Sep 18 2011
Greetings, Cool Peeps!
Can we have a moment of quiet? I’m listening to something: “Me, me, me, me, me!”
Is that an opera singer warming up or a narcissist talking?
Doesn’t it seem that, more and more, we live in an it’s-all-about-me world?
Recently, my friend Tony was telling me about his friend Ian, who never stops talking about himself and has no interest in what others had to say or what they are doing. With high hopes, Tony and his friend Andy planned an intervention. They were going to confront Ian with the truth about himself, in hopes of helping him to see the light.
“How did the intervention go?” I asked. “Was Ian upset when the two of you lit into him?”
“Hell, no!” Tony exclaimed. “He loved it! You know why, Molly? Because we were still talking about him!”
There’s a difference between peeps who can be a little full of themselves at times and full-blown narcissists. As you may know, the term “narcissism” comes from a tale in Greek mythology, in which the gorgeous young Narcissus shunned all romantic prospects, only to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool.
Personally, I know far too many peeps who see their own face everywhere they look. Remember Cole Porter’s song “You’re the Top?” Take a listen and just substitute every “you’re” with “I’m.” That’s a narcissist.
Narcissists are often charming. I’ve met many whom I thought were just delightful the first or second time around. Some are natural-born raconteurs who not only have done exciting things, but also excel in talking about them. But here’s the thing. After a while, as much as you’ve enjoyed their stories, you notice that they don’t even know your last name. Or your first. They aren’t the least bit curious about your life, and their only interest in you is as an audience or because there’s something they think you can do for them.
I once was roped into a blind date with a narcissist. This dude talked nonstop about himself throughout dinner. He was so bad I couldn’t even ask him a question about HIM. He was like a volcano, gushing forth with more self-centered prattle than I’d ever heard. I managed to interject an “oh” and a “really” a couple of times, and the only other time I spoke was to order my meal. At the end of the miserable evening, he turned to me and said, “Molly, you’re a fascinating conversationalist. We’ll have to do this again!”
My first instinct was to think he was being sarcastic. But then I realized that he had no clue I had barely spoken a word. I put up with him (for the sake of the louse who forced me into the date), and he truly had a great time. I started to say something to him, but then I decided that my wheels didn’t need spinning; I just wanted to go home. I can be freakin’ fascinating (you know that, cool peeps, ha ha), but the irony is that if I had offered that bummer of a date any scintillating talk that wasn’t about him, he would have found me to be a complete bore.
I once asked a psychiatrist how many true narcissists were ever cured – or if he’d ever seen it in his career. “On the head of a pin,” he told me. “On the head of a pin.”
It seems as if our society is more narcissistic than ever. Social media seems to shine a light on narcissists or those prone to narcissistic behavior in a big way. We’ve all seen it on Twitter, Facebook, and many other sites. I guess the good thing here is that people tell you who they are and what they’re all about very quickly. You don’t have to know them for years only to be blindsided with the revelation.
When I first started at the Swansea Herald, I had a Twitter page to keep up with what was happening in the world. Although it’s called social media, lots of peeps forget about the “social” part, but they sure get the ME-dia part. I was getting really tired of following peeps who would immediately send me back a DM (direct message) telling me to check out their book, CD, website, blog, business, become their fan on Facebook, etc. Are you freakin’ kidding me? How about you take the effort to get to know me first? Just a little? How about hello? Or do we just skip all of that and get to what I can do for you? Would these same all-about-me peeps be so blatant to walk up to me at a gathering and say “Check out my site” to my face without saying hello? Or “Hi, I’m a complete stranger. You know nothing about me or my work. But I want you to be my fan. Now.”
Let’s get real. We’re all human beings worthy of attention, and there’s nothing wrong with taking moments here and there to talk about ourselves or plug our work. That’s totally cool with me. But some peeps sadly forget or are blissfully unaware that no one is in this world alone.
I hear more “Me me me me me” all the time. How about you? What are your observations? Do you think we’ve become more of a narcissistic society than ever? Can we do anything about it? Am I being too picky?
See you next week.
Yours in pickiness,