you up at 3am from the early stages of dating? And that is a fair question. This is where it's crucial to look at the other relationships in this guys life.
Red flags that he might not be as kind are as follows:
- Rudeness to waiters (RUN)
- Dismissive of his family
- Claims his ex is a psycho
- Regularly blows off his friends
On the other hand, here are a list of indications he has a kind heart:
- Does he open the door for you?
- Does he ask you about your day before he launches into a rant about work stress?
- Does he introduce you to his friends?
- Random acts of kindness (your favourite chocolate bar, orders you a coffee before you arrive)
These little things might not be a big deal, but trust me if he's already doing these things on a regular basis when times get tough he's more likely to work through things. In the case of my friend, she was already a few months into the relationship and when I asked her this question she listed off some examples. Now, if it takes you a while to recall one of these acts of kindness that in itself is a sign. In this particular instance, my friend was clutching at straws. Here are a few examples she gave, which I don't believe are gold star worthy (I'll explain below):
- He came downstairs to let her in the building
- He picked her up from the station when it was raining
Don't get me wrong these examples are not bad things. They just don't deserve the gold star of kindness. Let me explain, these are basic human decency. If you're wondering whether the list of kind acts you're accumulating is really a sign of kindness ask yourself would I reward my friend/myself for doing the same thing. I hope that my tribe of readers are as kind as my immediate group of friends that's to say obviously I would pick up my friend from the station late at night. My friend justified that when it was raining he didn't want to get his trainers wet - excuse my french but that's bs. Nobody feels comfortable picking up their friend when it's raining. But if you asked me, none of my friends would think twice about it and certainly not my family members.
We've gotten into the mess where we expect such shitty behaviour from the men in our lives that those who show basic human decency expect to be praised. This is the same phenomena I was alluding to in my article about the double standard between my brothers and me. For example, when a male family member cooks or does the dishes. Why do we expect women to bend over backwards for the people in their lives and rarely give them the credit they deserve when men are so accustomed to getting gold stars for doing the bare minimum. Now, I'm not saying you shouldn't thank the people in your life when they act kindly. I'm just saying these basic acts of human kindness really shouldn't be that noteworthy - especially if a guy is supposed to like you.
In the honeymoon period he should be thanking his lucky stars he gets the pleasure of being in your company. And, ideally, he should continue to go out of his way to carve time and money and discomfort out of his life to show how much he cares. Why is our generation putting up with a 'you up' text when we deserve so much more? My mom and I were having a chat the other day and I mentioned that a friend of mine had just been broken up with. She expressed disbelief that 'nowadays guys break up with girls'. In her day, any guy was whipped and smitten if he got the pleasure of having a girlfriend.
I'm not saying we want an abuse of power where women hold their prowess over the men in their life. But surely we need a shift from this current mentality where guys are expected to be fuckboi monsters and if they're not they deserve our precious time and attention. You deserve better. I deserve better. This goes both ways and is not isolated to intimate relationships. Please treat people with generosity and kindness in general. Treat people the way you want to be treated and don't settle for anything less than the magic you deserve. Individual actions and standards can make a difference. I promise you that by asserting your boundaries of what you expect from the people in your life that the love you need will step up to the plate.
Ps if you want an example of imperfectly perfect examples of good behaviour. Your homework is to watch Ten Things I hate About You or To All The Boys I've Ever Loved.
All my love, Sam