From Ask Lutz

Do I Hate People?

Dear Lisa,

I can't decide if I hate people or not. The other day I cried when I heard someone on NPR tell a story about a guy who kept paying his dead fiancé’s cell phone bills so he could call her voicemail and listen to her voice. He would sit in the quiet of his apartment, pour a glass of wine, and call her number. It was so touching.

But I spend all day batting down all these extremely hostile thoughts. I want to harm everyone who honks a horn, laughs hysterically, or just stands around looking dumb. In the back of my mind there's a constant, repeating, stream of violence--of bazookas materializing out of nowhere and blowing up asshole cars, of bombs falling from planes into buildings, of power lines spontaneously snapping off, whipping around, and decapitating me.

So, do I hate people or not?


Teetering in Trono


Dear Teetering,

First of all, you are not required to account for all the crazy thoughts that go on in your head. They’re just thoughts. If I beat myself up for every time I fantasized about drop kicking another human being, I’d be in a loony bin somewhere. Only our actions require accountability and since I hardly think your mind is capable of making bazookas appear out of mid air, I think we’ve got nothing to worry about. Secondly, there’s nothing wrong with a little hate. It’s okay to hate people who honk their horn too much or have an awful laugh—I mean, they don’t have to honk their horn and they don’t have to laugh. What the hell’s so funny, anyway? It’s okay to hate people who refuse to use their turn signals under any circumstance whatsoever; it’s okay to hate people who drive those ‘cute’ little new bugs and yet can’t seem to manage to stay in own their damn lane! If you ask me, it’s okay to hate people who drive the new bugs--I had a bad experience. And it’s okay to hate people who aren’t deeply moved by that awful NPR story.

Some people will tell you that you should love everyone. It’s okay to hate those people too. But it’s important to make sure that the hate doesn’t get the best of you. I mean, don’t go home at night actively fuming over the jerk that cut you off in traffic. Most hate should be fleeting and occasionally you must keep it in check.

For example, I used to hate mouth-breathers. There was just something horribly annoying about that dumb, opened-mouthed look on their face that drove me nuts. Oh how I used to dream of shouting out, “Why don’t you try breathing through your nose, buddy!” Then a friend of mine explained that some people have chronic allergies or a nose condition that prevents them from getting a clear air passage through their nostrils no matter what they do. So sure, mouth breathers bother me, but I don’t want to cut off their only air supply.

I hope some of this has been helpful, Teetering. And if it hasn’t, please send me a letter of complaint.

Best Wishes,


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