What is with this [seemingly] new trend on social media with everyone claiming that they have the BEST of something?
It can be anything--
"I have the BEST iPad case!"
"I have the BEST coffee mug!"
"I have the BEST job!"
"I have the BEST fruit stand by my work!"
But, it's often people--
"I have the BEST friend!"
"I have the BEST dog/cat/rat/turtle!"
"I have the BEST husband!"
"I have the BEST mom!"
"I have the BEST dad!"
And so on, and on, and on, and on. I've been seeing this a LOT lately... and the former stuff (worldly possessions, etc.) just makes me roll my eyes. Although, honestly, I'm pretty sure that you do not have the BEST job because I saw this guy, and he creates ice cream flavors for Ben & Jerry's. Like, that's his job-- so I'm pretty sure HIS is the best, but whatever. You're happy, and you love your job, that's so great!
It's the second category that really, really irks me. Chances are, if your parents were around, weren't abusive, and were generally good to you, and you have a good relationship with them, you think that they're the best parents ever. Same with husbands, wives, friends, pets, etc. We probably all think this (or, at least, we should). I do, too.
But, there's a difference between thinking it, or even telling the people you love that they are the BEST x, y, or z, and using it as a form of leverage or bragging to your friends. From the time I was little, I've told my mom she was the best mommy in the entire world. There was a point in my life where I said it to her every single night before I went to bed. But, I didn't go to school and tell all my friends, "Guys, I have the BEST mom in the whole world!" which is what people are doing on social media these days.
And there's a reason I never did that-- why I haven't done that, not in those words, and it is this: By saying you have best mom in the entire world, you're saying that your mom is better than everyone else's-- better than mine, better than your boyfriend's, better than EVERYONE'S MOTHER. By saying you have the best husband in the world, you're saying he is better than EVERY OTHER HUSBAND in the entire world-- including your own father (who I know, I know, is better than mine, you posted about it last week).
Which brings me to the actual heart of this blog. I suppose the whole 'best' thing can be overlooked-- people are excited about each other, that's fabulous. The following, however, cannot be overlooked. It's the "my ____ is better/hotter/cuter/sweeter/more amazing than yours!" To which I reply a resounding "REALLY?!??!?"
Sometimes, there's a reason the poster needs to tell me that whatever he/she has is better than what I have.
"My mom is better than yours because _______"
"My mom is cooler than yours because _______"
Sometimes, they're just stating it as a fact.
"My dad is better than yours."
"My best friend is better than yours."
"My mom is better than yours."
Yeah, well, my manners are better than yours.
No, but really, WHAT IS THIS? Seriously? This trend really gets to me. Why do we need the people in our lives to be BETTER than the people in everyone else's? Why can't we just be thankful that we have a wonderful brother, sister, mother, father, husband, wife, friend, niece, nephew? Why are we comparing ourselves (in a way that is unkind, by the way) to everyone else like this, and making sure that they know 'Hey, mine is better!'? (Worldly possessions I could take, but people? That's just crossing the proverbial line).
Maybe I'm just overly sensitive-- okay, I know I am, but it upsets me when people do this, and I have some pretty wonderful people in my life. So, I can't even begin to imagine how people who do not have these things might feel when they read this. It basically just rubs everyone else's face in it (particularly those who do not have a wonderful mother, father, etc. present in their lives).
Is this just an American thing? Is it related to the ways in which society tells us time and time again that we must compete with each other for the best job, car, house, spouse, kid, boat, etc.? I'm not sure, because pretty much all of my friends on Facebook are American, and people on Twitter (at least those with whom I associate) don't use Twitter for these sorts of things, so I have no idea if this phenomenon is strictly American, or if other nationalities engage in the age-old "My X is better than yours." And, it doesn't really matter (I know what you're thinking: My country is better than yours!... yeah, yeah, move along...)
Whatever it is, this really upsets me, and on more than one occasion I've had to restrain myself from saying something rude to the poster. It's this inherent sense of defensiveness I feel for those I love-- especially my parents. Now, I've started saying something like "I'm glad you got the best dad for you!" And I am, I'm really glad you have this amazing paternal presence in your life-- that's amazing for you! But, you don't need to go around telling everyone that your paternal presence is better than theirs-- he may be, but that's not really the point. The point is: you're being a jerk. And you should stop.
So, what to say, instead? I've started saying things like "I couldn't ask for a better mom," or "If I could choose, I'd choose her." [when speaking about my amazing mother]. This way, the sentiment gets across: I love my mom, and she's absolutely fabulous, but I also respect that you probably feel the same about your mother.
And if this is a problem, I am glad it is this problem-- I am glad that people are rejoicing about the wonderful things and people they have in their lives. I just wish they would rejoice differently. More respectfully. Because things that are said off-the-cuff can cause pain, or anger, or hurt, or jealousy--and why would you want to use your joys for that?
And, you may be right, person on Facebook who said "My life is better than yours" to all of your 800 friends-- you may be right! Your life may be 1,000 times better than mine, or 10,000 times better than mine! Or, maybe mine is better than yours by that much, or only 5 times-- the point is: we don't know. We cannot sit here and measure this stuff. It's the only stuff in life, it seems, we CAN'T measure. It is literally unquantifiable--so, why try? We can measure salaries, and the equity in a house or a car or a boat, but we can't measure whose life, family, and friendships are better... it's impossible. And, rather than trying, don't you think we should just all be grateful?
I'm grateful for my amazing family, dog, boyfriend, friends--even YOU, o boastful one--and I'm grateful that you're thankful for things in your life, too. But stop trying to rub it in my face, it takes some of the value and beauty away.