The Internet is great in many ways. For example, it allows you to read this blog, and that is obviously excellent. However, it also sucks in a lot of ways, too. For example, it allows people to think every tiny event in their life is earth-shattering. Or maybe they don’t think that, but it allows people to write about common events in their life as though they are earth-shattering, and that might be more annoying. I can’t decide what makes me more angry: a person who thinks that everything that happens to them is epic, or a person who wants everyone else to think everything in his or her life is epic.
Breaking news: Your life isn’t that exciting. Yes, this applies to everyone. Sometimes exciting things happen in an average person’s life, like signing a record deal or winning the lottery or graduating college. These are events that are exciting for you, and are probably even life-changing and thus world-shattering. For you. But the rest of the world doesn’t care, even when the events are legitimately momentous to you.
So it’s even worse when people insist on sharing all the mundane happenings in their life as if they’re the first person these things have ever happened to. OMG, you had oatmeal this morning?! INCREDIBLE! HOLY CRAP, IT’S RAINING WHERE YOU ARE RIGHT NOW? Unbelievable! Your pet just did something adorable?! HOW INTERESTING!
People seem to think this is an effect of the Internet and things like Twitter and Facebook. Hate to break it to those people, but it’s not. People have always been like this. Those websites just make it more fucking annoying. BUT you have the ability to unfollow or hide people who are like this, thank goodness. So I actually find it way more annoying in face-to-face interactions. Clearly if you’re talking to a friend, you guys will talk about things going on in your lives, and you will each care about what the other says. But there’s a difference between talking about the mundane things in a normal way and putting extra importance on them. Because when people try to emphasize these things like they’re earth-shattering, it starts to sound like they’re trying to compete with other people, like their life is so much more exciting or important because of all these things that are happening. When really, they are the same things that are happening to other people around the world all the time. In the end, these people sound like tools. Next time someone does this to you, feel free to punch them in the face. You have The Anger Ball Seal of Approval for this action.
A corollary of this is people who try to act like these everyday events are not only momentous but also more impactful for them, or that they understand these things on a deeper level than us plebeians. Like the person you know who sees a movie that most people agree is awesome and thought-provoking (Inception, for example) and has to say that it meant more to them for whatever dumbass bullshit reason they come up with. Uh…right. Fuck off, okay? Breaking news: You liked a fucking movie that a million other people also liked. Get over yourself.
I call this Special Snowflake Syndrome, and many other things I’ve ranted about on this blog fall into this category. I understand the urge to distinguish yourself from the 6 billion other people on the planet, but it just enrages me after a while. If you have to constantly remind other people about how special you think you are, odds are you aren’t all that special. Just like how people who are inherently talented in some way don’t have to constantly remind others of this talent, so it should hold that people who are truly special in some way (which sometimes has to do with talent) probably don’t have to constantly talk about it. And by constantly talking about it, you actually draw more attention to the fact that you aren’t special. So shut your damn mouth.
I’m not saying that things can’t have a deeper meaning for some people based on past life experiences. But people who are usually genuinely deeply affected by a book, song, movie, etc., again don’t generally have the need to rub it in other people’s faces, and that’s why it’s easy to spot a bullshitter from miles away. Someone suffering from Special Snowflake Syndrome is going to try and lord that supposed deeper understanding over you so they feel superior and, thus, special. Someone who is genuine might mention how it meant more to them, maybe “I was really moved by that book, I think partly because of the relationship I have with my mom,” but they aren’t going to try and belittle your experience of the same book or repeat the fact that it was so much more meaningful to them.
Usually I just walk away from people experiencing Special Snowflake Syndrome so I don’t accidentally murder them in a rage-induced blackout, but I think instead I’ll start trying to out-special them by getting progressively more ridiculous. “I feel like they wrote that song just for me because I had a really bad break-up with my boyfriend once!” Oh, really? How interesting and unique! Try this rebuttal: “I know they wrote that song for me because if you play it backward it is word-for-word a journal entry I made in 1998!” Oops, suddenly I’m more special than you! And if they try to say it’s too ridiculous to be true, you can point out that their reason is too mundane to be relevant. Oh, I’m sorry, did I just shatter your self-importance, Special Snowflake?
All in a day’s work.