When a nice guy argues with a bully, the nice guy’s goal is to be proven right. He wants the bully to acknowledge the correctness of the more compassionate and logical path that he, the nice guy, is advocating.
When the bully argues with the nice guy, the bully’s goal is to win. And because the bully is determined to win, he does. He doesn’t care about being acknowledged as having been right. Whether he or the nice person is right doesn’t matter to the outcome. The winner will be the person to whom winning means everything.
In past conflicts, I’ve been the nice one. I’ve wanted to win over bullies with charm and reason and compassion and the rightness of my side.
This won’t work with Beefcake. If I want to win—if I want Beefcake to lose the election for Mayor and fail in his campaign to drive me out of my business, then I have to really want that outcome very badly. I have to want to win so much that nothing else matters to me. Coming in second can’t be an option.
Jill Riddell is a writer in Chicago. She teaches at the School of the Art Institute and has a weakness for nature, magic, and pennies abandoned in sidewalk cracks.