"You're so vain, you probably think this entry is about you." Its the LJ Idol topic for this week ... and a phrase I can't stand.
It grates upon my eyes. Every subject line containing it this week makes me cringe.
At first I didn't know why. After some contemplation, however, I think I've figured it out.
"You're so vain, you probably think this entry is about you" is inherently a vain and hypocritical statement. The statement carries the assumption that whomever the writer has in mind, the writer thinks that person is going to read their entry, and is assuming they care about the entry. As such, there's a major irony in ever using that statement in a serious manner.
But on to the subject of vanity, presumption, and judgement. Its clearly time to make wild statements which might just be about YOU and I've got exactly seven hours to write an entry, get some sleep, and get to work.
I have a friend who frequently asks me my opinion of her. I usually respond by seemingly going on a tangent about a behaviour or attitute which I am by no means saying she exhibits (hey I'm just going off on a tangent), with the hope she will think critically about how it might apply to her while she's in an ostensibly introspective mood. I'm sure she doesn't. But I'm not going to give her the bad news she doesn't really want to hear directly.
Its not that I'm being avoidant. Its that it would be counterproductive. Everyone gets defensive when they hear something about themselves they don't want to hear. They discredit the source and dig in on their pre-existing opinion of themselves. It doesn't help people to make them dig in, so I try to sow seeds.
I judge people. Every word out of your mouth, every action you make. I'm analyzing your psychological state, your motives, your ethics. Everyone makes judgements. Tell me you don't and I'll quietly file you away in my head as lacking self awareness / unhealthy lack of critical analysis of own behaviour.
But what I don't do is act on my judgements. I'll still talk to you in a friendly manner until the cows come home. I'll meet you for drinks. I may think you're immature and selfish, but I'll still give you a ride to somewhere an hour away depending only on if I can spare the time. Sure I may decide not to trust you, not to emotionally invest in you, not to expect much from you, but thats entirely my perogative.
A Certain Idolist* mentioned in their post that if you read someone's entry and think it might be about you, it might as well be. I agree with that and would like to take it a step further: you should be actively trying to identify if things people are complaining about could apply to you. The fact is that YOU yourself are the single most biased person when it comes to making judgements about yourself. People say you're fickle but you laugh them off because you know you're not? If I were you I'd assume they know better than you about you and look into working on that.
I don't think I'm above this either. I think I'm far from perfect and am constantly questioning my own practices and motives. I judge and am judged. I don't need to be perfect to think that everyone can be better.
And now, That thing everyone else is doing for this topic because its the obvious thing to do: some specific thoughts on specific people. Things which if I just told them directly they'd get defensive about and decide I was a jerk. Hopefully in this form you'll find it easier not to be blinded by defensiveness. I encourage you to TRY to see if it could apply to you:
1. I think you're a lot less mature than you think you are, but also less naive than you pretend to be in the interest of avoiding dealing with things.
2. Maybe they didn't get your writing not because they didn't understand the "advanced literary device" you used but because you didn't use it properly. That you condescendingly jumped to the former conclusion is a classic example of what I wrote about above, and why you're not a better writer.
3. I know you're pretentious about your writing because you're actually really insecure, thats pretty clear, and with that in mind I try very hard to cut you some slack.
4. People are going to think you're a judgmental asshole for your entry this week.
5. You're so vain, you probably think the entry is not about you.
EDIT: Adding more positive ones!!
6. You are an awesome and hilarious blogger, but myself and others have noticed you often drop email conversations or are avoidant if asked if you have AIM, whats up with that?
7. I met you in LJ Idol and you're one of my favourite people. Just hope you straighten out your social life a bit, you don't deserve that crap!
8. We're in a passionate open poly
*Who I'd totally name except in the spirit of this subject it seemed appropriate to leave it unclear who