Friday, December 09, 2005

Introducing... "The Bitch Line"

I learned about "the bitch line" a few years ago... it's an expression for a common trap we can, and do, fall into. The supreme irony about "the bitch line" is that it usually cannot be discussed without referring to the very incident that caused it, which is exactly what the bitch line is about: Norman does something to me that's rude, so—instead of telling Norman I thought he was being rude—I go telling all my friends what he said (rather, what I thought he said) and get them all to agree with me ("Don't you think that was rude, too?") and when I have gathered enough people who have heard my very convincing side of the story, I bring my "bitch line" along to confront Norman. Clearly, I must be right, Norman... after all, look at all my friends here who agree with me!

It sounds so childish, doesn't it? How could grown adults fall victim to such puerile, petty behavior? Yet, I have seen grown men far older than me who should know better get sucked into hearing only one side of a story and casting premature judgement.

How do you short circuit the bitch line? Address the source of the bitch line directly: "I felt what did was rude, Norman." That's it. End of story. You don't get to recruit friends and family into why they should empathize with you. You get to vent, maybe, but not lean on them to agree with you. As Sonny Crockett once said, "Major uncool."

There. Now I've successfully brought up a bitch line without referencing any person or incident in particular. Should I ever mention "the bitch line" in future, you'll know precisely what I'm talking about, right?

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