I’m So Over Being The Bigger Person. Now I’m Teaching My Kids This.

Being the Bigger Person

I’m so beyond tired of being the bigger person. I’m seriously over it. How many times, in your life, or in your relationships, have you been told to be the bigger person, or have felt like you should be the bigger person, simply because it’s easier?

These days, I now want to be the opposite of the bigger person. I want to be…The smaller person? I’ve been the bigger person for way too long, and what I’ve learned is that you never get credit for being the bigger person, just like you will never get credit for giving an engagement ring back.

For years, in my blended family, I was told over and over again to be the bigger person when any type of discourse occurred. I would always apologize, just to keep the peace, even if I didn’t think I needed to apologize at all.

And for years, I’ve responded to trolls on social media with kind responses, even if their comments were not so kind about me. Not any more!

Last week, after posting on my personal FB wall about dining out at an expensive restaurant – a spot that was near to where homeless people were being evacuated – the comments went offside. Many had a lot of love to share, but many had a LOT of hate. Usually, when the trolls negatively comment on something I’ve done, call me names, question my parenting, or disagree with ALL CAPS, I still always tried to be the bigger person, explaining my actions, defending my choices, and always responding, “Thank you for sharing,” “Thanks for your comment,” or, “I see your point.” (Even when I don’t.)

Something in me snapped. I no longer wanted to be the bigger person on social media, or in real life. I asked myself, “Why are you being the bigger person here when people are such assholes?”

So…I stopped. In response to one of the comments, I wrote, “The trolls can fuck right off,” which made me feel better. My new motto, after all, is, “Fight fire with fire.” And I’m teaching my kids this, too.

Last week, my son came home from school with a bump on the back of his head, and a bruise on his cheek after another student had a meltdown and my son was caught in the crossfire. Usually, I’d let something like this go, or make up an excuse, thinking it was just an accident. Not this time. I would not be the bigger person. I wrote to the principal, “I AM coming in to see you tomorrow at 9 am. I will wait all day if needed.” Guess what? I’ve never received an email response so quickly in my entire life! Not being the bigger person worked like magic in this incident.

Then, when I heard from a mutual friend that an ex-friend of mine refused to stop spreading insane rumours about me, even though I’ve never said anything negative about her, I finally refused to be the bigger person. Instead, this time I told our mutual friend, “She’s bat shit crazy! Please tell her I said so!”

And in a recent attempt to get along with one ex-relative, I reached out with a kind and mature text – definitely being the bigger person –  asking if we could talk and come to a civil closure, for the sake of my child. Guess what? I received no response. Nothing. Nada. Now, because this person refused to acknowledge my earnest text, I will not be the bigger person, if we find ourselves in the same room. One time? Shame on you. Two times? Shame on me.

In this article entitled, “You Don’t Always Have To Be The Bigger Person: Sometimes you need to crack — and that’s cool!” this writer gets it. She says, “Every time I am the bigger person, a little voice in my head says, Why? The number of times other people do that for me are very slim to none. Why do I have to be the bigger person? Why do I have to compromise what I want to do, eat, and see for someone else? Why are that person’s feelings and opinions more important than mine? We’re both people on this planet. My feelings are just as valid as anyone else’s. Why am I always the bigger person?”

All throughout my blending of families, I was constantly told to be the bigger person. Very recently, my teenage daughter was having issues with two “girlfriends.” They were incredibly rude, and calling her names in group chats. This fight went on for days. At first, I found myself telling my daughter, “Someone has to be the bigger person. Why don’t you text them a nice note and ask them to meet you to talk it out.”  Well, it’s not a huge spoiler alert to say that didn’t work out. As the week progressed, and her “friends” became meaner and meaner, I finally lost it.

“Rowan! Stop being the bigger person now. Fight fire with fire. If they say something about you, send them that rolling eye emoji, or text, “Whatever. Get a life,” I told my daughter. It was time to shut these girls down, especially after she had already attempted to be the bigger person, numerous times. Guess what happened when my daughter texted back, “I don’t want anything to do with you anymore unless it has to do with school.” The girls suddenly became nice to her again, because she fought fire with fire.

Since I’m starting to fight fire with fire, I now feel empowered. I no longer gave a crap, or feel pressure to play the role of the bigger person by responding kindly to people who are not kind to me. My daughter, too, no longer gave a crap, and felt a huge sense of relief when she stopped trying to be the bigger person.

“Being the bigger person is overrated, and exhausting. I can’t think of one legitimate reason as to why you should ever have to compromise how you feel, or what you want to do simply to give way to someone else. Because it’s not worth it. That’s what I often say to myself in my head…”

I can hear some readers screaming, “GAH! You’re teaching your children to fight fire with fire, instead of forgiving and forgetting?” Or, “This world is already so cruel! What we need is kindness and love.” Yeah, yeah, all that is true. But, in this day and age of trolls, and teenage text group chats, what I am teaching them is there’s a difference between being the bigger person and being a pushover, and that they should refuse to be walked over. Unless, of course, being the bigger person is warranted, and they know they fucked up, and need to apologize, then, yes, they should be the bigger person and apologize and reach out.

In this article, The Benefits of Being The Bigger Person, they list why one should be the bigger person. I actually like the list. I like “You’ve tried,” so there’s no room for regret. I like “No holding grudges,” and freeing yourself from negativity. Finally, I like “You grow stronger,” meaning it may not always be easy to be the bigger person, but it brings maturity and helps you move past the age of petty drama. Well, I’m in my forties and I still find petty drama everywhere, people do hold grudges, and to rid yourself of negativity, sometimes you need to do a lot more than just be the bigger person.

Sometimes you do need to fight fire with fire. And, yes, I’ll teach my children to do the same.




  1. Ryan Griver on April 22, 2019 at 11:25 pm

    I love how I can randomly read one of your articles every few years and agree fully with all of them. I think I’ve liked your stuff for maybe 15 years now? No real point to comment, just a generic job well done. PS I gave back the ring and yeah, you were spot on about that.

  2. Nicole S on April 23, 2019 at 10:38 pm

    I really love this article!! My mom used to say if you’ve got nothing nice to say than don’t say nothing. Well if you need to stand up for yourself you should say something. Fight fire with fire love it. Great read, thanks for sharing.

  3. Bettina Bathe on April 25, 2019 at 12:40 pm

    Thank you for sharing and glad you are now joining the smaller person club. I have been in it for a few decades and it is a breath of fresh air! You go Girl xo

  4. Martha McLellan on May 3, 2019 at 12:12 am

    Hmmm…I feel like this might be something that happens to us in our 40s?! In the last few years I have become a lot less tolerant of people’s b***sh*t.
    Buh bye Bigger Person, and farewell assholes!

  5. Colleen T. on September 24, 2019 at 10:00 am

    My son transferred to his current school in the 4th grade (He is now in the 6th), and there is a group of boys who befriended him when he arrived. Two things to keep mind, 1. The majority of the kids at this school come from families that are financially well off (our family, Not so much) and 2. This group of boys have been friends since Kindergarten. One of the boys gets mad at my son over a video game they play together online and begins bullying my son at school. Yesterday this boy actually said to my son “Go kill yourself!” Which his punishment was walking lines for 1 whole recess. (Not enough in my opinion) And hes not just bullying him alone, but bringing the other friends into the drama too. My son just wants to have a good honest friend and get along with other kids. These kids have made my son so self conscious that sometimes I feel like I have a teenage girl because of how much he stresses about his looks and his weight. He’s good looking, blonde hair, blue eyes, dresses like any other kid, shorts, shirt, new name brand shoes that are not last year’s style. He’s not the dirty stinky kid in class, just the new kid. Things that werent an issue at his old school because all the kids were lower middle to lower class families and knew the value of a friend for who they are rather than the value of a friend by the value of the things they have. And these boys who were his friends just a couple days ago, can be and are just vicious, mean little boys. Anyway, I told my son last night and h this morning to not feed into their bullying and just be the bigger person and walk away from all of them. I literally put him on the bus about 2 minutes before I read this article and now I’m wishing I would have read it before I sent my son to deal with the wolves hby himself. Thank you for saying its okay to be jthe fire too sometimes, to fight fire with fire. I am for sure going to share this article with him as soon as he gets home today. Thank you again

  6. nobody on December 29, 2020 at 2:53 am

    Can’t seem make up your mind, can you?

  7. Dodo on May 7, 2022 at 7:55 am

    Love this article! I too am so fed up with always being the bigger person. It’s heartbreaking because always being the bigger person means I’ve always cared about others more than they’ve cared about me. I don’t get why some people are so hard headed and would rather be in a fight, or alone, than to be on good terms and talking to a friend.
    I’m tired of doing so much for people who I’ve learned wouldn’t ever do even half of that for me. I wonder if you also have the personality of always being the one who gives more to others? My mom kind of raised me to be an over-giver and recently I’ve become aware of this and have been trying out this “match their energy” thing to avoid being used anymore. Sadly I’ve been quite lonely, but I know it’s just made room for friends who care more.

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