Being nice to others is incredibly important – but that doesn’t mean everyone deserves your kindness. There are some people in this world you never have to be nice to. Unless you’re the happiest, most good-natured person in the world, it takes energy to be kind, and some people are not worth that time or energy. That might sound mean at first, but when you’re being kind to people who don’t deserve it, you’re not being kind to yourself. Setting boundaries of what’s acceptable and unacceptable for you is actually part of self-care – it’s not mean or bitchy, it’s just a way to keep yourself sane.
This doesn’t mean that you have to be rude, disrespectful, or angry towards these people. It just means that you don’t need to – and shouldn’t – go out of your way to be super sweet and nice to them. As girls, we’ve been socialized to be unwaveringly smiley, lovely, and forgiving every single day, even in the face of adversity, even to the people who are awful to you. It’s considered “being a lady,” and honestly, it’s totally unfair. Guys aren’t held to that same standard, so why should we be? Let’s get this straight: You owe no one anything that they did not personally earn. Start drawing up those lines, they’re there to protect you. For starters, here are 15 people you never have to be nice to:
1) Cat callers.
Boy, bye. Even if the intent is a joke, people who go out of their way to make sure women feel unsafe in their daily lives deserve no kindness in return. You don’t need to smile politely back, you don’t need to say “thank you,” and you don’t even need to acknowledge them, no matter what they say.
Shut them down. Anyone who is speaking to you in a condescending tone for no real reason whatsoever doesn’t deserve your time.
Just say no to f-ckboys. You don’t need to tiptoe around their feelings or protect them from their own awfulness. They’re the worst. It’s okay if they know they’re the worst. If enough people tell them they suck, they *might* change.
4) Your bigoted close relatives.
If you met a stranger who was a total bigot, you wouldn’t go out of your way to be nice to them. But a family member? That’s where things get tricky. You start to feel obligated to be kind, especially if you love them and get along well otherwise. It’s not so easy to dismiss your awful uncle saying awful things at Thanksgiving. But at the end of the day, saying bad things about gay people, black people, poor people, whatever, is not okay and your relative can handle knowing that they’re fundamentally wrong.
5) Anyone who has betrayed your trust without apologizing.
Betrayal happens, and sometimes we can move past it. It’s those people who make no effort to change or grow show that they don’t value your relationship and that is nooooot okay. No need to pretend that it is.
6) People who straight up don’t apologize and just expect you to get over it.
Time heals all wounds? Yeah, sure. People who just expect you to move on and forgive them are the worst kind of entitled.
7) Exes who broke your heart.
I know we all think it’s evolved to be friends with an ex, but you don’t have to be. If they broke your heart or hurt you really bad, you don’t have to stay friends with them. Shocking, I know. I don’t care how great you thought they were in the moment, they don’t always get to have you in their life if they hurt you that badly.
8) Hook ups who were awful to you.
People think that just because it wasn’t a full blown relationship doesn’t mean that you weren’t owed the same common decencies. More so than exes sometimes, hook ups can really mess up your feelings and you’re not a bad person for not wanting them to stick around as a friend.
9) People who are emotionally, physically, or sexually abusive.
Yeah, no. Common sense. Abusive people are the worst and you don’t have to be nice to them.
10) Internet trolls.
Anonymous trolls living behind anonymity, clicking away at a keyboard, and making you feel bad are just trying to get a rise out of you. You aren’t denying them a civil liberty by blocking or reporting them, so feel free to do it.
11) People who use you.
It’s hard to tell when people are using you, but when their kindness is only served in direct proportion to what they can get from you, that’s a clear sign that they’re not being genuine in their relationship with you. They can go.
No one has time for that. Why with the emotional trickery and guilt tripping? That’s the worst.
13) People who throw you under the bus.
Anyone willing to blame shift or let you take the hit for something they did is not a good person and you don’t have to pretend that they aren’t awful.
Here are some statistics: one in three women will be sexually assaulted in her life. A woman is more likely to know her attacker than not. If you know more than three women and their close acquaintances, you probably know an attacker. For example, if you went to Stanford recently, you probably know Brock Turner. There’s a high probability that you know someone who’s sexually assaulted someone else and fundamentally okay if you are not nice to this person.
Who doesn’t deserve your kindness? Or do you believe in being kind to everybody? Let us know in the comments!
You can follow the author, Aliee Chan, on Twitter.