Why We Hate People Who Pity Us

I’ve come to realize that the easiest way to make someone feel uncomfortable about your presence right before they start to hate you passionately is to pity them.

This one is a close second to giving unsolicited advice when it comes to “things you can do to annoy another human very fast.”

Case in point: I am below average height and when I went to high school, I was of small stature. The baby face didn’t help but I knew that I wasn’t as “mature-looking” as some of my colleagues.

I remember some people telling me when they realized I was joining high school (paraphrasing) “you look so small, you look like you should be in lower primary. Will you make it in high school? I pity you.”

And, honestly, such comments made me so angry, I could taste copper in my mouth. I really hated those c*nts even though they meant no harm and were “expressing concern” for this poor little boy who’ll get swallowed up by the big bad high school.

The problem with pity is that it comes from a place of love and concern. You want to show that other person that you empathize with them and you know they are going through tough sh*t. That’s why you tell them “Oh, poor Kevin, the world is very harsh on you man.”

via GIPHY

You aren’t trying to hurt them; you are trying to comfort them.

But as well-intentioned as that is, it comes across as condescending and magnanimous.

While some people will go along with it at first, they will soon start gently pushing back politely and tell you that they are going to do okay.

If you can’t read between the lines and continue to “express pity,” they will start feeling annoyed by you and will want to avoid you if not try to harm you!

Exceptions and caveats

People who enjoy playing the victim i.e. people with a strong feeling of entitlement to other people’s attention who also tend to be f**king negative most of the time will not mind the excessive pity.

When someone is on the blink of total collapse (a good indicator is when they are depressed and maybe even crying), they may need pity to show them that they are not such a lost cause or not entirely alone. At that point, I think showing pity is nice but if used sparingly.

From my experience, women are more likely to accept pity and being told that it is not their fault that things are happening to them while men will be less tolerant. For a man, it feels like you are emasculating them because we always want to feel like we are in control and that we are capable of dealing with whatever we are going through.

People who are going through very bad situations eg. the terminally ill, do not want your pity because it sends the wrong message: that there is no hope and they are doomed. Also, they’ve had enough pity thrown their way, they’ve had enough of it and want to at least live normally now. They appreciate people who treat them “like normal people” (cracking jokes at their expense, pretending that everything is okay).