Prattle Encore | Why You Gotta Be Like That?

The following is a previously published article from May 5, 2010.

I was all set to write a piece on privacy, but it can wait.  Instead, I’m going to vent a little about toxic people.  Sound good?  Great!

In everyone’s life, there are SOPs –sources of pain.  This is my diplomatic term for those individuals who, for whatever fcuked up reason, no matter how nice you are, no matter how hard you go balls to the wall for them, it’s just never acceptable or enough.

They have two moods:  sullen & surly, so don’t even think about using humor to ingratiate yourself into their good charms OR appealing to the better side of their nature.  These people tend to take way more than they will ever give and justify it by telling themselves (and you) that they are having a bad day, etc.   It is never their own fault that they act like a shitheel, you see.  SOPs believe their toxicity is caused by other people and situations, so hey, abracadabra! They’re not to blame.

SOPs can be pretty much anyone – co-workers, classmates, neighbors, friends, lovers, spouses, relatives and other.  These folks weren’t always difficult, but at some point, they became bitter and/or unhappy with some aspect of their lives, and, instead of dealing with it and resolving the problem, seek instead to find someone else to take it out on. Essentially, they’re not in control of their lives, and, have no interest in rectifying that issue, so being a source of pain is what they’ve settled for.

Naturally, SOPs are never shitty to other SOPs because another SOP wouldn’t put up with it.  So the SOP finds and/or comes into contact with the one person in their life who is kind & courteous. Maybe that person is just a nice guy or gal.  Or maybe, they happen to have feelings for the SOP.  Or maybe they’re related to the SOP.  The scenarios are infinite.  The bottom line is that the person simply wants to get along for the sake of getting along. And  SOPs resent that person for being pleasant; Misery loves company, after all, so a positive person is a diametrically opposed personality to the SOP.

Note here that when I say get along for the sake of it, I’m not referring to a doormat.  You’re not a doormat simply because you realize that being an asshole 365x24x7 is mentally taxing.  Not to mention, it practically guarantees enough bad karma that not only will you be reincarnated as a hissing cockroach, but will be squashed and/or eaten by something larger at the exact moment you realize that if you wouldn’t have been such a bag of douche, you probably would have had a better chance of returning as something a lot less loathsome.

Since SOPs tend to almost always be passive aggressive, you can expect to encounter obstinacy every step of the way with these people.  And while numerous business management and/or psych books have been written on the topic of identifying and dealing with them (and I’ve both read my fair share as well as have dealt with and continue to deal with SOPs) I’ll save you some money and time by ID’ing a few choice behaviors as exhibited by them.

Won’t return a phone call, email or a text message

Completes tasks grudgingly, late, and incorrectly

Feigns loss of memory or provides some other lame ass excuse as to why a deadline and/or task was not completed on time if at all.

When doing something nice for the SOP, non-dysfunctional people usually only expect kind words in return.  But not only does the SOP not bother to even mumble a half-assed “thank you,”  they don’t even notice that you’ve done anything for them in the first place.  The attitude of the SOP is that since s/he did not ask you for whatever nice thing it is you did, you are therefore, not entitled to anything. Not kind words.  Not courtesy.  And certainly not respect.

The non-dysfunctional person typically ends up feeling like an idiot who keeps issuing free passes to the SOP  in an attempt to demonstrate patience & understanding.  He or she keeps waiting for the day when the ingrate will  extend a modicum of  common fcuking courtesy, or some other acknowledgment (either tangible or intangible) because that’s what would inspire confidence in the SOP and/or satisfaction with the relationship.  But of course, that day never comes.  SOPs withhold indefinitely whatever it is the non-dysfunctional person desperately wants because that is passive aggressive behavior at its fundamental core.

The longer non-dysfunctional people are exposed to SOPs, the worse the situation becomes.  And if you’re not careful, you could end up an SOP in your own right.  What you have to realize is that you will never change these people because they are the only ones who have control over their own behavior.  Furthermore, they’re not going to change because of you or because you’d like them to.  They have to want it for themselves period.

If you happen to be in a relationship with or related to an SOP, that makes the situation a little on the prickly side, but you’re going to have to limit your exposure if you want to keep your peace of mind. Sure, you could try sitting them down to have the conversation, but seriously, if you’ve read this far, then chances are, you’ve already gone down that road and reached the cul-de-sac many times.  At some point you have to know when to say when and cut your losses.

Maybe the SOP will realize on his or her own that you’re not as available as you once were.  And then again, maybe they won’t.  In which case, it’s not your problem.  Because if the SOP does not see the value in keeping you around, then there is nothing you can say that will persuade them to the contrary.  They are simply not worth wasting anymore of your time with.

Life is too damn short to spin your wheels on a sheet of ice with an SOP who neither appreciates nor values you.  It may sound harsh, but you’re not doing some noble deed torturing yourself  with an SOPs boorish behavior.  There isn’t some great reward waiting for you, so it’s best to either restrict the SOPs access to you and/or just cut it off clean. Game over.

What do you think? Feel free to share your own anecdotal evidence of an SOP in your life or on the way out.

©2010 Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Peyton Farquhar™ and Prattle On, Boyo™ with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.


11 Responses to Prattle Encore | Why You Gotta Be Like That?

  1. THREE says:

    Phew… when I read the first few lines and the “Mean People Suck” banner-image-thingy, I kinda thought “Yikes / ouch / someone’s talking about me again!” LOL – ’cause I admit I am one of those mean people types who lash out at others when I’m having a bad day – but unlike the ones referred to in this particular article, I only lash out at those who so conveniently happen to give us a reason to b*tch about them eg. other mean or sleazy people………..

    Yes, I believe that’s kinda justifiable. (Yes, its a distorted thought process I possess.) But lashing out at the nice person who is making every effort to lighten up your mood – now THAT’s just breaking every rule in my Mean Girl book. It’s a totally unfair fight. It’s bullying. Picking on the one kid you know who can’t stand up against you. It just proves your inferiority complex.

    If the person happens to annoy me, I’d just calmly ask them “Please, I’m having a bad day. I need to be alone.” ————–then take it out on the other lazy creep sleazebag the day. NOT the nice guy.

    I suppose everyone’s had their share of SOPs in their lives at some point. Unfortunately, my experience taught me too well – apparently I have this X-Men’s-Rogue’s-mutant-power-absorbing-skill whereby I assimilate their SOPness to be used against them, or other SOPs.

    So my answer to “Why you gotta be like that?” would be: because my harsh environment made me so. (There you see – we typically blame anything but ourselves.)

    “Is it just me, or is the whole world distorted?”

    Nice entry btw. Made me feel a little better about myself. At least I’m not the worst of the kind.

  2. Deej says:

    I have a ‘friend’ who you could so easily be describing that I am wondering if you were secretly following me around like you are doing a study on human behavior!!!

    This ‘friend’ and I are no longer close however we float in the same circle which means I am exposed to her shenanigans often. While I have long since relegated her to the position of a class bully not worthy of my awesome friendship, it’s still a colossal effort being exposed to her & watching her work over the next girl who has not yet figured her out!
    Finding out that killing her w/ kindness and humor will never work b/c basically my demeanor of positivity is her cryptonite..,well at least having a name for her feels gratifying! Freakin SOP!! I have only the ability to change how I react to her and nothing more but if you do happen to be spying on my silly drama and want to secretly trip her, I’d never tell!

    • Hi Deej! No spy cameras here, but it just goes to prove via preponderance of the evidence that SOPs are like that Klondike Kat cartoon that was on TV about a million years ago before I was even in kindergarten. Went something like this in the appropriately cheesy Quebecois accent…Savoir faire is everywhere!

      It has taken a lot of effort, but I’ve had to deal with SOPs on a regularly occurring basis both professionally as well as personally between east and west coasts, and, well, I’m sort of an expert on them by now. There are an inordinately large number of them in the general population – probably at least 10 SOPs per non-dysfunctional person. Least that’s how it seems to me. Most of them seem to work in the legal industry.

    • THREE says:

      @Deej – I think I might be in the same spot as you – going through the silent agony of watching this colleague (in another department) pull her stunts on the junior/rookies. And yeah, it’s a ‘professional’ industry (not legal though – medical).

      The worst part is knowing you can’t do anything about it because you’re a junior too, and she’s in another department. And yeah, the killing-them-with-kindness tactic simply does not work with some people – their SOPness only ends up feeding on it. I can only pray for some unlikely miracle to happen, like her supervisor finding out some grave mistake that a perfect person like her is would very much impossibly make… it’s like asking for wings to fly.

      I feel you Deej. However, my way of dealing with it is to mirror/deflect their SOPness when possible, thus making me an apparent SOP in turn.

  3. Bill says:

    I have found in life that the people we dislike the most (your SOP’s) our in our life because there’s a part of us that we don’t like that they are portraying to us. This is the reason they get under our skin so much…it’s difficult lesson but once you understand the message they are meant to give you, you won’t be bothered by them anymore. This true even if they are apart of your everyday life, they just won’t annoy you as much because they no longer reflect the part of yourself you don’t like. Look inward & the outer world will improve.

    Thanks for your thoughts.



  4. Hilde says:

    Could find a lot of those people in my past years, but name them a could learning object. After all those thoughts about why and why not, I asked myself in past times too, I changed the question more to: why do I care anyway and what makes me try being still friendly or trying to get more attention and bring things into better ways. That brought a realatively weak view to my own self-picture and self-value – so was the work to do. So in the end, I am grateful for every SOP (I would name them different, but it is not nice to write asshole in a blog, uuuuppps). They have been the kicks I needed to work on myself and just found out not too long ago, that lessons repeat and repeat and repeat. Just you learn to go your way and let go with the time, and learn to value yourself too much, to play their games.

  5. Hilde says:

    I meant a “good learning object” of course, should reread before posting and should drink a coffee right after standing up and before posting LOL

  6. […] that is an apt description.  We have all experienced it in one form or another.  It is a kind of emotional post-traumatic stress disorder.  But wait a sec.  You may be telling yourself that you should be over it, and, your new honey […]

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