Do Meaner People Care More?

There’s a video going around social media that claims that the meaner somebody is to their friends, the more likely they are to care a lot about them. Or, at least, that’s how it’s always presented. When you actually watch the video, you will see that it comes to a slightly different conclusion and it’s concerning that people accept the “meaner people care more” conclusion with no real critical thought.

What the video actually says, if you watch it, is that if somebody cares a lot about somebody, they won’t be afraid to say something “mean” if they think that it will ultimately do the other person some good. So, really, it’s highlighting that communication is always important in any relationship, even if it means communicating something negative. It’s a much more nuanced conclusion than “being mean to people means you care.”

In fact, I’d probably go so far as to say that the meaner somebody is, the more likely they are not to care about the other person very much, or, at least, to view them in wholly selfish terms. Just being mean with no real reason is not an indication that a person cares a lot for you (even the video wouldn’t say so) it’s probably just an indication that they’re quite a toxic person. And I don’t just mean friendly/jokey banter, I mean things that would genuinely leave you thinking that the other person was mean.

Having said that, I also wouldn’t like to say that it’s completely black and white. Sometimes people say really nice things that would give you the impression that they really care about you, when all of their actions say otherwise and it seems that they’re either beingĀ  unconditionally “caring” to others because they don’t know how to properly socialise or because they want to fuel their ego. Equally, someone who makes a lot of snide remarks might genuinely care about you a lot. Relationships can’t be easily defined by set rules.

Having said that, I definitely agree with the sentiment that, in a strong relationship the two people won’t be afraid of hurting each other’s feelings, if they believe that their feelings need to be hurt in order to help them in the long run. Of course, experiences like that are never pleasant at the time, but of the small number of friends I’ve genuinely argued with, they are all people who I am especially close with. If the video were being shared around with the agreeable message that we always need to communicate our thoughts and feelings, rather than the watered down “mean friends care more” I’d think it was much better. As it stands, I worry it would encourage very flawed people to view their flaws as a virtue.

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