Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Type Pain in the A Personality

We've all known at least one: the co-worker who talks nonstop about himself and his abilities, which are always superior to anyone else's...the relative who ruins the family reunion with tales of all of his adventures (most of which never happened)...the total stranger on that long, long flight (or at least it seemed that way) who wouldn't shut up, oblivious to the fact that you couldn't care less about his streaming BS.

They're the ones who make you want to throttle them. They're the spoilers who ruin every event they attend. They're the guys who can clear the water cooler area with amazing speed.

In the movie Big Fish, the relationship between Edward Bloom and his son is severely damaged by his endless stories of his larger-than-life exploits. Only when Edward is near death do the two reconcile. A cautionary tale?

I went to high school with a girl who talked incessantly about herself. No matter what you did, she'd done it better. She had no interest in anyone else other than as an audience. If you did manage to get off the topic of her, she would immediately turn it back. I saw her again after several years and was anxious to let her know that I was now a published author, a goal we'd both aspired to. She refused to even acknowledge it.

William and I met a woman online who, no matter what either of us mentioned doing, would respond with, "Oh, me too! I've done (had/experienced) that!" I distanced myself from her when every conversation started to feel like a competition. 

This woman was so self-absorbed that when she read an erotica piece I wrote for William, she immediately concluded that he was the male protagonist and the female character was her. She said she had even told friends I was playing matchmaker between them. (I revised the piece and made the woman a blonde and the gem in her engagement ring a sapphire instead of a ruby, which was brunette A's birthstone. Why she'd think I would make her the heroine in any story remains a mystery to me.)

And then there's the worst and most recent offender--a jerk in the Writers Digest online community. He became such an annoyance that several people threatened to leave the site. He's not a lawyer, but gave legal advice. He's never been published, nor does he work in the publishing industry, yet he's always professing expertise in long, rambling posts that are usually insulting to other posters. Complaints have been made against him to site administrators.

For some of us, he's become the favorite butt of our jokes. If I were a betting person--and I am--I'd bet this guy will never sell his work, in spite of his nonstop attempts to dazzle everyone with his "brilliance."

He's just too boring.


  1. LOL! Yeah, I try to avoid WD at all costs now, so I'm glad I can keep up with all of you guys elsewhere!

  2. Fun post, Norma. This calls to mind a few folks I am always happy not to bump into!

  3. Very funny! It's amazing how those folks don't realize what a turn off their boasting is to everyone else!

  4. ROFL! Oh, if only he'd see this.... but of course he'd never recognize himself. He'd start off on a long winded analogy of his ongoing definitive thesis into self absorbed people who don't know how to shut up....

    Great post!

  5. I can be pretty self-absorbed, but I hope I'm not in the same league as the people you've mentioned. I wouldn't want to one-up them on this particular issue.

  6. Karla, you are NOTHING like these people!

  7. Ha! Great post, Norma!

    I loved Big Fish, BTW.

  8. Excellent!

    @Karla I can completely understand the fear that you might be one of "those" people. I know I can walk the fine line between self confidence and arrogance. But I think the big difference is the ability to recognize the issue and know how it impacts others. The worst don't have a clue and if they did, really don't care.

  9. I hate it when I'm trying to read, and I get interrupted by someone wanting to make small talk. I'm TRYING to read!!!

    Oh, and there are several people on WD that are a bit on the obnoxious side. I'm not sure who you're thinking of (but, I have several guesses...and I'm fairly certain that one of them would be right) but I can think of many who need a reality check.

    Great blog, Norma!!

  10. Ha, yes, yes and yes! Too bad those people can't be put in a corner for some alone time. Of course all they'd do is think about all the things they'll say the minute they're released back into the circle.

  11. Yes, Beth, I'm pretty sure you know who I'm talking about.

  12. @Norma-a co-worker and I were talking about this very subject just today (before I read the blog) and most definitely, we have some arrogant people over there...but, we have it everywhere...I don't think it's avoidable...

    I like the Airplane pics...

  13. I have noticed a lot of know-it-alls with nothing-to-back-it on WD. Too bad you can't block people like on Facebook.

  14. Gee, Norma, I didn't know you were a match-maker.
    I dread when I meet people like these. Life is too short to have to listen.


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