Preface: You may not agree with this post, but I know what I have seen and DO see.
When I was a boy in middle school, I had a language arts teacher who was a wise man. Funny thing, I can’t remember his name, but he was a great teacher. He loved his kids. You could tell by the way he made sure you learned what he was offering and teaching.
Something he told our class once was to be wary of people who have an “I” problem. People whom use ‘I’ where ‘me’ is proper. I understood this, mostly. I have never really been good with sentence structure in the sense that I know the property of every word, its proper name in vocabulary usage, etc. I do however, know when what someone is saying or writing sounds wrong. Yep, I am a grammar nazi.
The idea about the “I” problem, meant much more to me than just proper placement in spoken or written language.
Have you ever met someone who continuously tells you what they would do? What they think? What they know? What they–everything? Normally starting sentences with, “Well I….” or “Well, I don’t like to toot my own horn, but….” or “I’ve discovered that….” Becomes annoying, doesn’t it? When you hear “Well, I don’t like to toot my own horn, but….” you can bet that their own horn tooting will undoubtedly begin. When my language arts teacher placed the “I” issue before us, this was the ulterior meaning I got from it. An “I” problem.
They start every conversation or sentence with a reference to their self or with “I.” Twice a year my brother and I talk on the phone. Since 2001, we have lived 2,600+ miles apart. Birthdays. I call him, he calls me. As I stated in an earlier post, it’s usually a one-sided conversation. He speaks, I listen. When I bring up a topic, he usually opposes it or bests it. If I tell him about some food I like, he doesn’t like it. I normally just listen to him speak about the end of the world or something similar. At times, I laugh under my breath, other times I just listen to him ramble on. I use the speaker phone more with him than with anyone, and I use it for about 90% of my phone calls, in and out going. I love him, but I face his “I” issue every time I speak on the phone with him. I know that if I were to say something like “Selfish people are so annoying,” he would immediately ask me if I considered him to be selfish. The honest answer would be “If that’s your first response to that statement, you are.”
OK, my intention here is not to bash my brother or anyone else, but to share what I have seen in people. It seems that, for many, being able to get their opinion out there through the use of the internet, by way of a tablet or smart phone, et al, people can get a feeling of superiority. They can rule all they “see” from their seat in front of a computer screen, at least they can think they rule. I think this somehow makes them feel that they are instantly validated because they are “tuned in.” Because “they have a computer and know how to use it.” Their “bullet proof” computer.
I certainly don’t feel that everyone is this way, although, as you read this, you are certainly thinking of someone you know who meets this idea. I actually have two brothers that fit this description. The younger one no longer speaks to me. I guess I’m not cool enough for him. The other dominates every conversation we have, which are always on the phone since I moved away from my home state. He didn’t call me this year on my birthday in January as like always and I am really not concerned. He takes offense at things very easily, so I really never know if he understands what I’m saying when I DO get a chance to talk. It really doesn’t matter, I don’t care either way. I know many people who do not have the “I” problem, but you never hear from such people because they don’t feel the need to be noticed, or the need to exist in the spotlight.
Now, the computer age has settled in, we all own them, we all use them to shop, I read a lot of news, Kindle books, writings of wisdom, listen to news, etc. on mine. I use mine to run a business. A photo restoration business, produce web graphics, mainly for my own use on my web page. I often read and comment on news articles around the web. I do my best to be agreeable, informative, I even offer help on a few computer troubleshooting sites. I DO NOT troll. I despise internet trolls. But there are many that engage in much more nefarious and denigrating activities. Many whom see no other reason to use a computer other than for horn tooting and trolling/baiting others into an insult session. For no other reason than to insult people they do not know. They are usually very easy to spot and avoid. Funny thing…..my father, at 82 years old, is one of those. He has hated me since birth and has recently been doing his best to follow me around the web and insult me at every opportunity. He actually sends me insulting birthday cards. Yes, insulting birthday cards. Not cute sarcastic ones you get at Walgreen’s, but nice cards that he writes insulting comments in and mails them. I no longer allow him to rent space on my virtual property. I know, “How can you do that to your father?” If I were to write what he says to me online here, well, I don’t actually use such language, and I really don’t hate anyone the way he does me, so I really can’t relate to that kind of existence, you would understand my sentiment. I’d rather be happy.
So, as I cruise around the web researching new stereo speakers, seeking medical information, looking at product reviews, I see the “I” problem quite often. People drop their stinking, fetid, putrid bomb then move on as if they just did everyone a favor, and no one really can do anything about it. But they feel rewarded in some way by telling whomever reads what they post the most important information they will ever see or read. There is a site called “Praise or Bash” which thrives on such activity. Members whom do nothing but denigrate and berate. A seething pot of feuding trolls trolling each other. I don’t understand this activity at all. To sit at a computer, look for and insult people you do not know, then go to work, church, visit your grandmother, all the time feeling as though you have enlightened the cosmos with your previous comments and insults. Curious, but obviously empty.
I have an account on Facebook. I maintain it so I can also support a business site on Facebook. Facebook, for some reason, requires that one set up a Facebook account as a private user in order to administrate a business page. They have a distinction that I will explain.
If you have a Facebook account, you have a ‘Timeline’ and a ‘Newsfeed.’ Both are rather useless, but that’s what they are. Both are included as a private account. Then there is a Facebook ‘Page.’ This is an account that requires the previous setup in order to be available. There is also a ‘Group.’ I consider that one must have a private account in order to maintain a ‘Group’ as well. I am not sure as I do not have a ‘Group’ page. Anyway, moving on here.
This social network, Facebook, is a virtual breeding ground for people with the “I” problem. I have at least one of these people in my “Friends” list. A contact. Everything they post is about what they think, do, say, have, want, eat, buy, do, do, do. You can count on it. Daily. I don’t want to ‘unfriend’ this person for reasons I don’t feel comfortable detailing here, but I remain a friend. So I just hide their posts, or relegate them to a section on the site that needs to actually be found in order to see what they post to the site. I don’t particularly like doing this, but it gets so repetitious that it is like swatting a fly. This person never actually contacts me directly, so there is really never any interaction, but I still keep them on.
I receive friend requests from people, just as anyone does. I always look over their profile. If it is set to private, I accept, then look it over. Not because I want to see if they agree with my preferences, but to see if they have an “I” problem, or if they have a nasty propensity for posting offensive crap. What they post, as a friend, will show on my page. You do the math.
When I receive these requests, I look at their “About” section and their photographs. I have seen many profiles containing hundreds of selfies. No one else in the photos but the profile owner. That is a flag. Then I read their timeline. If there are hundreds of photos of them in the albums, the timeline is going to tell that story. “This is me, yada, yada, yada.” A serious “I” problem. “Selfies” are a red flag for the “I” problem. They are also narcissistic. To a fault.
This “I” problem. Yes, very curious.
It limits people’s opportunities because no one wants to be around them as the talk about their favorite person. Themselves.
It keeps them from discovering new ideas and concepts due to comparing everything around them to themselves. Nothing is as good as they want.
It limits their intake of knowledge due to them knowing everything.
It is destructive. Plain and simple.
Look inside yourself. Do you suffer from this problem? Do you feel that you must constantly tell others what you are doing, you take ‘selfies’ constantly and post them to Facebook? You feel that you must always defend your point of view or your stance on issues that really are miniscule but are monumental to you? You have to show people new things you’ve purchased constantly? You never, ever, ever accept advice? You constantly post memes to Facebook telling everyone how badass you are? If anyone disagrees with something you post online, you feel that you need to set them straight or you must immediately insult them or call them a troll? You never learn a thing from day to day?
I could go on for quite some time with this list, but then I would seem like that which I am writing about.
Lighten up. Think about what you say, about what you choose to talk about. Do people cut you off in conversation because they forgot something they needed to do, if someone enters the room, they immediately leave you hanging? If so, if you see people do this, then you have an “I” problem.
Here’s a novel idea, ask someone how they are doing, then sit and listen to them without interrupting. Yeah, give it a shot, and when you listen to them, listen to understand them, don’t listen just to reply or push your point or agenda.
Think about what you say, do, and what you see. If any of these things make you ask “How does this affect me? Can I tell others about how this affected me? Can I make this the subject of a conversation about me?” Yes, you have an “I” problem.
Enough said, I’m sure you get it.
By the way, the capital letter “I” by itself was used 102 +/- times in this piece.
Thanks for looking,