This week, a really talented high school acquaintance of mine won a reality TV series. She deserved it and my whole hometown is crazy proud. The downside, however, is the namedropping explosion on my Facebook newsfeed about how everyone who only spoke two sentences to her in their life is now her best friend, has been on the edge of their seat weeping with glee because they are so invested in her success, and always knew she’d be a star from the moment they met her at age five. Cool story, guys.
Name-dropping on social media is something we’re all guilty of to some extent. I’ll be the first to admit I’ve done it. I mean, Facebook practically invented the modern-day humblebrag, didn’t it? Most of us can’t help ourselves on some level. It’s in our nature. But some people just know no boundaries when it comes to how far they will go to seem like the Most Important Person You Know.
There is a time and place for name-dropping and humblebragging (Thanksgiving dinner with your parents’ judgmental friends, maybe?), and Facebook is not it. But of course, it’s the go-to place for social climbers and attention seekers alike to share their competitive streaks with the world. Behold, 10 types of Facebook statuses used by name-droppers. If you recognize yourself in these, it’s time to reassess your social media behavior.
1. “What upsets me most is when people only try to be friends with me because of what I do. Yes, I’m on TV sometimes but I just want people to like me for me.” Maybe if you don’t preface every conversation or post immediately with “what you do” before you even state your name, that wouldn’t be a problem.
2. “It’s so weird the way people react to my ‘famous’ friends and stare at them and stuff when we go out in LA. We’re just trying to hang out! LOL.”Ah yes, just you and your “celebrity” friends, who you must hang out with because they are really interesting people with varying qualities, even though the one and only defining trait you used to describe them is that they are “famous.”
3. “Ughh SO stressed about next week! Under a lot of pressure.” This one tries to be subtle and innocent, but is just as transparent as the others. This post plants curiosity about the alleged “stressful event,” so that others will ask and the poster can have an excuse to explain what amazing future activity is making them so anxious — only without presenting it upfront. The response to the concerned questions will go a little something like, “Next week I have to open for Maroon 5′s concert, and it’s like the worst because I so don’t feel prepared for this! But they asked me to do it, it’s not like I could say no! I have to practice twice as hard all weekend.” The poster is obviously just a victim of the stresses of being asked to do too many cool things. Because they are too talented and in demand. It’s terrible. This is no great exciting moment in their lives, it is merely a a stress hurdle to overcome as they dutifully do what they were asked. Come on guys, if you’re trying to brag about something, at least own it!
4. “Just walked past Joseph Gordon-Levitt in the park!” The most basic, straightforward name drop of all. The thing I like about this one is that it’s upfront and honest. It knows what it is, and it doesn’t try to wimp out and hide behind false modesty. It isn’t even self-important — it’s just sheer, excited, shameless bragging. This is basically the real-life equivalent of “one time Regina George met John Stamos on a plane, and he told her she was pretty.”
5. “Ugh Obama’s motorcade shut down the street and made me late for work AGAIN. Got to wave to Sasha and Malia though.” Ah, the “complaint” method of bragging. Life is so hard for me because I come into regular contact with these famous folks! I’m just a simple girl trying to live her life, but my being cool keeps getting in my own way!
6. “Just woke up.” [Insert flawless, beautifully-lit selfie in bed here.] Need I say more?
7. “Figures, of COURSE the day I don’t put on any makeup is the day I have an impromptu meeting with Oprah.” Self-deprecation goes a long way in the humblebrag world. These types of posts aim to both tell everyone about the super cool person you rubbed elbows with today and to make it clear that you are not an elitist just because it just sort of happened. You are just a normal person … who takes meetings with Oprah.
8. “Last night, I met Tim Gunn and we talked about how often we have sex.” This showed up on my newsfeed. Seriously. Mostly I think it’s shameless because I’m just jealous.
9. “Lawyer friends, I need your help. I was recently offered a spot at both Harvard and Princeton’s law schools, and I’m not sure how to go about this. Which one is better in your opinion? How do I prepare for the fall? I’m not really sure how all this works. Thanks guys.” Questions are an easy way to brag about success while pretending to be completely wholesome about it. I recently was given this great opportunity, but now I need YOUR help.! Girl. Please. You need to solicit your 1200 Facebook friends for the opinion of the 4 total lawyers you know? Let’s be real here.
10. “On the “Gossip Girl” set with Blake Lively!” Name-droppers love to be vague about details, because they figure you will assume the best about what they’re doing. The more vague they are, the less exciting the reality of the situation probably is. Oh, you’re on the “Gossip Girl” set? Are you standing across the street behind a barricade as a fan? Are you unloading boxes of OJ at craft services? If the poster was, say, hanging out with the stars of the show in their trailers, let’s be real — they would’ve just said it.
[Image of Facebook via Shutterstock]