By Eliska Counce, TSB Columnist
Butthurt! Yes, I said “butthurt.” It’s a real term, albiet not a clinical one, and if you spend much time online, you’ve probably either seen it or experienced it. And while butthurt was once a condition relegated to the internet, I am noticing it becoming pervasive in real life. I, dear reader, am on a crusade to end the rampant butthurt that now seems to be everywhere. Yes, it is officially time to get over ourselves.
What’s that? You say you aren’t familiar with butthurt? Butthurt is an online slang term used to describe a strongly negative or overemotional response. It is used to draw attention to a person who shows signs of being irritated due to a perceived insult, an unfavorable situation, or a lack of decent communication. On occasions, it can be also used to describe unreasonable behaviors without an apparent explanation.
Butthurt includes an inappropriately strong negative emotional response from a perceived personal insult. Characterized by strong feelings of shame. Frequently associated with a cessation of communication and overt hostility towards the “aggressor.” Uh huh…now you’re starting to get it. It’s over-reaction and personalization of an imagined slight. And folks, it’s got to stop. It’s time for us as a society to work to stamp out butthurt.
Getting your feelings hurt, being offended or getting all bent out of shape because of something petty or stupid. It doesn’t just happen when you read a blog you don’t agree with or see a cartoon or news posting that you don’t like. Butthurt is now looming everywhere, and we as a society need to take a stand to stamp it out. Because, really, people. We’re bigger than butthurt.
Butthurt at the office: No, that email didn’t mean what you read between the lines or require a terse response. No, just because she didn’t smile at you in the hallway doesn’t mean she secretly thinks she’s better than you. No, just because you got some constructive criticism doesn’t mean you’re incompetent and your boss thinks you should wear a dunce hat. Don’t take it personally. Don’t go on the attack. Don’t confront with a passive aggressive email. It is possible…and tolerable…that not everyone likes you. What they think about you is really none of your business.
Butthurt on the road: Once again, not everything is personal. When that dude cuts you off or tailgates you, chances are he does that to anyone…not just you. Traffic is not personal. This is not the time to embrace your butthurt and start slaloming wildly through traffic, speeding and retaliating against your perceived aggressor. Stamp out butthurt and stamp out road rage. I mean, really. What’s the worst thing that can happen? You’ll be 10 minutes late? Stay cool and avoid the butthurt.
Butthurt in public: I saw a classic example of butthurt in a crowded restaurant the other night. Patrons were scrambling for chairs to rest in while waiting, and a couple sat down right in front of another, older couple. The latter huffed: “Well, there WAS a place to sit down!” After several eye-rolls, this couple intimidated the younger couple into moving. This, my dears, is butthurt at its worst: paired with entitlement. Sure, someone shoved himself in front of me to speak to the hostess about a table. But my butt? Unhurt.
Butthurt on Facebook: People get butthurt over the internet more than anything. Journals, blogs, comment threads, random cartoon/drawings/common news items are the leading cause of internet butthurt. So you don’t agree. So you don’t like it. So you lost an argument in a chat room. Or god forbid asked for a critique on your art or writing and got it. Were there tears? Permanent mental scarring? Lost sleep? Carpal tunnel from typing a 6,000 word butthurt rebuttal? Were you forced to use a coping mechanism called turning off your computer and going outside? It’s suffering that can and should be avoided.
Let’s work together to reduce butthurt. When called out, for whatever reason, take a deep breath and walk away. If you’re the type prone to butthurt, it’s likely your content quality will be low anyway. Inevitably, it will be called into question. At this point, any reply you give will solidify what people already suspect. Might as well take a break. There is plenty that is truly offensive out there in the world. Together, we can put stressors into perspective and eliminate unnecessary butthurt to make this world a better place.