Re:ZERO: Gratitude shouldn’t come with strings



In RE:Zero, Subaru Natsuki had pretty contradicting behaviours towards his love interest, the would-be queen Emilia. While he was portrayed to empathise with and care for her, his actions also had a manipulative side. He continually pushed her boundaries and felt entitled to a relationship with her.

Image credits: https://www.animefeminist.com/rezeros-nice-guy-subaru-and-supposedly-selfless-love/]

Colloquially known as the “Nice Guy” stereotype, this calculating behaviour can manifest regardless of gender. These individuals assume their person of desire is a prize to be won with caring and “good” behaviour. And if their affections are not returned, they become angry at being denied something they believe to be well-deserved. This behaviour is innately selfish and disrespectful of others’ boundaries and feelings. Here are some signs that you may be being pressured to reciprocate in a way you don’t want to and how to say no:


1. You feel discomfort whenever this person does something nice


It makes no sense because it should be something you feel good about. However, if you find yourself dreading the next act of kindness from this person, listen to your gut and try to find out why you are feeling this way. Subaru often made Emilia feel uncomfortable because of his lavish praise and grand gestures towards her. He saw himself as the hero who would eventually get the girl, and covertly pressured Emilia to reciprocate his feelings.

2. They keep asking for more


When Subaru collapsed after being exhausted from his workload as Emilia’s butler, he took advantage of her concern to push her for a date. While kindness and help should be met with gratitude, they shouldn’t be currencies for affection. Using kindness as a bargaining chip is manipulative and disingenuous. Remember, you are allowed to say no if pressured to give more than you are willing.


3. You are made to feel bad if you refuse



Subaru eventually snapped and his entitlement came to light. He insisted that Emilia owed him for everything he had done for her. It showed his belief that he deserved Emilia because of his hard work. Just because someone does something for you doesn’t mean you are enslaved to them. Use your judgement or consult others as to the appropriate measure of gratitude; whether it be a simple thank you or buying them a meal. Under no circumstances should this make you feel like you are doing so under duress or just to appease others.

Set and enforce boundaries

Firm boundaries and knowing your worth are your best defences against this pressure. It is important that you politely but firmly communicate your discomfort to the person pressuring you. Remember that it is okay to express gratitude on your terms and not let guilt or shame tell you otherwise.


Here are some Shadee.Care articles on related topics:


Jackson Wang, when personal boundaries are crossed

Jackson Wang, when personal boundaries are crossed.


My Happy Marriage, over-apologising and self-worth

My Happy Marriage, over apologizing and self-worth











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