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Are You Interesting Enough? Probably Not.

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There’s a new disease in town! Or should it be classified as a condition? What about social syndrome? Disorder? What exactly is the difference between disease, disorder, syndrome and condition? Would sharing my knowledge of what distinguishes one from the other be an interesting discussion? Would you find me fascinating if I knew the differences?  Would you want to get to know me better? What if I told you I dated a WORLD RENOWNED epidemiologist who really did study disease transmission? That would be interesting, right? (But not true.)

The new bug going around has a name: Competitive Interestingness. I’ve been in several conversations with competitive interestingness-ers, but didn’t know there was a name for this social disease.  Then I heard a story on the news identifying it and exclaimed “A-Ha!”  This is something that I must share ( in hopes of being REALLY interesting to you, of course).

Competitive Interestingness can be exhausting, according to the experts and those who have attempted to to win THE MOST INTERESTING PERSON EVER TO HAVE LIVED AWARD. Take what was written in this article by Polly Vernon of The Telegraph in the United Kingdom – where being super-duper-interesting is all in a days work:

“Where we used to flirt or bitch, gossip or tease, shoot the breeze
inconsequentially, compare our house prices or have barbed exchanges about
politics, we now competitively showboat our eccentricities, penchants,
tendencies, proclivities and outlandish pastimes. Our brushes with death and
our borderline obsessive (our words) preoccupation with One
Direction
, our app-development project sideline and our mortal fear

of herbs…

We don’t just do it at parties. We do it at work and at brunch, we do it when
falling into casual conversation with people we barely know (baristas, the
Ocado man) and (beyond everywhere else) we do it online, where Being Really
Really Interesting All The Time has become received form on social
networking sites, on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Interesting is why we give our children preposterous names, why we practise obscure forms of Pilates, why we made sure everyone knew we became obsessed by the BBC Four Scandi crime phenomenon before anyone else. Interesting explains why we download customised ringtones, why we loudly claim to be “truly addicted” to anything from eBay to avocados, why we nurture arbitrary objections to things such as Facebook”

Say what? Social media is an outlet for this disorder? It encourages us to feel the need to say and do terrifically interesting things and share them with everyone? Shocking.

Competitive Interestingness (CI) is not to be confused with One-Uppers. One-Uppers always want to…well, one-up you! They are sicker than you. They took a vacation that was grander than yours. Their job demands more than yours. Their kids are smarter than yours. Those are One-Uppers. The professionals would tell you that this group of people are really just insecure at their roots, so they always are one-upping to help elevate their status. You can read about them more in this fantastic & funny article entitled “Nobody Does It Better: How To Handle a One-Upper.

The Competitive Interestingness-er is less obvious.Unlike the one-uppers who direct their comments at an individual, the CI-ers make more comments directed at anyone who will listen.

For example:

One Upper Langauge:  You think you’re busy? Let me tell you about busy!

Competitive Interestingness Language: WOW! I’ve been crazy busy. This morning started with a breakfast meeting at the new art exhibit, then progressed to lunch with an old friend who just happens to be in town to shoot a movie and then I was called by THE PRESIDENT. Yes. THE President……blah, blah, blah.

And please don’t confused CIs with those afflicted with Stranger on The Train Syndrome or Random Stranger Confidence Syndrome (RSCS),  which is defined in the Urban Dictionary – so it must be real –  “…a condition which causes a person to reveal a highly personal secret or factoid without provocation to another with whom they are not formerly acquainted in order to relieve the guilt complex accompanied with harbouring said secret/factoid. Most often, this takes place during innocuous social interaction, such as a client/clerk rapport, waiting at a transit stop or in line at a government services office.” In other words – a stranger who won’t stop talking. Often about things you could care less about or really shouldn’t be hearing. Similar to Too Much Information or TMI. I’m sure your teenager has told you all about TMI!

And on the Too Much Information clue, I’ll sign off! TMI from me on this blog!

Mind Your Manners,

Kelly

 

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