When You Have to Be the Bigger Person

Adulting, Author: Mary Grace Donaldson

We’ve all been there. When you’ve been angry at someone for an extended period of time. When you’ve been hurt and not able to face the person who hurt you. When you can’t stop being angry and sad, and you’ve presumably stopped speaking to the person in question — romantic interest or through a friendship — to protect your own heart.

But then one day, you get the news that something awful is happening in that person’s life. Maybe it’s illness — their own, or a family member’s. Maybe they’re dealing with a death in their family. Maybe they just got laid off. Maybe they’re going through a breakup or a divorce. But whatever it is, you realize that you haven’t stopped caring for the person.

And it’s time for you to pull yourself together, swallow your pride, and reach out — in spite of your anger and your hurt.

It’s not going to be easy
You may feel scared. Anxious. Nervous. Any number of words for it. If you’re anything like me, you hate the feeling of having to swallow your pride and ignore your own stubborn instinct. But you know that it’s something you have to do, and that if roles were reversed, you’d expect said person to do this for you.

Try not to overthink it
Listen to your gut — as the saying goes, “that bitch knows what’s up.” Don’t waste time thinking too much about what you’re going to say and how you’re going to say it.

Just do it
Don’t wait until you’re ready, because you’re never going to be. You have to just go for it.

Don’t bring up what made you angry or sad
This one may seem like a no-brainer, but… remember: this isn’t about you. If there’s a reason down the road to discuss what happened before, take the opportunity. But, that opportunity is not now. This is about them, not you.

Recognize that you’re doing the right thing
The right thing isn’t always easy. Heck, knowing what the right thing is isn’t always easy, forget about actually carrying it out. But once you’ve done the right thing, chances are you’ll feel it in your body. You’ll feel a sense of calming.

Don’t get your hopes up
While you may reconcile with the person in question following your reaching out and in fact doing the right thing, it’s possible that you won’t. And that’s okay. You didn’t reach out at this moment to reconcile. You reached out to be there for someone who’s going through a hard time.


No matter what the outcome is, you will be set apart from many of your peers just by being the bigger person. And that’s something that, at the end of the day, you can be proud of.

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