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Why You Shouldn’t Always Have To Be the Bigger Person

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.

Ever since I was a kid, I was taught to be the bigger person. To me, being the bigger person means being able to walk away from conflicts or arguments without showing or feeling any anger or resentment. As the more mature and forgiving individual, the bigger person will always choose to say nothing and walk away to avoid conflicts, regardless of how they truly feel. I was also told that it is even more important to be the bigger person when it comes to fighting with your partner, friends, or family. I grew up with this idea that being the bigger person means doing the right thing, that it would make me the better person while simultaneously bringing me more satisfaction and contentment. But now that I’m growing up, I have started to get tired of always being the bigger person. 

During arguments, I apologize and let the issue go in order to defuse the situation. Whenever I am wronged, I try my best to forgive while keeping my composure. However, I find that instead of making me feel better, being the bigger person actually builds more negative emotions inside of me. Every time I tell myself to be the bigger person and walk away, I think to myself: Why am I always the bigger person? Why am I the one who has to forgive and forget? Why can’t other people be the bigger person? The more I think about it, the more angry and frustrated I become. And over time, these negative feelings turn into more resentment building up inside of me. This is when I realized how unhealthy and toxic this idea of always having to be the bigger person is.

People always stress the importance of having open communication in relationships. So instead of having to be the bigger person, why can’t I be honest and communicate? Without communicating how I truly feel, these negative emotions cannot be resolved. Furthermore, there is nothing wrong with standing up for yourself and what you believe in. With this recent realization, I decided to speak my mind rather than apologize or walk away. Speaking my mind actually leads to a more productive conversation about resolving a conflict or disagreement, while leaving both parties feeling more relieved and with no resentment. This also promotes more healthy and effective communication that strengthens close relationships, especially friendship and romantic relationships. Handling conflicts and communicating are important tools to develop as we navigate relationships in our lives, hence it is even more important that we should learn how to communicate and deal with conflicts instead of walking away from them.

As people always say to “pick and choose your battles,” it is up to one’s judgment to decide when to be the bigger person and when not to. There are times when it is appropriate for you to be the bigger person, especially when it is about minor insignificant details. Petty fights and unnecessary drama are never worth fighting about. But at the same time, there are also times when you shouldn’t have to be the bigger person. It is even more important for you to not be the bigger person, particularly when it is something that you feel strongly about that needs resolving, whether someone wronged you or took advantage of you.

PSA: You don’t always have to be the bigger person! This notion of having to be the bigger person is not always the right thing to do. Don’t be afraid to be honest and speak your mind or to defend yourself and your values, instead of staying silent and walking away. Sometimes, it is okay to not be the bigger person.

Iris Au

UCD '22

Iris is studying Communications and Economics at the University of California, Davis. She is currently a senior and is a big fan of cheesy rom-coms and cooking shows. She hopes to pursue a future career in public relations or marketing after graduating college.
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