I laughed out loud when I first read this question, because I know so much about petty. I have been petty on a number of occasions with many different guys. I know how petty works, what it looks like, and what the results can be. I’m a Petty Professional. I’ve done it all. And now that I look back on it, I know why I did it and why I’ve toned it down tremendously.
The dictionary definition of petty is “of little importance; trivial”. When it all boils down, it is really making things of little importance bigger than what they have to be. He didn’t text you back fast enough? We’ll take 3-5 business days texting back when he finally does. He doesn’t see us in public? We act like he doesn’t exist in private. Another girl mentions him with one too many emojis and heart eyes? That’s a favorite; not because we thought it was funny. We may not even have read what was said. But we want the both of you to notice that we noticed, just so you don’t think things are sweet.
These are just a number of ways that women, myself included, can be petty. I was pulling moves like this left and right, constantly trying to show someone that I was not to be played with. That they had me messed up, that I wasn’t the one, that two could play that game. It wasn’t until I was on the verge of what could have become the pettiest moment of my life that I actually took a second and asked myself, “Why am I doing this?”
I was doing it because I needed to get a point across. Because I needed someone to know that I didn’t like the way that they were treating me. This realization lead to my second question: “Why couldn’t I just tell them this? Why couldn’t I communicate?”
Girls will often resort to being petty either because they feel they shouldn’t have to communicate an issue, or they simply don’t know how. They’ll say “He should already know how I feel. I shouldn’t have to say anything. I’ll show him instead.” Boys can’t read minds and can barely understand signs. You can be butt hurt over a text he sent you for three days and he won’t know it until day number four. The amount of effort that you put into not texting him first but dying until he texts you, is way more than the effort it takes to take a phone and say EXACTLY why something he did bothered you. The pride that’s stuck in your throat is blocking words from coming out of your mouth. That’s why you’re in the middle of a party acting like he doesn’t exist and he doesn’t even know why.
Even more common than not wanting to communicate is not even knowing how. Girls LOVE to talk. We’ll talk all day long to several different people without thinking anything of it. Communicating, however, is a whole different story. You can talk to someone and they will hear what you said. But did you communicate to them exactly how you felt? When we can’t communicate what we need, we will do whatever else to get attention. THAT is where the childishness comes in. A child will cry, scream and yell when it needs something. The parent then has to try everything in order to see what is truly the matter and what the child needs. They will try feeding, cradling, changing the diaper and everything in between in order to figure out what is going on. And they have no choice, because the child can’t communicate.
But, he is not your parent. You are not in a diaper. You have been speaking for more than ten years now. Why is it that, all of a sudden, you’ve reverted back to screaming, whining, and sulking in a corner rather than using your words?
Once I sat down and thought about this, I realized that if I’m going to call myself grown, I need to act like it. I starting doing something crazy: communicating. And guess what? IT WORKS. Your own explanation can say so much more than what a read receipt can. And the results are even better. Try it. You, too, will see.