where they draw lines in the sand trying to get you to cross them. They get so focused on trying to show you up that they forget to wonder how they’ll feel if you actually do cross them. I’ve done it to others. Others have done it to me. It’s one of the most counterproductive things that can be done, and it’s human nature, a common habit.
It always pays, before drawing a line in the sand to embarrass someone, to wonder whether you’ll be very upset if they actually surprise you and cross the line that you’ve drawn, especially if you’ve drawn it hastily and angrily.
No sense in goading people into doing things they otherwise might not have done, especially if they’re things you’d rather not see happen. It’s like world leaders saying to each other “Go ahead, launch the bomb, you coward!” expecting to be able to follow it up with “I know you wouldn’t do it—you’re weak!” but instead finding themselves in the midst of a nuclear winter.