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The Simplicity of Good vs. Bad Behavior

What Does Behavior Entail?

Behavior is a term that you likely have known about since you were a child. “Be on your best behavior” is a piece of advice (or a warning) you probably heard in childhood from your parents, or perhaps at school. But what exactly is behavior, and what constitutes good versus bad behavior?

What is Behavior?

Behavior is how you conduct yourself towards others. It can be the words you say as well as the actions you make. It’s both nonverbal and verbal. It’s connected to – but not the same as – your personality. You can change your behavior without abandoning your personality, and vice versa.

Examples of Good Behavior

Someone who exhibits what is generally considered to be good behavior may do a few of the following:

Demonstrating Respect

A person with good behavior usually tries to respect everyone they come across automatically. An example of respect can mean talking to someone they don’t know in a social situation and actively listening to them, engaging actively in conversation during appropriate times, treating them nicely, and challenging them when they don’t behave well towards them, or towards others. Respect in the workplace may include something as simple as saying “hello” to people you pass on your way into the office every day, or taking your personal calls behind a closed door or outside of the office in order not to disturb or distract your fellow coworkers.

Exhibiting Ambition

Being ambitious at work or in your profession is another example of what can be construed as good behavior. If you come across as lazy or half-hearted, it can ruin your reputation with your coworkers, your manager, and your employer at large. However, if you appear to be motivated and you want to succeed, ambition (in a respectful sense) can certainly be seen as good, professional behavior.

Showing Empathy

Someone who has good behavior may try to understand and relate to someone else’s difficulties and struggles. Rather than brushing off others’ misfortunes, or ignoring someone else’s need for a listening ear and someone to talk to, an empathetic person demonstrates good behavior by doing what presumably they wish would be done for them, if they were in the other person’s situation. The phrase “put yourself in someone else’s shoes” is certainly applicable.

Being Loyal

Staying loyal can also be good behavior. You can be loyal to your employer, despite stressful times like during projects with long hours, or perhaps a change in personnel or management that you don’t necessarily agree with. Sticking with your job since it does fulfill some need for you, even if it is ‘just’ paying the bills, can be an example of good behavior.

Being loyal to your friends and family during hardships is also a good behavior, as it shows them that you will be there for them in times of need. Your support may be just what they are looking for in terms of hope, comfort, motivation, or some combination of all three.

Loyalty doesn’t mean to blindly follow someone or something, but instead, giving care as long as it isn’t harmful to you or them.

Good Manners

Good manners are probably the first lesson we learn in terms of what constitutes good behavior. Someone who has good manners will say please, thank you, and excuse me, practice proper etiquette while eating and in social situations, wait until their turn when it comes to things like lines at the supermarket, while driving, or even during meetings or conversations, and many other situations where it seems like a ‘no-brainer.’ 

However, some people never grow out of their bad manners or stop practicing good manners, and that’s a problem.

Bad Behaviors

We can all agree that bad behaviors should be changed, as they are more harmful than helpful. Even if you are overall a good person, there may be a few toxic behaviors that you may want to identify and change.

Below are a few bad behaviors

Contributing to Gossip

Gossip is something most people seem to count as a guilty pleasure. With the Internet, it’s become easier than ever. It can be fun to talk about other people when you know something juicy about them. Perhaps it’s good fodder for conversation during Happy Hour. But is it right? Usually, no. Gossiping may have kernels of truth to it, but with gossip being passed around so much and through many different people and source, the truth can get quite warped. Try to avoid gossip altogether, since this behavior doesn’t have good intentions behind it, when it comes down to it.

Guilt Tripping Someone

It can be hard to get your way. There are good ways to get the desired result, such as skillful negotiation; a negative behavior to get a specific outcome includes guilt-tripping.

Guilt-tripping is trying to make someone feel bad about their decision, especially in order to influence them to do something. It’s different from expressing disappointment; a guilt tripper will not let something go and will do what they can to remind the other party of what they did in hopes they can change the person’s mind.

Guilt-tripping is something that needs to change. Accepting that you can’t always get what you want, trying to understand the other person’s course of action and reasoning, and expressing your emotions in a constructive way would be more acceptable behaviors when things don’t go your way.

Being Envious

Envy doesn’t necessarily just mean that you want what someone else has – it can be amplified when you intentionally make someone feel bad for having something, and you attempt getting the same thing through unhealthy, unproductive, or toxic means. For example, you may envy your friend who has found love, and you may want to break up the relationship, undermine it during a conversation, or even take their partner from them and make them your own.

Instead, a better behavior when feeling envious is identifying what it is that you truly want, and coming up with a productive, healthy way to get it for yourself.

Bad Manners

What is considered polite can differ from person to person and culture to culture, but there are a few manners that are universal. Not saying please and thank you, interrupting a person when they are talking, belching and passing gas in public without excusing yourself — these are a few obvious examples of bad manners. Some are just bad habits that a person is trying to work on, but if someone has some bad manners and makes no effort to change them, that can make for a problem that can be worse than just a few bad behaviors.

Acting too Righteous

You may think that good behavior means always being the bigger person, being right, and coming across as an example or authority to others, but that can actually be bad behavior. This can also be known as a “holier-than-thou” attitude. It’s good to be confident and set an example for others, but when you seem too condescending and come across as thinking or acting like you’re above everyone else, that bad behavior needs to be corrected.

Being too Easily Distracted

This is bad behavior that is made easier thanks to smartphones. If you’re on your phone when someone is talking to you or while you’re in a meeting, or you constantly check your newsfeed or apps while you’re at dinner with friends or family and aren’t expecting something urgently, it comes across as rude and as if you’re uninterested.

Some people don’t mean any harm by being on their phones; they may believe that they can multitask. However, multitasking is difficult for many. You may think you’re a good multitasker, but in many cases, you aren’t, and you may come across as being uncaring and unaware. If you find yourself being distracted by your smartphone (or any other type of distraction), try only using these things when your attention isn’t immediately required somewhere else. You’ll be surprised at just how much you can do without while at work or when spending time with others.

Getting Help for Your Bad Behaviors

People who exhibit bad behaviors are not necessarily “bad.” You may be a good person but with some bad habits you learned from childhood, or you just can’t seem to shake, even though you know you can – and should – do better.

Speaking to a therapist or counselor can help you identify and teach you to work on your problem behaviors.

Changing your behaviors is something that takes time, but if you are dedicated, you can change them in a way that transforms your relationships, reputation, and view of yourself.


This is a featured post by site sponsor Better Help.

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