Thursday, 19 March 2015

(Don't) Cry Me a River

If you have a sob story, I probably don't want to hear it.

Everyone has a sob story, and unfortunately we seem to have entered an era where we feel the need to spew our lives' misfortunes to anyone and everyone we meet. Quite frankly, I hate it. I miss the days when you could work with someone for years and just about recall their first name, let alone details of psycho girlfriends and being kicked out college. As far as I'm concerned, if I'm your colleague, I am merely your colleague. I am not your friend, psychiatrist or agony aunt. Go talk to them about how rubbish your life is, not me.

I can't really point at a date in which this new Let's Get Everybody To Feel Sorry For Me mentality became the norm for society, but I know I blame two things for its existence: the X Factor (where if you didn't have something dark and miserable in your life to whine about you wouldn't be getting anywhere beyond bootcamp) and social media (where you only get likes and comments from people you don't even really know if you post something really depressing or something to do with your achievements...and everyone seems to secretly hate achievement-related posts).

Risking sounding like even more of a heartless butthead than I already do, I only really care about my own sob story and that of my closest friends'. And it's only my few closest friends who actually know my whole deep dark story of doom, and visa versa. Because I trust them and, obviously, they trust me. Hearing sob stories used to be a reward for being a loyal and unprejudiced friend, and it was touching to feel that someone felt comfortable enough to share with you such a personal period in their lives. Nowadays I feel bombarded with everyone's dirty laundry - with regular updates too. Call me heartless, but telling me that you were bullied all through high school, or that your mother kicked you out when you were ten or whatever, is not going to make me like or care about you...although if your mum did kick you out that is pretty damn bad. But sob stories can't get you a free ticket into my friends list or even my people-I-can-tolerate list. That's the sort of thing I used to try when I was fourteen (X Factor inspired me), and I can safely say that offering the information that there was a 27% chance that I had rheumatoid arthritis and would be in a wheelchair in 5 years' time did not earn me any real friends or sympathy. Just because I was going through some little flavour of hell doesn't mean that everyone else could simply forget about their own problems - and their friends' - to give a damn about the issues some weird girl they'd only spoken to once or twice was having. Like life back then couldn't be stressful enough at that age!

I'm sorry, but they just get me down. If you consider how many people you may converse with in a day and then consider each and every one of them telling you something particularly dark or upsetting about their past or present, that's calls for a pretty depressing day! And if you don't really know that person, because they're a work colleague or a friend of a friend or just a regular customer, do you really feel like the right person for this sort of talk? Do you really want to be? There are people who get paid a hell of a lot more than I do to listen to your problems; I can direct you to my first counsellor if you want someone who can give you all the sympathy you want.

I miss the days when our private lives were actually private, and we didn't share them with the world. Surely we can get back to those days again, please?

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