Social Media: The Attention Whores’ Playground

In the ‘old’ days, it was harder for someone to be an Attention Whore. It mainly involved the person having to call or talk to someone in person for them to annoy someone to death with their insecurities and needy-ness. Technology advanced to bring us cell phones, where one can text another endlessly with their needy-ness. With the internet, technology brought us internet forums and blogs which provided another avenue for Attention Whores to bombard people with their craziness.

As if these weren’t bad enough, social media entered the picture and created a whole new breed of Attention Whores. Thankfully, with Twitter, Facebook, etc., people have to VOLUNTARILY¬† ‘Follow’ or add someone as a ‘Friend’ to expose themselves to this behavior, but why WOULD anyone voluntarily expose themselves to that kind of manipulation? It doesn’t make sense to me.

Most people use social media to vent every once in a while, pass on info, or as a way to stay in contact with their friends on a daily basis. Social media serves as a good avenue to vent when you can’t directly vent to a person. It provides an immediate way for us to let go of a moment of frustration, sadness, or even laughter at something going on in the moment.

Attention Whores take things to a whole new level via social media. There’s a huge difference between venting ‘moments’ and using social media 24/7 to try to manipulate people into feeling sorry for you. I don’t believe half of what I’ve heard and read from Attention Whores. I laughed when someone told me once that someone had tweeted that they were laying on the bathroom floor with a migraine and that they continued to tweet from the bathroom floor for 2 hours. Really?¬† Who DOES that? It’s not really a funny lie…it’s a pathetic lie. If you have a migraine so bad that you’re laying on the bathroom floor, there is no way you would be able to tweet about it. Give me a break. The LAST thing I’m thinking about when I’m sick is Facebook, Twitter, etc. This was clearly an attempt to get someone to feel sorry for the person. If you’re dumb enough to fall for that one, you’re as big of a loser as they are.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ve had moments where I’ve been so frustrated or upset that I’ve tweeted about it. I’ve also gone back and deleted it, too, because at the moment I initiated venting, it was the only way I could get what I was feeling out. My motivation wasn’t to try to get attention, though. The last thing I ever want is fake attention aka pity. That’s just not a good…or real way to live.

Seriously, though, why do people voluntarily listen to someone talk about themselves in a way that is clearly meant to make you feel sorry for them? If that is a person’s only way to get any attention that’s pretty pathetic. Feeding into it and giving them what they want only hurts them because it tells them it’s OK to continue that behavior.

In any case, social media sites have made it way too easy now for people to continue their Attention Whoring. The people who enable aren’t much better. It’s like feeding a monster and Attention Whores are one monster that needs to go away.

Delusions of Friendship

“Friendship isn’t about whom you have known the longest… It’s about who came, and never left your side.”

Time means nothing when it comes to friendship. You can know someone for 20+ years and realize too late that you meant nothing to them.

I’ve never been the kind of person that asks for anything from friends. I just don’t. That being said, when you’re friends with someone you expect that when things are at their worst, they are going to be there for you. That seems a BASIC of friendship to me, not an ‘extra’, especially from ‘friends’ you’ve known half your life.

When my Dad was diagnosed with terminal Esophageal Cancer in January 2008, I called my oldest friend and left a message for him to call me back. I told him my Dad had been diagnosed with cancer and that I really needed to talk to him about it. He never called. I called again a couple of weeks later, left another message, and still no call, from him or his wife. I never heard from him.

My Dad was given 6-8 months life expectancy, but 3 months after diagnosis he was gone. Messages went out from a mutual friend to ALL my friends and, not only did my oldest friend not show up to the visitation or the funeral, but I never heard from him at all. No phone call. No card. No email. Nothing. I had also been close to his brother and his wife, as I watched their children many times and I heard nothing from them either. There were other friends I didn’t hear from as well.

It’s interesting because I had always been there for my friends, especially my oldest friend. When he was diagnosed with cancer, went through chemotherapy, then went into remission, I was there. When his mom, whom I was really close to, died, I was there. When he found love and got married, I was there. It was that way for ALL of the friends who weren’t there for me when I needed them the most. My Dad meant EVERYTHING to me. To lose him was devastating. Realizing that none of my oldest friends loved me (or my Dad) enough to be there for me this ONE time, was heart-breaking.

I saw him 2 months after my Dad passed at a wedding for a mutual friend. I almost didn’t go to the wedding because I knew he’d be there and it was so soon after Dad had died, I didn’t know how I’d deal with seeing him. I didn’t talk to him or even look at him. I couldn’t. He came up to me during the reception and asked how I was, and that’s it. I certainly wasn’t going to tell him how I REALLY was. I wasn’t going to make a scene or fall apart. So, I put on a smile, said “Fine”, and that was that. He didn’t say he was sorry for not calling. He didn’t say he was sorry for not being there for me. He didn’t say sorry for anything. He had the opportunity to potentially save a friendship, but I realized there was no friendship to save and he never really was my friend. It’s still heart-numbing to me how you can know someone so long, believe they’ll be there for you when it really matters, then they’re not and they have no consciousness about the hurt they cause and they don’t care. That’s about as far from friendship as you can get without being an enemy.

In a way, I guess it’s partly my fault. I should’ve seen the signs earlier…and they were there once I started to look back. I was dumb enough to believe that those friends ‘loved’ me because they kept saying it. But, to them, they were just words…meaningless words with no action behind them. Do I regret all those years? No. Even though I really wasted my time on people who were users, it led to a valuable lesson about being careful who you trust your heart to. Friends are always going to let you down, they aren’t perfect. But, when your friends aren’t there when you’re hurting the most…that’s the true test. Unfortunately, a lot of them failed that one, at least with me. I have no doubt that to some of their other friends they are the ‘best’. I just didn’t pass their criteria.

I’m thankful that God brought other friends in my life to help me get through such a hard time. If I hadn’t had them to pick up the pieces where my other ‘friends’ didn’t, I really don’t know where I’d be right now. 20+ years of friendships mean nothing if you can’t deliver. 20+ years doesn’t make you a great friend. Anyone can be around for 20 years. You actually have to have a heart and soul to be a friend. Some people missed that line, I guess.