I have nothing against positivity…


… in general, but do you remember the days a long, long time ago (OK, not so long.) in this very same universe uh… in this very solar system uh … on this very planet when people kept the news of good (and bad, for that matter) things happening in their lives to immediate family and closest friends only… maybe a few coworkers? It was a time when those individuals receiving the good news first hand numbered ten to fifteen maximum. Those people then had the power of discerning if that news was truly exuberant enough to warrant sharing the information with mutual acquaintances or thinking to themselves, “Hey, that’s neat.” and then moving on with their daily lives.

Do you? I do. And then came the internet… and chat rooms (Remember those?)… and instant messaging… and then whoooosh social media. And, now, good news worthy of only the smallest audience gets rocketed around the globe as though it is the cure for cancer and everyone who sees it is expected to react with uninhibited joyous abandon when Beth’s (I’ll use my own name as to not inadvertently offend call out somebody in such a public forum.) kidney stone passes and she can now urinate freely whenever she likes and without pain. (No, I do not have, nor have I ever had a kidney stone.) Good news? Sure. Do your 2000 Facebook friends need to know that? No. (I have another vent about why anyone would need a full ton of Facebook “acquaintances” but that is a completely different rant.)

I’m not saying I don’t want to hear read the genuinely good news my friends have to share or that I won’t be, in turn, genuinely happy for them; but, there are those people who clearly have developed an addiction (Yes, I am diagnosing them.) to the accolades and the cheers and the congratulations and the you-deserve-its and that blasted Facebook [Like] button.

These are not normal, happy people. These individuals are the complete antithesis to the chronic “woe is me-ers” who never seem to have anything good happen to them. Ever. I, myself, lean to the melancholic (No way! Yes way!) side but large portions of my life actually DO suck right now. I’m no hypocrite. I’ll call myself out on that one… but it never lasts forever and, I have to be honest, it’s far easier to empathize with someone who may have a pretty hard life (and I’m much better off than many) than it is to be, “OH MY GOSH! I’m so HAPPY for you! SQUEEEEEE!” for the same person day in and day out and day in and day out ad infinitum. Nobody… and I mean NOBODY… has a life that is 100% perfect twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty-two blasted weeks of every single year. It’s not possible. There are those, however, who try to lead on the world at large and have us believe that their lives are not just okay or great… but bloody perfect.

I’ve had enough and I call, “Bullshit!” I’m tired of reading their tweets [Block] or their status updates [Hide] (Actually, I may have totally de-friended you if you are guilty of this. If you haven’t noticed… awesome. It proves that we shouldn’t have been “friends” anyway.) five to ten times a day. I started out by simply not commenting (especially on Facebook) unless the news was truly monumental or life changing… a pregnancy, a new job, a child getting into a preferred university or a major answer to prayer (even if I didn’t know what specifically everyone was praying about).

Callous? Cynical? Pessimistic? Perhaps. But, even those depressed “woe is me” types will occasionally post something of a positive. Usually it is something simple like, “Today was a good day.” You happy-happy-happy-happy-happy (and I know you’re faking it) people ignore that person because, “Of course it’s a good day!” Me? I know that admission from that person is monumental in their lives because I’ve been there. Not once have I seen an I’m-happy-all-the-time-life-is-perfect faker post anything as remotely profound as, “Today was a hard day.” And that is how I know they lie.

Know this … forced perfect people and cravers of all the world's positive attention: That light shining out of your ass isn’t sunshine. Pull the damn flashlight out of your throat before you choke or the batteries die and you plunge into total darkness. That’s right. I’m telling you that you are next in line to come crashing down. It’s always the “Everything is great, be happy for me… be happy for me NOW… BE HAPPY FOR ME ALL THE TIME” types who convert to the “Woe is me… give me your sympathy” types seemingly overnight. Seriously, If you aren't sending in postcards to PostSecret as a method of dealing with what does go wrong in your life... well, you can't hold it in forever. Tell me you spilled your coffee on your perfect white carpet. Tell me you yelled at your kids today. Hell, simply tell me you are in a bad mood. Give me something negative on your status update. Something! Anything! Free yourself.

As for the rest of you people (the majority) who have great days and wretched days and mediocre days… those real enough to tell me you won the lottery on Friday (WOO! That’s awesome!) but got shit on by an eagle on Saturday (Bummer!)… I quite adore all of you.

Rant over. Let the hate mail begin. As the often politically incorrect Craig Ferguson would say,

“I look forward to your letters.”



Photo credit: markus.pacher via Flickr.

11 comments:

  1. Basically I try not to tell anyone anything of importance, good or bad - they either resent you for it or use the information against you. Saves you so much grief. If I'm happy, I can enjoy it without anyone adding commentary.

    I have yet to meet the person who can say they're truly happy for you without that look of resentment anyway - ruins it for me.

    As sort of a side note to your rant, can I just add that when someone tells me over and over, just how "in love" they are with someone - it makes my ass twitch and I know it's all bullshit. They're a heartbeat away from an affair - it's a full proof sign.

    Lis (your friend in rant)

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  2. Oh... I KNOW! I always wonder who they are trying to convince.

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  3. So, I hide just about everyone but close friends and family. In fact I ignore most friend requests for this very reason. I also try very hard not to say anything personal in my status updates unless it is very generic or I have in fact won the lottery or something like it. I do all this for the very reasons you listed. I really hate when all someone can post is how horrible their life is or even those that post every single little thing that has happened to them since they woke up. I mean really, I don't need to know that you finished the laundry and are now going to pee. LOL, It has gotten a bit out of hand. I do however like how useful it is to stay in touch with those I do care about. It makes me miss them less. BTW, is Big K going to ever get an account now that he is over 13

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  4. As usual, a good and entertaining post! I have recently freed myself of about 100 "friends" on facebook - people I only barely knew, or feeled compelled to friend because they were prospective students or HSU Ambassadors or Justen's students, etc. - and a few people that I just plain out don't like. It was a really freeing experience!

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  5. Testify!!

    And this is why I adore you. You and your status updates.

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  6. I'm right there with you. Those people can suck it. And they probably are, they're just not telling us about it.

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  7. Friedrich Nietzsche once said something to the effect that (and I paraphrase here considerably) "The main goal of any organic being isn't the fight for survival, as most would assume, but rather, the expenditure of energy."

    Although I don't agree with everything Nietzsche said, I tend to agree with that one. And I also believe a drive to self-expression is one form of such an expenditure of energy, at least in the particular case of humans and certain other advanced creatures.

    In past societies, people generally maintained much closer, direct face-to-face contact with their peers and regularly imparted news back and forth, whether their peers were interested or not. It was all apart of the process of community building.

    If some folks weren't interested in what you had to say, others might be. If you described some problem you were having, chances are, some didn't care to hear it, but some one else was willing to help you.

    Nowadays, much of that direct, face-to-face socialization doesn't exist anymore, except perhaps at work, where interactions are more geared toward some particular goal (the work objective), rather than just pure socialization and community building.

    My theory is that modern social media generally emerged to fill that gap; that is, the presence of a diverse, personal community that doesn't seem to exist any longer in the off-line world.

    So of course, you're going to have people exercising their drive to self-expression in a lot of different ways; some balanced, some mostly negative, some mostly or almost exclusively positive. But you'd be getting the same thing at a knitting bee or barn raising or gathering on the town hall green 150 years ago. And you'd be just as annoyed with some, and just as pleased with others.

    I have lots of Twitter and Facebook friends who occupy all ends of that spectrum. Some entertaining, some downright boring and annoying, and everything in between. If I don't like what they have to say, I just pay little mind to it. Maybe their next tweet will be more interesting to me.

    But I don't I'd ever tell folks at either end of the spectrum (totally negative or totally positive and bragging about their good fortune) to suck it. I just let them do their thing, and my attention goes to wherever it feels like at the time.

    Sorry for the open university lecture here, but I think I am in a rather chatty mood today (strong drive for self-expression!) :-)

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  8. Desiluhu & Hamber ~ I don't mind those who share their personal lives in status updates when it is sincere. I do like knowing what is authentically happening in their lives... yours icluded! :)

    Dori ~ As I adore you.

    Finn ~ Miserable souls, they are.

    Ah, John ~ Here is where you and I differ, my friend. I have this brutal honesty side of myself. Yes, those individuals I know in person, who are guilty of this very thing even in our one-on-one relationships, get an earfull from me. I call "Bullshit!" in person too. And, in most cases, we remain friends. Initially people are a little taken back by my honesty and non-belief of their perfect lives but then they seem to feel freed and in return they begin to be honest with me. The faking may continue with others but I get to know who they really are.

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  9. Two points for this blog! It should be required reading for all facebook and myspace users who think family or friends care what kind of coffee you got from Starbuck's this morning and what kind of donut your skinny self got from Krispy Creme.

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  10. Well, I understand what you're saying, but I think I am also being brutally honest in dealing with such people, in the sense that I believe it to be a hollow victory in putting some one in their place just for bragging about some award their kid in school, or how much they're enjoying a new car, etc.

    To me, my own reaction (positive or negative) to such things makes little difference in the larger scheme of things, so (in all honesty!), I just let it go and don't worry about it. I feel I understand why they are saying these things, even though I may not totally appreciate it.

    Weightier topics (like nuclear disarmament, elder care, or civil justice, for example) I am more willing to devote energy to debating and arguing about, etc.
    :-)

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  11. K ~ =)
    John ~ I don't think you do, actually. I've never put someone in their place for spouting genuinely good news. I only bring chronic, false & generally unhealthy behavior to their attention which, I believe, is far from trivial. More often than not, people who seem glowingly happy 24/7 are really hurting and don't feel like they can be themselves to anyone. In my honesty I give them an outlet where they feel free to vent. That's not a waste of my energy.

    I still adore you though.

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"Stranger, if you passing meet me and desire to speak to me, why should you not speak to me? And why should I not speak to you?" ~Walt Whitman

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