Friday, December 13, 2013

My Blog is Better Than Yours

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.

11 comments:

  1. I think that you are taking it a little too personal and over-thinking this. Everyone who says things like, I have the best mom, boyfriend, job, whatever, are simply personalizing it. It usually comes from a place of excitement or joy and in most cases, is not being said or updated on their social media channel to make you or their friends feel like crap because they think that its obvious that you do not have the best mom ever. Saying that, "I have the best mom ever," is an exaggeration. There is no way to really discover who the best mom on this planet is and I am sure that the poster knows this.

    It's just social media and it's just human behavior. I for one enjoy these sorts of posts from my social media friends because I love seeing them happy. Since I am so content in my own life, it does not even phase me. Besides, I know that my mom is still better than theirs (kidding).

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  2. Wait, why are you anonymous?

    And, I disagree. They're not "personalizing it." They're expressly stating that their X is better than mine. And I would be a jerk if I commented disagreeing.

    I'm not sure you read my whole post, as I express the same idea that it's coming from joy/excitement. But, it's still not okay.

    Yes, it's social media. But it speaks to a much wider trend where we speak without thinking. Words mean something, after all, whether they're on social media or not. Words are not arbitrary, and not thinking about how your words may impact someone else is not okay simply because it's "just social media."

    Social media isn't an excuse for rude, thoughtless, and careless behavior.

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  3. I alway post as anonymous on blogs. It is easier that way and then I don't have to set up an account and such. Plus it's so much more mysterious.
    You are taking it that way. I don’t think that someone is saying, as they exclaim their excitement for whatever reason, that their mom is way better than yours. I do not think that it’s a competition; it’s just their burst of emotion for whatever it is that sparked it. I would also not say that you were a jerk if you commented or disagreed, but it would look like you take life way too seriously. I always want to post on people’s stupid updates, especially the super passive aggressive or self –loathing ones. I just want to tell them to off themselves already and save us the annoying posts on our news feed. (See, but now I am the jerk.)
    Social media is filled with people’s inside thoughts turned to Facebook status clutter, but it I hardly believe that someone saying that their mom is the best mom in the whole world is something to seriously worry about, unless they are image crafting and those types are a whole other enchilada!
    If I say that my boyfriend is the best boyfriend in the whole world, it is not going to bother anyone who is content with their life and if their life is super crappy… well then that is their problem and it sounds like they should lay off social media until the find some sort of happy.


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    1. Again, I kind of think you didn't read my whole post. I said the best thing can be excused, possibly, but the better than is my real problem.

      I was raised to think before I speak, and to be polite, and realize how my words can and do affect people.

      So, it is a problem for me, because it bespeaks a larger problem where people speak carelessly with disregard for other people's feelings. I'm not okay with that.

      Finally, I don't think anyone should ever "off" him or herself-- I think that people should get help. Because living with depression is not fun.

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  4. Ok, I understand where you are coming from. I still take it though as a cheeky gesture more than something meant to hurt another. Also, I do not take things very seriously at all, so this may be why those sorts of comments roll off my back.

    I was kidding mostly about the "offing" comment, however, losing 2 people close to me to suicide and knowing the help they searched for only to have it fail over and over, I understand now that it's a very personal choice and maybe it was for the best. It's only the living that suffer the after-math.
    Here was a letter that made me change my mind about suicide.
    http://gizmodo.com/5726667/the-agonizing-last-words-of-bill-zeller

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    1. I'm not familiar with Bill Zeller, but I do notice at the beginning that he says he never told anyone what happened to him. Maybe things could have been different for him if he had talked to someone about his pain (a therapist, a friend, someone).

      But, that's really neither here nor there.

      I don't like it when people speak before thinking, and don't take into account how their words impact someone else-- people who say "my dog is better than yours" on Facebook are joking on the square; they're saying something they actually believe (of course they do, we all do) and putting a 'funny' mask on it. But, it's not funny. It's careless and pretty rude.

      I was raised to think about others and how they feel, and I really don't think me walking around saying that everything I have (things, pets, people) is going to make other people feel awesome. Maybe it'll have no negative impact on them whatsoever (as in your case), maybe it will make them angry (as in my case), maybe it will make them sad, or upset, or any number of things really.

      Maybe I'm just too considerate, I don't know. But this trend annoys the ever living hell out of me.

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  5. You have the BEST blog!

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  6. Those who know do not say... Those who say… are probably posting shit on Facebook and keeping up with the Kardashians.

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