Being petty comes up a lot nowadays. It’s been used as a catch-all for what are essentially passive-aggressive behaviours performed for a variety of purposes, including making someone feel guilty, identifying one’s own superiority, or generally reciprocating a negative sentiment that someone has afforded you.
I am petty. Oh yes, I’m a petty person. I don’t hold grudges and I don’t talk shit, but oh man, am I ever petty.
Except the thing with my pettiness is that I always talk a big talk and have the best intentions of doing the thing that will make another person feel bad, but I flake out. (Yes, that still makes me petty, because intentions).
Some would argue that I also have a strange way of going about being petty. I probably got this from my mother, a delightful, gracious, never-ill-intentioned woman, so it’s a unique way of going about it. But I am petty because I want to make people feel bad by being nice. Like, extra nice. Like, going out of my way to show them how nice I am. I guess my reasoning is that if they see that this is the case, they will feel extra bad for wronging me. Yes, being nice to people can still be petty. Because, hey, intentions.
Anyway, picture this: my closest co-worker is having a birthday party. For the sake of reference, we spend about 70% of our workday together. She is new on our floor, so she’s been invited to a number of things by people who work around us and that’s okay. But she’s having this party, and she invites all of those people through Facebook. But not me. Which would have been fine, I get it, we are different ages, lifestyles, etc. Except that the topic of this party comes up in my presence, the invitees bring it up. And now she is in the awkward position where I know that this is happening but am not invited. So what she chooses to do, as soon as we return to our respective offices after the revealing conversation, is send me an invitation. Literally, one minute after returning to her office. The first thing she did was enter her office with the singular intent to alleviate the awkwardness by sending me an invitation. Which, of course, only made the situation worse. How, you ask? Well, I would have been perfectly fine not being invited, I know I’m not part of that crowd, but to be invited as a situationally-coerced afterthought. Oof, that’s harsh.
So what did I plan to do to reciprocate? Get her a beautiful gift.
I swear, I had every intention of doing it. I picked out the most beautiful scarf on the Nordstrom website, I picked out a backup in case they didn’t have that one, I planned my day around getting to the nearest store before class. Seriously, I was on a mission.
But I get to the store and they have neither the first nor the second pick. So I peruse their scarf selection for an equally magnificent alternative. I find one, and as I am about to carry a lovely ombre piece to the cash register, I realize that I am about to spend nearly $70 purchasing a lovely gift in an attempt to make someone feel badly. Wtf?
So I got her the perfect $20 cake that probably accomplished the same goal, ha!