Good news! Science has discovered the reasons why you spent your birthday alone. Unfortunately, it seems you might be a terrible person.
Science is a beautiful thing. It reveals universal truths. Like the possibility of flight. Or how much of an awful person you actually are. I came to this conclusion recently as I sailed into a clickbait iceberg that pierced the once impenetrable hull of my smug-tanic. Suffice to say, I left the binoculars at home.
Welcome to numerous studies condensed into one easy to digest, life-ruining piece of trans fat. It seems if any of the following applies to you, consider yourself not only terrible, but also fortunate for the amount of friends you have, as they might boil down to little more than a glitch in the numbers.
Put on your best Dr. Phillian front, as things are about to get real … awkward.
#1 – The Athletic Pursuit of Humblebragging
I take umbrage with this, because, yes, I do it, but I have the decency to not rub people’s face in it … overtly. My achievements are a trial, my accomplishments a quandary – let me tell you about it. A study published in the Harvard Business Review put it thusly, “Despite the belief that combining bragging with complaining or humility confers the benefits of each strategy, we find that humblebragging confers the benefits of neither, instead backfiring because it is seen as insincere.”
Which is a humblebrag in itself, as the above can be simply translated to, and even answered with, “Shut up about yourself.”
#2 – The Correction of Incorrect Grammar
2017 will forever be known as the year the Nazi became vogue. Which is unfortunate, especially for the most socially acceptable (but no less unacceptable) Grammar Nazi. What? They both pursue their archaic truculent creed of exclusion and perfect breeding. Nothing but perfectly engineered sentences will do. All else will be publicly deleted. Moving on. A University of Michigan study pointed the finger at the extroverts who walk loudly next to us, stating that they were more likely to publicly out people and their spelling mistakes.
Which, I happen to disagree with. We introverts do it too. We just do it properly. Be it through the silent medium of caboosing Facebook comments to correct incorrect usage of “your” or surreptitiously eliminating rogue apostrophes on coffee shop chalkboards. What?
#3 – Masking Your Real Self
Come on. That’s what masks are for.
Seemingly, the University of Illinois is that infuriating person on a date who wants to know everything about you. Right now. Before the waiter arrives. Is that your car? So, when was the first time you feared death? Have you always been good to your partners? I mean, puh-leaze. I’m all for truth, sort of, but how about we space it out? Allow ourselves to discover each other, University of Illinois. There’s not much to me, but I’m a good person. Can’t we just take it slow?
Well, according to the study, no. It waffled, “Although shy or socially anxious people may ask questions of the other to detract attention from themselves, our research shows that this is not a good strategy for relationship initiation. Both participants in an interaction need to disclose to generate mutual closeness and liking.”
It’s a first date, guys. I don’t know how I feel about you. Your friend, the University of Oregon was just like you, it wanted feelings up front too. It said, “(that) people who suppressed their emotions were perceived as “less extroverted, less agreeable, and more insecure about relationships and that, perhaps as a consequence, perceivers were less interested in affiliating.”
I might just be single for a while.
#4 – Acting Nice
This is starting to become a rather confusing minefield. Sadly, it’s a social one, so the chance of a quick death is not forthcoming. Shame. According to a 2010 study, an experimental game was set up in which players were hidden from each other, free to act more or less selflessly.
At the end, subjects were shown other players’ actions (some were real and some computer-generated). They were then asked to rate their desire to team up with individual players again. The most selfless players were rated as negatively as the greediest ones. The researchers concluded that people were suspicious of all that altruism, thinking, “Perhaps this person is lulling us into a false sense of security in order to take advantage of us later.”
So, be nice. But not be nice. Actually, isn’t this just further validation of the theory that everyone actually desires selfish pricks?
#5 – Too Many Facebook Friends
Again, there’s a skewed duality here. No one wants a loser, but no one wants the uber-popular. For some reason, I’m struck by the advice we were given wholesale in middle school by a teacher whose name and face I forget. He or she took us (or me) aside and flatly said, “Always look for the middle. The middle of the bus, the middle of the classroom, the middle of the year.” Which is both prosaic and quite meaningful. It also makes sense why that teacher taught in a backwater school with an extremely limited number of students.
Anyway, according to Michigan State University, because that state is clearly the home of pointless social studies, as Michigan State and University of Michigan presumably wage war over who can produce the most plastic statistic, but according to the former, too much of a good thing is not wonderful. In fact, there’s a certain tolerated allowance in friends you should have on Facebook.
The socially acceptable magic number is 300. Which just sounds like a round number that people with substantially less came up with, in order to drag the number down to make them seem normal. Just saying. However, in the English of the study, it claims that, “Individuals with too many friends may appear to be focusing too much on Facebook, friending out of desperation rather than popularity.”