Imagine if I inserted this into every conversation: “I don’t know if I ever told you, but I won a modeling contest when I was in high school, it was a pretty big deal.” How long do you think it would take before it got on your nerves? Sure, it might be worth mentioning once, maybe twice if it happens to come up in conversation, but any more than that is pushing it. I highly doubt anyone cares that I had a bit of success in a JC Penney modeling contest before I was old enough to drive, and I am aware of that fact and don’t see a reason to bring it up at all, nevermind over and over again. If it was something I happened to be proud of, it merits one mention, but that is it.
Unfortunately, I’m pretty certain that I will never be free of people who don’t realize that after a certain point, no one cares about what they are bragging about anymore. I cut someone out of my life last year because I was fed up with the “everything is about ME” attitude, but there’s always someone to take their place. The worst offender lately is a female who is into tattoos. She rambles on about wanting to get one, posts on twitter like a mad woman when she makes plans to go, and checks in on Foursquare multiple times to let the world know she’s at the shop. Afterward, she brags about how good it looks, complains of the discomfort, and goes on for what seems like forever about when it’s time to get the next one. If anyone even whispers the word “tattoo” she is quick to ensure you are aware that she has some and is the leading expert on the subject. It is constant. I’ve stopped following her on Twitter because if I hear one more thing about her stupid tattoos, I’m going to rip her face off.
The problem isn’t talking about your life and what’s going on with you from day to day. Your friends are sure to either care about it or like you enough to fake it for a conversation. The problem arises when you cross the line and go from sharing something with friends to bragging and oversharing in a sad attempt to make yourself look good. Saying a few things here and there about the amazing vacation you’re currently on is fine and I’d love to hear it. Giving a step by step rundown on social networks of what you’re doing and what a better time you’re having than anyone else in the world is obnoxious; it seems that your only goal is to earn the envy of your friends.
Before you call me a whiner, know that I’m talking of extreme cases here; the people who are the walking definitions of attention whores, the people who turn every conversation, regardless of topic, into something about themselves. What they surely think makes them appealing is actually making them look like a small child, desperate for attention, needing to have all eyes on him and jealous when the focus shifts away from him. If tattoo girl would tone it down, I’d love to hear about what she got done since I obviously enjoy getting inked as well. The fact that she never shuts her damn mouth about it has totally deterred me from bringing it up. To me, she’s the kind of person who gets them done because she assumes it makes her look bad ass and cool, and that’s the wrong reason to do anything.
The more someone brags and talks themselves up, the more insecure and childlike they appear. It’s easy to pick someone out of a crowd that is trying way too hard to fit in or stand out, either way you end up sticking out for all the wrong reasons. Living your life in constant pursuit of the admiration of others is no way to live. Happiness doesn’t come from other people; I’ve heard it said many times and it never stops being true. My husband can make me happy, but he can’t provide me with happiness, it’s something I give myself. Last weekend, while spending time in a great place with polite and helpful people, there were still those few who had a shitty time. Same thing with the cruise we went on. A sad and miserable person doesn’t change when you throw some attention their way. An insecure person doesn’t break out of their shell just because they manage to wring a few compliments out of a friend. Bragging will only earn you the wrong kind of attention, or the right kind from the wrong people. If your goal is to impress others, go do something truly impressive. Shut up for a while and let your actions speak for themselves.