Yes, pettiness can be pretty subjective. I feel like it’s almost along the same lines as “hating.” The term is used far too liberally, and under the wrong context. However, no matter what context, “petty” is pretty easy to indicate, especially if you do these things:
When something bad happens to you, sometimes it’s a little comforting to have a revenge fantasy, but most of the time you don’t act on them. If your roommate keeps on eating your cheese, and you retaliate by farting on their pillow, that’s just petty.
Talk to them, have a discussion. If your first reaction is to get back at people, that’s some pretty petty behavior.
You enjoy someone else’s failure
I’m not talking about the joy that comes from watching the criminal in a high speed car chase finally get apprehended. (Those are actually kinda funny). I’m talking about the thrill that comes when seeing a person you know fail at something.
You broadcast others’ failures
It’s not enough that you enjoy their failure, but you like to let anyone who doesn’t know about it in on the celebration. Then, some people, like to do the fake-sheepish-look like: “What? I thought you told them that you lost your job!”
You set up plans that you know you won’t keep
Sometimes time is going to catch up with you, and you won’t be able to accomplish everything that you want to do and something is going to suffer. But if you actively make plans, while laughing maniacally in your head about how you’re going to stand them up; that isn’t just cruel, it’s petty.
We understand that no one is as intelligent as you are, but talking to people likewise is rude. No one wants to be spoken down to.
You set people up to fail
I remember when my sister told me: “No, Kendra! You Got Served is a GREAT movie!” She sat there and watched me suffer through that movie, just to enjoy my pain.
That was on a small (still petty) scale, but if someone is pushing you to do something that your instincts are warning you against, they’re being petty and possibly not a good friend either. Reassess that relationship.
Petty, by one of its definitions, means small, and a person who can’t accept others for how they are has a very petty view. You need to get to the point when you can see and accept people for how they are, not for how you want them to be.
You encourage mediocrity
You are giving a friend advice to be happy in the position that she’s in, not because you want her to be happy, but because you don’t want her to be better than you.
You actively try to derail others
So you try to encourage them to “stay in their lane,” and try to point out the hassle of wanting to succeed. You encourage them to make poor decisions in hopes of halting whatever progress they have going on. You’re not doing it for their well-being, and wanting to see them live life.
Nope, you’re just being petty.
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