question: I have a group of cousins and my own siblings on a chat group on my smart phone.
We all exchange messages on it about random stuff, like what we ate, which aunt we met, weekend plans..etc.
I dont particularly “dig” 2 cousins in that group..and this is why:
- They constantly share on the group that my sister is “their favorite” cousin, she’s the funnest, etc. Fine. I get it. Just don’t lose the love of others by having favorites and openly telling everyone about it. Isn’t this very high-school?
- The 2 of them also occasionally bitch about other cousins. Not often, but they say mean enough things about them that it bothers me. How am i to know they dont talk about me behind my back? Am I being silly?
my honest answer: I have two different answers for you.
The Quick Version – this is for you if you just like to Get Stuff Done, and not overthink.
Don’t participate in group discussions on your smart phone anymore. It sounds like it isn’t a great medium for you. You don’t mention any particular dislike for these people in face-to-face interactions, so it sounds as though it may be this method of communication that is particularly problematic.
Sometimes something which, when said in jest with an eye-roll sounds hilarious, when written down comes across as mean and bitchy. You can’t hear the tone, it remains forever in writing, it just seems like some kind of formalised meanness, rather than a witty aside.
Leave the group / delete the ap, tell your friends and cousins that you can’t deal with one more thing flashing on your phone needing your attention right now. Done and Done.
The Long Verison – Over-analyzers rejoice!
I get what you’re saying in your Point Number One- they go on about how your sister is ‘The Bestest!’. You think it’s all a bit high school.
Well, yes does sound a bit high-school. But… more in your reaction to it than anything else.
It’s the fashion these days to use superlatives. Everything has to be ‘super-exciting’, or ‘the bestest ev-ah’. So I think they’re just called her the ‘funnest’ in the sense of ‘so much fun’, rather than as a measure against other members of the group.
So, yes, you are being a little, not silly, but perhaps over-sensitive. I think this may have hit a nerve, and thus it is thrown into sharper focus. But, they are also being a little insensitive. Sibling-rivalry is not exactly a new notion, so to use quantitive terms such as favourite (which raises one person up at the expense of others), rather than ‘great cousin!’ (which says nothing about other people in the group, only the one they are trying to compliment) seems a little… ill-thought out.
My advice would be to try to view it in this light, and forget about it. She probably is a lot of fun. It has no bearing on how much fun you are (or if you even want to be thought of, or actually be, ‘fun’. Just like someone being prettier than you would have nothing to do with your own levels of prettiness).
Point Number Two is a difficult one. You don’t like hearing people talk badly of someone else. Therefore I would say, don’t engage in it, don’t encourage it.
However, it’s really up to them what they say to each other (and in the company of others). It sounds as though it is a closed group of closely related people of a similar age. To me, that sounds like the kind of place where it would be natural to vent frustrations and irksome qualities of other people you all know.
My thinking on this is quite considered, because, well, you’ve seen me write.
The sarcasm on this blog isn’t contained to the digital format. There is a constant critique of everything in the world running in my head on a loop, and I have to be careful at editing it so that not all of the snark rushes out at once.
So, whilst I have considered just shutting the f*ck up and never saying anything snark-worthy, I’ve decided not to. The thoughts are in my head; they are already real. It would feel disengenuous to me participate in conversations about other people with a fake smile and cheerfulness.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I have my standards, and they are strict. There are certain people I would never say anything against, however much I may think it. But there are also plenty of people in my life about whom, I wouldn’t hesitate to make snide remarks. It’s part of my persona (and my actual personality. I observe life, and I critique it. I can’t help it, and although I could stop saying it aloud, I would be depriving the world (and me) of some pretty witty one-liners).
I guess it’s up to everyone to decide their own level of comfort with snark. When people have said to me, ‘Well, there’s no need for that!’, I generally make a note that they are not appreciative of my wit (idiots!), and adopt a more cheesy fake tone with them from then on it. With others who show their appreciation with laughter, I get a little more free and easy.
I guess what I’m saying it, if you don’t engage in it, they may realise that it is not your thing, and tone it down.
These two problems are kind of intertwined though. If you become the person around whom you can’t make snarky comments, it’s nto really going to help your campaign to be a ‘funner’ cousin, is it?
So it comes down to this:
Are you commenting only on their disregard for your feelings? Because you’re right, they should be more sensitive.
Or do you actually want them to think of you as ‘funner’? Because if so, you need to overcome your objection to Number 2, or, in fact, realise that you don’t value their opinion (on their cousins, or on who is ‘funnest’) which will free you of caring what they think of you.
Oh, and, ‘how do you know they don’t talk behind your back’?
What does it matter?
What are everyone else’s thoughts on gossip? Is it something you disagree with morally, and never engage in? I’d love to hear how other people deal with this, since it’s something I’ve struggled with myself.