Life Lessons Thursday – May 5, 2011

It’s a bit early for Life Lessons Thursday, but since I have a lesson worth sharing tonight, I might as well write it down before I completely forget my epiphany.

Tonight’s lesson: Those who are most insecure and threatened find it ABSOLUTELY NECESSARY to make mention of every little thing they’ve done, are doing and are about to do.

Have you ever come across pompous people?
If I were Dora and I doing my TV show right now, that space after the question mark is supposed to be a *pause* where the viewers are to answer with a yes or a no.

I guess coming across pompous and obnoxious people is a common experience for most of us. It would be easy to say “Just ignore” but when you’re in a situation where you’re stuck with a person who practically makes himself/herself the topic of conversation, you know you can’t simply ignore specially if you have two fully-functioning ears, no gadget to entertain yourself or a book to read,

This brings to mind an encounter I’ve had around 2 years ago. I was invited to a media dinner and since I was the only one from Mellow, I was seated with announcers from other stations. Dinner began with all the pleasantries of introductions, but you know when you’re in a social event and you have to break the ice and keep the conversation going? That’s a practical situation where you can exercise your conversation skills and practice social graces.

So the food arrived and one of the people on the table started establishing rapport. I give her an A for an excellent job. She involved everyone on the table and tried to get us to speak up. A few minutes later, when a female guest was given the chance to talk, oh dear me, hindi na tumigil si ate.
“Oh my gosh, you know my boyfriend right?! Ahahaha! Yeah, here’s a picture of us! Ang cute namin no? In a bar, everyone was looking at us and I felt all the girls were jealous kasi he’s so hot and kasama ko siya”

I thought it would end with the boyfriend story but no. Miss Spotlight’s-on-Me indulged us with stories about her going to the gym, her routine, her radio show, what her boyfriend’s friends say about her and the comments she gets from people. It was a grueling two hours of pure “me-talk” and I could tell that it made some of the people on our table want to up and leave. Thankfully, I was off to another event that evening, so I said goodbye and spared myself of the rest of her obnoxious story.

What am I saying here? A person who knows and is secure about who he is, does not need to play up his achievements and tell people about it. He doesn’t have to tell everyone what people think about him.
“Oh you know what my fans say? I’m witty!”
“Oh you know what they said about me? They feel daw that I’m gonna get married na this year!”
Ugh. Please.

I find it interesting when people spend 5-10 minutes talking about themselves when they are only asked to give a BRIEF introduction. You’ve probably encountered The Resume-Reciting Dude (TRRD for short). In a social event, TRRD will meet new faces and the inevitable “So what do you do?” will be asked.
1. TRRD starts off with his name
2. Gives you a lecture of where he attended school
3. What his job is
4. What he does during his free time
5. What degrees he has (and honors, if any)
6. His position in school organizations
7. His extra-curricular activies
8. His sports
9. His pets
and a whole bunch of other things which won’t leave you room to determine if it is fact or fiction.

Bottom line is, people like TRRD feel the absolute need to give everyone a lecture about who they are and what they do because they feel threatened. It’s like their self-worth is at stake, so in order to feel important, they tell everyone what they do, forgetting proper etiquette in social situations.

Now, etiquette isn’t something that is reserved for the government officials and the ruling elite. Etiquette is simply a set of practices that connote courtesy and respect for other people. Turning a conversation towards yourself communicates selfishness and makes others in the circle feel indifferent. Hindi lumilibot ang buong mundo sa isang tao.

So what do you do when you encounter self-centered, egotistic people?
1. Smile and pretend to listen. Huwag na huwag sasabayan sa payabangan ang mga taong ganito. Smile, be quiet and let them be loud and talk. Later on, when no one else is reacting to his stories, the individual will realize what a fool he is making of himself because what he’s saying doesn’t get a reaction (or doesn’t matter at all).
2. Excuse yourself politely. When you feel like you’re about to burst and give the person a piece of your mind, hold yourself back and excuse yourself politely. In that way, you spare yourself from the torture and negative vibes.
3. Stare at them point-blank or give them a look that says “boring”. If they’re quick, they’d get the gesture and stop talking. If they don’t, go back to option number 2.

Any fool knows that bravado is always a cover-up for insecurity. That’s the truth. And on that note, I’ll say goodnight. God loves you. -Bobby Darin


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