How petty is too petty?

Ever find yourself caught in this situation?

Ben and Jennifer are good friends, and one night, they kiss. One person really likes the other person, and they feel that the kiss is “oh, just so RIGHT!”. A few weeks later, the other person shows up at a party and brings another guy/girl that they may be potentially interested in.

Now what?

Let’s say Jennifer has had a little crush on Ben for awhile, and when they kissed, she had her hopes up in thinking that something more was about to happen. However, few weeks later, Ben brought another girl to a party.

Now before Jennifer starts hating on the girl or on Ben, or before she runs out of the party sobbing and feeling heartbroken and cheated on, maybe we can freeze-frame, and consider a few questions.

Did Ben ever like Jennifer in the first place? What was he thinking after the kiss? (Did he think?!) Is he even interested in the 2nd girl that he brought to the party? or maybe they’re just friends?

Graph to depict all 4 possibilities:

What is Ben thinking?

Scenario 1. Let’s say Ben was interested in both. Is that wrong? Should he only focus on one girl at a time? Or is it his prerogative to hang out with both girls at once? By kissing Jennifer, he may have broken the “friend” code (or the “friend” boundary). So is Jennifer being too petty by being upset? Or is Ben being inconsiderate?

Scenario 2. Ben is interested in Jennifer. So why did he bring the 2nd girl? Is he playing games? Maybe he’s just super naive and doesn’t realize the situation. Maybe he likes Jennifer, but doesn’t realize that she likes him back and cares a lot if he shows up with another girl. So is Ben just being clueless? Or is Jennifer overreacting to the situation? Maybe she should ask about the whole thing before jumping into conclusions and causing World War 3.

Scenario 3. Ben is interested in the 2nd girl. So maybe he used to be interested in Jennifer, but not anymore. Or maybe he just never was interested in Jennifer. Does it matter? He’s not interested in her now. Is it fair to Ben that Jennifer is holding him accountable for his past actions? Is she just being way to petty and immature? Or is Ben just not being very careful in tying up the loose ends? Did he need to explain anyway?
Ben’s argument: A kiss was a kiss. And that’s all it was. Maybe I thought it was a good idea at the time. But many things have changed in the past few weeks. Don’t I have the option to move on? When we kissed, there really was no commitment, so why are you (Jennifer) holding me to it?
Jennifer’s argument: A kiss is a kiss. And that makes things more complicated. How are you responsible or respectful to me if you just kiss me one day and then run off with another girl the next?

Scenario 4. Ben is not interested in either girl. He’s just being nice and friendly (maybe flirty?). Then the questions are, why did he kiss Jennifer? Maybe he thought he was interested, but not anymore? Maybe showing up to the party with the girl wasn’t really a date, just an opportunity to get to know the girl more. And so he didn’t really have feelings for her (the 2nd girl), just wanted to hang out and get to know her more. So if Jennifer is making a big deal out of it, is she just adding drama? Or is she valid is having all the questions and anger and jealousy? Or perhaps all this headache was for nothing, because Ben might be actually interested in girl 3 … or maybe he’s… gay?

So in light of the situation, is someone being inconsiderate and irresponsible? or is someone being overly petty?

Should Ben have been more sensitive to Jennifer’s feelings? Or is he justified in acting the way he did? Do we let it slide because we think “oh, guys just sometimes don’t realize things”, or is that just an excuse to get off easy?

Should Jennifer just have backed off, and moved on? Realizing that Ben may be no longer interested in her, or that she’s not interested in guys acting this way? Or was she justified in being upset, feeling heartbroken and then taking action? What’s the benefit in taking action? Just the sheer satisfaction?

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2 thoughts on “How petty is too petty?

  1. I think if Jennifer likes Ben, she should still make a move and let him know that she’s interested by .. i dunno… dinner or drinks or whatever. Ben might just think Jennifer is chill and casual about being physical (like friends with benefits type of thing). If Jennifer wants to *show* she’s interested, be more proactive. Then, if things click, they’ll click. If not, then both Jennifer and Ben know that it wasn’t meant to be. I wouldn’t let Ben taking the 2nd girl to a party be a big deal….just yet.

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