Likelihood of a person being an asshole

I’ve been trying to think of how to word this question and struggling.

Basically, I’ve noticed that if a person is loud, obnoxious, and self-centered, he tends to seek out friends with those same personality flaws.

So what I’m wondering to myself is, given the likelihood that any one person is an asshole, how much would that likelihood increase or decrease as you learn who his friends are?

Put another way, how much do you think you glean about a person’s personality based on his friends?

For me ‘asshole’ is an altogether different category from ‘loud, obnoxious, self centered’. By orders of magnitude.

Loud, obnoxious and self entered, to my mind, could be unconscious, pattern, even habit. But asshole is a choice and involves actively choosing certain behaviours.

For this reason, I don’t think I can answer your question, sorry.

I agree with elbows.

I’ve known many people who were loud, obnoxious, and self-centered, who were also extremely kind.

And I’ve known some people whose external behavior was unremarkable, but who were flying, flaming assholes.

Well, I’m a lawyer. So kind of an asshole by definition.

I also tend to hang out with lawyers, as most folks do tend to spend time with work colleagues. They are also kind of assholes.

If you define asshole as loud, obnoxious, over-confident… then yes, we are all assholes. And we tend to flock together.

Umm – it has a lot to be with the observer. If somebody says to me “Joe is an asshole”, I think, You are telling me more about yourself than about Joe.

Just going on what people post on the Straight Dope about their (crazy) friends, I’d say that there is not much of a correlation between the personality of one friend versus his/her friend. A lot of close friendships develop in childhood, before personalities are solidified. You may put up with someone’s quirks simply because you have history together.

Also, personalities are subjective. A guy that looks like an asshole could be perfectly sweet, and the guy that looks “sweet” could actually be an asshole.

Also, people’s personalities change based on their environments and who they are with at any particular time. I’m a different person when I am with family/friends versus coworkers, for instance. A coworker may assume I am an asshole, for instance, because she overheard me chewing someone out in the hallway (not that I would ever do this, mind you :)). But when I’m around people who I genuinely like to be around (as opposed to being forced to be around), I am not like this. If I have to chew someone out in my leisure/social time, then I’m not leisuring/socializing. That’s “workplace” me. Not “friendship” me.

I guess my question is more to what degree personalities cluster together. For instance, if a person has racist friends, do you think that makes the person more likely to be racist himself? If a person hangs out with friends who start fights in a bar, is there a higher likelihood that this person also starts fights? If a person has close-minded friends, is he more likely to be close-minded?

Such as?

There is definitely a correlation.

I also completely disagree with both Elbows and Grumpybunny. If I need to cite how Assholes are Loud/Obnoxious people, replete with Big Mouths, who think that they are funny, then I’d like to refer you to these two links thoughtfully provided w/i another thread.

The only exception is mental defect.
Now, as for the likelihood of being an asshole if they run with assholes? Well, they are friends.
Hypothetically, there must be something in them that the subject would identify with to want to be with them… and there must be something in the subject that they identify with to want to accept the subject as a friend.
Unless the subject of discussion was so broken and so damaged and had so little self esteem that the group pitied them, but evidence of that hasn’t yet been entered within this discussion.

In my experience, assholes tend to repel each other even more than they repel the rest of us. If there are two of them in a room, they get into a big stinking fight, and one of them stomps off. They’re like primas donnas: one is all that the environment can support.

Hmmm, I’d have to say no, I wouldn’t make such assumptions regarding racism, likeliness to start a bar fight or being an asshole.

On reflection though, I admit, I’d be hesitant to assume you were fully trustworthy if you hung around people who were petty thieves, adulterers etc.

So I’ll say mostly no, but a few things probably. At least a little. I don’t know that I’d assume the worst so much as hesitate a titch, to fully trust.

…or stalkers, hackers, or felony-level practical jokers. People who think that trying to cause the loss of a job might be funny. People with no clue that it stopped being funny 20 events ago. Add those jackasses into the “etc” too please.


One of the biggest and true-est assholes I know is my brother in law, who is also a lawyer. He’s definitely over-confident but also extremely soft-spoken and not overtly obnoxious. His asshole-ism seeps in gradually, the better you know him.

The most overtly-obnoxious and loud person I know is actually not really an asshole, he just comes across like one until you get to know him.

I’ve pondered this for a few minutes and IMHO, there is no correlation. Also, somewhat passive people (my sister) tend to put up with assholes, while similar-minded people reject them. I agree with Trinopus on this.

In my experience, the meanest, most vicious people tend to be the friendliest and most open at first contact. It’s happened again and again: I think I’ve got an instant friend, then bam. Gutted.

In my experience, I’ve decided a lot of people are assholes before I met their friends, and if I make that assessment, odds are I’m never going to meet their friends.

So I might not be especially the best at responding to the OP … but I’ve also met plenty of nice people I consider friends, and they introduce me to their friends (or spouses), and sometimes the thought crops up about those people, “What an asshole!”

Sorry you missed my point. I’ll try to make it clearer.

IF A thinks that just about everybody is an asshole ,and B thinks that most people have redeeming qualities and doesn’t mind getting along with them and overlooking thier shortcomings, then A is more likely than B to be an asshole.

If you’re asking me for some examples by name, I’m sorry to disappoint you.

But that is not what you originally said. You did not say “if you say that just about everyone is an asshole, then that tells me more about you than everyone else.” You said (and Im paraphrasing), “if you tell me that Joe is an asshole, that tells me more about you that it tells me about Joe.”

So my question remains, what does this tell you about the person telling you that Joe is an asshole? Other than they think Joe is an asshole?

The likelihood is 1. In everyone’s mind, they’re just doing their best to do what they can during the time they’ve got on the planet. How that gets interpretted by others is dependent on the others’ views of how the world works.

Beyond that, though, I don’t know how similar people are who group together as friends. I’m sure someone done a study.

That’s how I feel about living in this state (OK) in general. People are cordial, even mannerly, until you work for/with them. Then the true person comes out.

Must be the eating red dirt with every breath you take during tornado season.

For all I know, I’m one now.

Oh well, a little while longer and we’re out of here.

As for the OP, I think some people have different personae (personas?) they show different people. If you’re not important enough to them, they treat you poorly.

I tend to agree more with this. However, I think the number of people who are complete genuine Donald Trump level assholes is pretty small. I think most of our behavior is circumstantial. I am sure there have been times most people have been described as an asshole even though they are probably decent people generally.