Following on from Stories Of I, there has been another trend that has come to my attention as I continue my experiment on not starting a sentence with “I” – Social Competition. You can see if for yourself – open Facebook and look at a few statuses and comments. Right away a good few comments start with “I” and have only a minor relation to the status at hand. Its like jumping into a conversation to talk about how fantastic you are.
As an example, recently a friend’s status was high jacked by a long winded story about almost nothing to do with the status, and became a paragraph very much of the “look at me” variety. But this isn’t just online, this has infected our daily life. People can spend an entire evening talking about themselves, and only themselves. Being proud of small facts that really shouldn’t be spoken about in public. Or even talking about themselves so much that they end up having to prove how much better they are than even their significant other. This does not endure you to people. Or to me at least. It seems to be working just fine on this generation in which social media is all about them.
“Look at me. My life is perfect. Here is a paragraph about me. I see you making a post that isn’t about me – lets change that.”
People have forgotten that its ok to not talk about themselves. Due to this, its also stopped many people from allowing themselves to be mentored. When was the last time you asked for advice? When was the last time you tried to emulate a successful person? I am guilty of this – I see a successful person and wish to be them instead of following in their footsteps, doing the work and actually taking action. This is something I am hoping to change, and part of the reason I am doing this blog-a-day challenge. People don’t ask for advice on anything these days. If there is a question, its easier to go to the internet than your friends. You see a successful couple, but never ask them what lead to such a strong pairing. Even the smallest act of asking a friend to be an ear has disappeared, as we would rather put our dirty laundry all over Facebook.
When you ask someone a question on something, how many times have you used that question to talk about yourself? As you can tell, dear reader, this is something that is really ruffling me at the moment. It was explained to me that apparently this is just the way one makes conversation these days. To that, I say no! No its not. I will be different. And if I end up knowing your life story and you end up knowing next to nothing about me, well that is on you. I can quite happily sit around and not say a word as you monologue on.
I think it needs to be taught that it is OK to not have an opinion on everything. Its OK to not talk about yourself. Its OK to say you don’t know. Its OK to not be the best at everything. And its OK to ask questions. After all, how do you grow as a person if you never ask? How do you know that someone is cool if you don’t know about them? Most people see someone they think is cool, and the immediate reaction is to be better then them. People are really insecure. That’s the root of it.
I don’t know how cars work. To me, petrol fuels a tiny unicorn that jogs on a treadmill causing the wheels to turn. Yet having admitted that to a lot of people, most people laugh and tell you a story about themselves. I tell this to mechanics and they light up with the idea that they can share their knowledge with another person. And that makes me opening up about something so trivial spiral into a great conversation. People want to share their knowledge – its in our genes, its what allowed civilization to expand. Talking about yourself endlessly stops every single meaningful interaction you could have had.
Its time to start calling people out on it. Three sentences that begin with I and have nothing to do with the topic at hand except try and impress me – I’m calling it out.
Be vulnerable in your conversations, people. Share stuff. Listen. Get “real” with your friends. Weave me a song about your life and experiences instead of point blank statements. Ask questions that inspire a meaningful discussion. Its not that hard. Life is a rich tapestry of so many different people, and you’re walking all over it.
And for what? To “win” a conversation?

Categories: Blog