If I'm a terrible person to a few people, but nice to everyone else, does that still make me a terrible person?

In my eyes yes, you would be a terrible person if I knew about it – but you are not a terrible person to me just for asking this question. The fact you call it “terrible” shows that you recognize the nature of your behavior and find it wrong. You are not acting according to your conviction.

Picking who will I be nice to and who will I be terrible to is terrible in a way. Drawing the line, dividing people into categories and then treating them differently – that reminds me of some of the worst events in human history. The problem is when you know you are terrible to someone and yet don’t change your attitude.

It would be a different story if you asked “I was terrible to few people…” Recognizing that you are terrible to someone and already calling it terrible shows that you think about how you behave and that you care. It may not be enough to change but it is definitely the step in the direction which allows for a change.

Sometimes I wonder why people say “I am so terrible” or “I am so lazy” and laugh at it as if saying it was making them less terrible, as if it was some kind of excuse. If you know you are terrible and still don’t want to change, what is the point in highlighting it? Just try not to be terrible.

Look into yourself, try to find out why are you terrible and change it. And make sure you really think it is “terrible”, maybe you’re just worried that your behavior could be considered terrible but in your eyes is not. That would be for another question.

10 Replies to “If I'm a terrible person to a few people, but nice to everyone else, does that still make me a terrible person?”

  1. The act of asking this question shows you have a conscious awareness of your behavior and empathy. Do not expect yourself to be perfect or to handle everyone around you perfectly. That is an unrealistic goal. Understand that abrasions are a part of human interaction and that you can’t please all the people all the time. However, keep aware of the guilt as it will reduce your urges to be abrasive towards others. You are just fine and perfectly functional. No one is perfect. Just try to not be a jerk on purpose.

  2. Like the lawyers like to say – it depends on the motives and circumstances.

    If these few people called you a terrible person – it is worth to look at their motives. Maybe you actually wronged them a lot – but if you recognize that and ready to make amends – that shows that you have changed and not that bad person anymore. Or maybe these few people just toxic and call you terrible person out of jealousy or because you dare to not comply to their whims. In this case it is clear who is terrible here.

    If you think of yourself as terrible because of your behavior to this people, again it depends on your motives. E.g. – if you resent violence, but resort to being physical with some bullies because they won’t leave you alone otherwise – there is nothing wrong with it, even if you feel like you have failed yourself. On the other hand if you behave as a jerk towards some people for no good reason – it indeed shows that there are darker sides in your personality.

  3. Interesting question. I’ve thought about a similar example many times and decided there are no absolutes in one person but there are in the eyes of others.

    My thought experiment was: What if I were to randomly kill someone on the street for no reason at all and 5 minutes later would run into a burning building to rescue some unknown elderly person screaming from the 7th floor, then walk out, cross the corner, see a dozen of assholes harrassing a woman, gay person or ethnic minority for eg. and would intervene and without a doubt would get messed up pretty badly myself since I’m no Bruce Lee but save that person as well and to finalize the holy trinity then would jump in front of a freight train to push a young kid into safety as he was frozen as a deer in the headlights.

    I don’t think the family of the person I killed would feel more kindly towards me regardless..

  4. You cannot follow a certain predetermined style, set of rules, mannerisms etc. to interact with people in your life. With sugar in the mouth and ice on the head, one cannot go cool with everyone.

    If I am going to board a train and commuters standing at the doors are not allowing me to enter, I cannot make a kind and sincere request. I have to be slightly rude and exchange negative greetings. You are not a terrible person here.

  5. Honestly, yes it probably would mean that you were a terrible person. It is also not my place to judge you. But if someone was to judge you it would kind of depend on each person’s definition of terrible. What you may think as terrible may not seem so bad to someone else. With that being said it could also seem much worse than what you think to someone else. Your best bet is to try to be the best person you can be to everyone you met. God tells us to “Love thy neighbor.” That is not literally only you actual neighbor. It includes everyone. So I would ask you to not worry about this question that you have asked. Just try to be the best person you can be without regard to how others treat you. Try to make this world a better place. We already have enough people that try to bring us down. We do not need to add another person. Your better than that my friend.

  6. no maybe u r terrible person to a few people because them few people deserve it and after all it dosent matter the age off the person it the way thay treat you and why show a person respect if thay dont wish to treat u with any after all what do u really care what thay think when u never liked them from the start anywhy bro

  7. We are humans. We are both good and bad. If you’ve been terrible to a few people, I’d say that makes you human. On the other hand, you seem to be bothered about the times you behaved poorly. A little self-examination never hurt anyone, but you also seem to be afflicted with some shame about your behavior. Self-examination and self-understanding may help you avoid behaviors that you regret, but shame and the fear of shame make honest self-examination difficult.

  8. Seeing one wormhole in an apple is enough for me to throw it away – even if the rest appears to be fine.

    I don't think people should be defined by a few actions in a lifetime that spans decades, but it also goes the other way,. You can't define yourself by omitting those few actions either. The rest of the apple might be completely fine, but you can’t ignore the wormhole.

    The best option for not being defined as a terrible person is not ever to act like one.

  9. Yes, but you are a terrible person with the few people (whom you are terrible to) only. With whom you’re nice with, you are certainly a nice one.

    In my perspective, it is only simple like: I don’t care who you are, if you’re nice to me, I’ll be nice to you 🙂

  10. No. It means your behavior is terrible, and that this probably is more damaging than all your great behavior combined. You can fix all that. If you have the heart for it.

    Good luck, Mac

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