The ‘No Arsehole’ rule has been of great benefit to me but it has it’s limitations. You see, whilst it rids MY world of arseholes, it doesn’t rid THE world of arseholes.
Not that I think it’s possible to rid the world of arseholes but we should be aiming to significantly reduce their numbers. Who knows, one day, with genetic engineering and a social conscience, maybe we could rid the world of all of them. However, lets stick to the more immediate goal of cutting their numbers.
To do this, we have to convert some of the arseholes into normal people but first we have to recognise that NOT ALL ARSEHOLES ARE THE SAME.
In fact, there are three types of arsehole.
Firstly, there are those who are arseholes because they are made that way. It’s innate and it isn’t going to change (well, until we get the genetic engineering and social conscience that I mentioned earlier). This group of arseholes cover quite a range.
At one end there are those people who are just a bit of an arsehole about everything – you know, the ones who always leave their tea-bag on the counter top, who never buy their round down the pub, who always make unpleasant remarks about your appearance. Even their mum thinks they are a bit of an arsehole. These people can be tolerated in certain social situations, mostly ones where you don’t have to be close to them.
In the middle are people who are arseholes in a particular way. Like the ones who are fine at home but a nightmare to go on holiday with. Or the ones who borrow your stuff and never give it back. Or the ones who are as sweet as pie until they get behind the wheel of a car and then their inner arsehole come roaring out. No matter what you do, every time they are in their ‘zone of arseholeness’, every time they are exposed to their arsehole triggers, they are an arsehole. As soon as you see them approaching their zone, make yourself scarce.
At the other end are the absolute arseholes, from complete nightmare up to the sociopaths and psychopaths. These are absolutely to be avoided at all costs. If you spot one, warn all your friends. Hell, warn everyone!
Then there are the people who are unthinking arseholes. It’s not really their intention to be an arsehole, they are not seeking to get any particular gain or pleasure from being an arsehole (see ‘absolute arseholes’ above), it’s just that they haven’t really thought about what they are doing. They haven’t even considered that possibility that their behaviour is that of someone who is being an arsehole.
There are lots of reasons for this. They could be a bit narcissistic, in which case why would they be thinking about how their behaviour affect other people? Or even about other people, come to that?
They could just lack the social awareness to realise their impact on those around them. They never even think about the consequences of their actions for others, so how would they recognise it as arsehole behaviour?
Or they could lack the ability to consider the consequences of their actions. For these people life is a constant surprise, one thing followed in apparently random fashion by another, nothing to do with them or their behaviour. They simply can’t see why the same things keep happening to them or why everyone thinks they are an arsehole.
The final group are those who think they HAVE to be arseholes. That it’s an essential part of the role they are fulfilling or the best way for them to ‘get on’ in life.
A lot of these people wear uniforms. Especially where the uniform suggests a status greater than their actual role (I see you, traffic wardens).
They are often in roles that confer some authority on them (anyone who gets to decide if you get something or who tell you what to do has the opportunity for arseholery).
And, sadly, all to often they are people who aspire to be leaders. They think that to be a leader, they have to be an arsehole. This is not entirely surprising given the role models we have in our society (how did “You’re fired!” become a popular catch-phrase?).
Unfortunately, it fuels a self-perpetuating cycle. Their leaders behave like arseholes so they conclude that to be a leader they must behave like an arsehole. Then the people beneath them see their boss being an arsehole and so it goes on.
I really want to break this cycle of arseholery. But that’s the subject of a different post.
So what can we do with these three groups? How can we reduce their numbers?
Well, those that are born arseholes are beyond our reach, at least with the current technology and legal system. This group are simply to be avoided. There’s no reason to risk contaminating our own space in pursuit of this noble aim.
The ‘unthinking arseholes’ hold out some hope. Some of them can be taught to think, at least. OK, it might be hard but over time they can be ‘socialised’, a bit like that uncle that your parents used to tell you stay away from. He rarely disgraces himself at family gatherings these days, right?
The most promising group, however, are the ones who think they HAVE to be arseholes. Being an arsehole doesn’t really come naturally to them, they have to work at it. Inside that apparent arsehole is a nice and decent person trying to get out. It’s our job to see their inner human being and tease it out.
We have to show them that you can wear a uniform and be a good person. That you can be in a position of authority and treat people with empathy and kindness. That you can be a leader and be a proper human being.
In fact, I believe being a proper human being is the best way to be a leader. It’s also the way to being the best leader you can be. So I am focusing on them, to show them you can be a leader without being an arsehole.
I’ll leave the rest of the arseholes to you guys. Be gentle with them.
Actually, scrap that. They’re arseholes. Do your worst.
Photo by Ricardo Gomez Angel on Unsplash