Two things: adult bullying and bad dating advice

Image by the brilliant Stuart F Taylor

I know that ‘two things’ often turns into a mini-rant about bad dating advice, but that’s because there is so much bad dating advice out there, it’s really difficult to ignore. This week there’s one thing which I think we can use as a universal marker of bad dating advice. But on the up-side – there’s also a very personal, in-depth post about adult bullying, which is well worth a read.

And if you do ever spot things you’d like me to highlight here, please do leave a comment.

The good: JoEllen Notte’s discussion on adult bullying

As someone who, at school, had a lot of experience with bullying (on both ends, because holy shit kids are awful sometimes and I was certainly no exception), I’ve often been quite blasé about how bully-free the adult world is by comparison. But it’s not, really: I’ve met plenty of bullies in my adult life – from bosses who bully their employees to friends who try to control other members of the group through gossip and manipulation.

The main difference, of course, is that as a child you’re often trapped in an institution with your bullies for years and years, whereas as an adult you (hopefully – though not always) have a bit more power.

It’s a really complex issue, particularly if you’re being bullied and you don’t know how to deal with it. JoEllen Notte has tackled in a lot of depth in her latest post – Surviving A Bully (When You’re 35).

“On March 22, 2014 I received a request for a phone chat from someone who I perceived to be in a position of power in my field. I accepted that request and over the course of an hour that person systematically took me apart. By the time we hung up I was convinced that my work was terrible, I was unqualified, no one respected me, and I was something of a joke in my industry. I felt “cast out of the kingdom”, as it were. Ashamed, inadequate, and like the worst of the fears that had plagued me since starting this site and entering this field were actually true. I didn’t want anyone outside of my inner circle to ever know what had happened.”

Please do read the full post here.

The bad: ‘high value’ partners and bad dating advice

It’s annoying enough when people assume hotness is an objective measure, like volume or height or lightspeed. Still more irritating to apply the word ‘value’, as if dating itself is an investment strategy and you’re ‘buying’ and ‘selling’ your way to the love of your life.

This week a blogger (no names/links mentioned) wrote an advice guide on finding a date that consistently referenced ‘high value’ partners. This sets off my bullshit detector, so I checked to see if it fits my theory on bad dating advice: any article which implies that there’s a universal scale of hotness is likely to contain other bad dating advice too.

And (surprise, surprise), along with advice that could realistically only apply to a proportion of people (“Go to the gym: chicks dig it when you’re buff” – I’m paraphrasing but you get the idea) this piece also gave this advice:

“And if the aforementioned does happen and you meet a high value partner, don’t stop improving yourself, even if they say “I don’t mind you getting fat” or “you look perfect, stop going to the gym” this is just resistance and is usually people testing how much control they have over you.”

Translation: ‘ignore what your partner tells you and instead listen to me, a random internet stranger whose only qualification for being here is that I know how to set up a website.’

No blogger is perfect. But there’s no excuse for this shit.

If you’d like much better sex and relationships advice, it’s well worth reading Dr Petra Boynton’s column in the Telegraph. She tackles some incredibly difficult topics such as this one, in response to a letter from an abusive partner, or this one about consent and naked photos and her advice is always thorough, informative, and 100% free from the kind of tedious value judgments that I’m moaning about above.


  • The quiet one says:

    I’ve found adult bullies tend to be people who have little control over their lives, they pick fault at other people while actually revealing a lot about themselves in the process.

  • Asrai Devin says:

    What is a “high value person”? What’s low value? Based on your description it’s based on looks alone. What about intelligence, values matching, similar interests? Attractiveness is important, but the whole idea of only certain people being high value makes me gag.

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