We live in a society today; let me rephrase, I believe we live in a society today that caters more to one’s self than to society as a whole. It used to be when I was a youngster if we heard a neighbor needed help we ran over and helped, it didn’t matter what was required; we helped. We didn’t stop and calculate what the benefits or downsides to us would be; we simply rolled up our sleeves and pitched in. In many cases we where “volunteered” by our parents, after the standard grumblings we got down to business, and did what was required.
The “me syndrome”, that’s what I call it these days. Nothing it seems ever gets done unless intense calculations are preformed to weigh the benefits to one’s self. If I do this favor for a friend, how will I benefit, will I be expected to help again? Self absorbed, self centered, Narcissist? I suppose the mental health professionals have a word or two for it. I have the words for it; It is the “me syndrome”. Now you must understand I do not believe that most have this syndrome, I do know this, I seem to encounter more than my share. I do think I am caught up in the reverse of the old saying “birds of a feather flock together”. I think people that are not as severely afflicted with the syndrome probably recognize the “me syndrome” faster than the ones that live it. The ones that live it, they see nothing odd about someone with a severe infliction, because they too have it.
We all know someone like this; they show up late for every function, including work. They blame everyone else; the guy ahead of me was driving so slowly, and so on. This type of person simply refuses to accept blame, and in turn refuses responsibility for any failure. They feel no guilt at failure because in their mind it was someone else who failed them. I went yesterday and put gas in the car, the pump wasn’t working right, so I had to go inside instead of the usual; swipe the card and pump. The clerk was on the phone; of course it never occurred to them to hang up. The entire transaction occurred while they were on the phone; the person on the other end got the blow by blow account of what was happening, and probably heard a few sighs about how some customer had the nerve to show up, and intrude upon their personal call. Growing up my family had a produce stand every year. We all were expected to make change and bag the tomatoes, melons and such. We were taught; when you see a customer you look sharp, and act like you care, make the customer believe they are your one and only concern. Where in the world has that attitude gone?
I do not blame anyone; I do not blame TV, or video games or any host of self indulging activities. We all had things then, and have them still today. I do know this; the type of people that are so into themselves they can’t see anyone else, demand perfection from the rest of us. They are the ones that send their meal back 2 or 3 times, or demand to speak to a manager because the clerk failed to smile; that’s right you know the type now. How to deal with them? My personal favorite solution is avoidance. I am good at spotting them now; I can spot one from across the room. They are usually preening in front of the mirrors; telling themselves how much they love themselves. They normally are well dressed; over dressed in most cases. They always are more impressed with themselves than anyone else is, so they always clamor on about how great they are at their jobs, in their mind this should always be self evident to anyone talking to them. The ones that brag a lot are doing this more to convince themselves they are good, than trying to convince anyone else; they love the sound of their own voice. Talkers never learn; you simply cannot learn when your jaws are moving. “All about me” people tend to talk a lot, and the talk is always about them. They are the ones that when asked how are you doing, proceed to tell you exactly how they are doing, using hand gestures and sighs. Normal situations like this simply get a: “I am doing great” whether you are or not; politeness dictates such.
I handle these types by agreeing with everything they say; sometimes my radar is in the shop, and I have failed to spot one before I was cornered. They always tell me how they got shafted on a job promotion because so and so was better at smooching the hind sides, but they would never stoop to that. Of course they didn’t get the promotion because their team mate on a project had it in for them. Some arcane problem about showing up for work on time, geez they would say; “who in the world shows up early anyways”? I nod my head, grunt in all the right places, show concern for that lack of a promotion. I nod a lot when talking to these types; it helps to keep me awake. So and so doesn’t like me because I am better is always one or two sentences into any conversation. They will always answer themselves with; of course no one hates me really; just what I had wanted to say also. With these types you have to be careful; they can and will cover both sides of the conversation, so be careful when you cut in, be sure and know where in the conversation a yes, or no, or a grunt is applicable. I have answered yes when a no was called for; be careful, it was not a pretty sight.
It doesn’t matter what you are wearing so dressing up to meet one on purpose is easy. They would never recognize anything you are wearing anyways, they simply do not care. They won’t notice, the only time they may actually see you is if you happen to be behind them when they are in front of a mirror. Don’t bother to complain to them, they can’t imagine your complaints even come close to theirs. Never dare suggests they did anything wrong, they will go into such a weeping jag that medical help may be required. Always say how nice they look, they will of course explain where they got such clothes, and of course they look good. They then will look at you as if you’re daffy; as if to say; how you could ever suggest otherwise is a mystery to them. To them everything about them should be self evident, so compliments while they crave them will always be met with the words; well of course I am; well dressed, smarter than everyone else, better looking, and do my jobs better, and so on.
Well anyways that is my take for the day; gather what info you can to defend yourself. If avoidance is impossible, employ some of the tactics I have outlined. Good luck.