Why are we sometimes attracted to jerks who are mean with us?
One of my friends is always attracted to mean women. I told him many times he’s masochist because he’s chosen the same type of women over and over again. His ex was very dominant, and couldn’t help belittle him in front of other people. My friend told me she said he was not clever in front of his friends at a garden party. His other friends also warned him she was very mean with him. Yet, he pursued a relationship over four years with her. She was the one who ended the relationship. She left him for another man.
His new relationship isn’t going well either because his new woman is also mean with him. “Intellectually, this relationship is interesting” he told me.”I take it day after after. We’ll see” he added.
Robert Sutton, a professor of management at Stanford university, defines as asshole a person who lowers, exhausts and fails to respect other people.
Yet, despite this negative definition, people are attracted to assholes. Nice people (defined as person who are kind and respect other people) are sometimes perceived as annoying.
It’s particular true in the professional work. Although assholes don’t last forever in their company. In a newsroom close to mine, the editor in chief was pushed to the exit after 15 journalists complained about his bullying behavior. But he was chosen over other people to be the editor in chief four years ago. He was perceived as a good leader.
“Villains are always picked as leader of a group or a team. Managers don’t want nice people as leaders” says one of my friends.
Maybe assholes are picked because they are sometimes very clever and understand what people need. Maybe the reason is because they are generally in a very high position in society. In other words, they are attractive. That’s why people find excuses to their disrespectful behavior. My friend’s current significant other is a well known public personality. I guess he has an important place for celebrities and the access to their world over values like respect.
All in all, it depends on your own values. If you don’t want respect and kindness, but prefers “intellectually interesting people”, there is a good chance you will end with an asshole or a villain.