A College Student Wonders Why His Suite-Mate Is Such a Jerk

A student came into my office to talk about life with a particular suite-mate in his dorm, someone he was not getting along with at all.  His question:  what makes someone an a–hole?  I told him I’d need a few details, a few examples, of this person’s “a–hole” like behavior, and he offered this for starters:  “I have a friend, a young woman, who is very overweight, and anytime she comes around, he makes whale noises, refers to her as a whale, etc.”  I stopped him right there, and suggested that “a–hole” was far too gracious a description—there are a–holes (they grab your parking space when you’ve been patiently waiting with your blinker on, they act rude to servers at dining establishments, they gossip behind your back…) and then there are cruel and abusive individuals who have deep and profound emotional/psychological challenges.  Continue reading