As my son enters the middle school phase, I'm often reminded of just how much we are all still stuck there. I try the best I can to equip him to deal with drama queens and attention whores and backstabbers and assholes.
Then I find myself still dealing with them.
Try as you may to outgrow this phase, it seems like it keeps rearing it's ugly head.
Facebook and other social media utilities add a whole new level of complexity to human relationships these days, and the pseudo-anonymous nature of the internet allows people to be less than truthful about just about everything.
How many times, whether online or in real life, have you dealt with someone who just wasn't who they portrayed themselves to be? These are the people who talk a good game, who put on an act for the rest of the world. Who care endlessly about what people think of them, but lack the integrity to ever live up to the image they create.
They are your best friend in the world until you need them. They are so interested in whatever is going on in your life until something minute happens in theirs. They make promises they never keep, they offer to help just to make it look good but have no intentions of actually helping. They don't follow through on anything.
But they post about it all the time on Facebook.
My personal favorites are the ones that act like they are good people, who post about all the wonderful things they do for others, about how they are morally upstanding and ever conscious of the world around them. Except anyone who knows them in real life knows otherwise. They skate, they slide, they work the system.
Then, the worst kind of fakers. The ones who outright lie and manipulate people. Who portray themselves as friends when they are anything but. Who use and abuse the loyalties they build to hurt others. Who only ever look out for number one. Humans are so very selfish at their core, and the level of justification that people can conjure up for the things they do never ceases to amaze me.
We've all got haters. I've got quite a few. Those of us, like me, who put ourselves out there publicly tend to have more. It's part of the risk of having opinions and sharing them.
It's one thing to deal with those who will directly take you on. Who will challenge your beliefs, who will test your theories, who will question your judgment. I can handle that any day.
It's another thing entirely to deal with those who do it behind your back. Who use passive aggression to counter-act whatever it is you do. Who proclaim that they'd never do this or that aloud just to get a reaction. The people who use their online presence to underhandedly hurt others.
Then there is the level of this that comes with success. There are people in this world who truly have nothing better to do than to pick fights. Affectionately referred to as trolls online, they seem to derive some kind of sick pleasure from starting arguments. A few of the other page admins on Facebook have funnier names for them, my personal favorite being the douche-canoe.
The Chronically Perfect
There is a saying that goes a little something like this.
I know quite a few of these people. The ones that are constantly posting about how long they worked out, or how amazing their vacations are, or how much in love they are with their spouse.
Their children are athletically gifted future Olympians. Their kids are complete geniuses, and humanitarians to boot.
They have immaculately clean homes, balanced home-cooked meals, organic everything.
They have completely fulfilled lives, and like to try and rub it in everyone's faces all the time.
Except that we all know that no one is perfect, kids make messes, and sometimes perfectly good mothers feed their children cereal for dinner. Toilets get clogged, people get laid off and fired from dream jobs and some kids completely suck at sports. Not everyone is a genius, no marriage is as perfect as it seems.
I prefer not to try and kid myself or anyone else. It amuses me to no end all the people who feel compelled to share their constant awesomeness with the world. Are they trying to convince the rest of us, or are they really just trying to convince themselves?
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