Fat Thigh-roid Woes: Does Empathy have a Facebook Page?
I was reading an article in the Boston Globe this week about “The Empathy Deficit”. To summarize, it was about how a group of psychologists have been conducting studies on college students since the 70s in an attempt to measure empathy.
The study found that college students today are 40% less empathetic than they were in 1979, the steepest decline coming in the last 10 years. Kids are growing up and just not caring what happens to people around them. What could be to blame? Bad parenting, movies, violence on tv, technology…?
Online social networking, along with cell phones makes us so accessible to each other, but it’s also driving us apart (this is old news). The other question brought to the table in this article is how narcissism directly correlates to empathy. The more narcissistic someone is, the less empathetic.
All I can say, is…true dat.
In the movie The Social Network, there was a line (I can’t quote verbatim cause I can’t remember) about the driving motivation to create Facebook – people want to know what is going on in the lives of their friends.
Remember how that started? Everyone hopped on board and would check out the profile pages of everyone they knew. Cyber stalking used to be a blast.
When did social networking morph from “I want to know what my friends are doing” to “I want THE WORLD to know what I AM DOING no matter how mundane my life is…”?
There are few things I am proud of…one of them is you will never see me post a Facebook update along the lines of “I’m having a great day!” or “Just came back from the mall, it was fun!!” or even the dreaded, “I just ate a Snickers….oh no, I better workout!” I know people that do this EVERY SINGLE DAY. I reserve my updates for stupid shit, along with being as offensive as possible.
Oh yeah, this column goes to my Facebook page. Guess how many good friends who don’t regularly partake in the “ME ME ME” updates have read it? A solid handful. Guess how many friends who update the most narcissistic shit on the planet have read my column? ZERO. Maybe they’re too busy with “just had a great day!” to take a look…
There’s a good reason I refuse to participate in the inane updates. Mostly because NO ONE CARES. Why would I assume anyone cares to know that I gained a pound in the past few days? Should I log onto my profile and update it with my latest exciting adventure – “Nicole sat in her jammies all day and drank tea…YAY!”?? I accept that I am not a celebrity, and therefore, no one really cares how my mostly uninteresting life is progressing. But, you see, It’s not just my life – most people believe their lives are downright fascinating and I’m here to burst bubbles everywhere and say…they’re not.
Unfortunately, we continue to celebrate uninteresting people via reality TV, and Facebook gives us the delusion that our lives are worth documenting down to….every. single. detail. They have even added a feature called “Places” where you can check into a location and everyone will know where you’re at. Someone please explain to me why anyone takes time to tell friends on Facebook where they are having dinner for the night? Why is this important enough to take time out of eating dinner to do? PS – If you’re guilty of these updates on a regular basis, then please, help me understand WHY you do it. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe I am missing the point – therefore, I’m open to hearing your side of the story. Call me an asshole if you want.
I suppose I’m straying off my point, which is plain old narcissism on the rise and how it’s messing with you and your disease.
Since most people are so self-absorbed with their own lives, do you find friends/family less empathetic to your thyroid situation? Or, on the other end, were you the narcissist to begin with, and now since you have thyroid disease you’ve taken things to a new and dramatic level? Is it always about you damn it?
Are you a part of the narcissistic many or the empathetic few? Maybe a combo of both?
I write this column every week and it’s about ME and how it can relate to YOU, but I still feel odd writing about my experiences. It’s been a challenge to open up and talk about myself when I really don’t enjoy talking about myself. I make jokes to avoid talking about myself in day to day life. People ask me what I’m up to, and you’ll often hear “nothing” in place of what is really going on. I’m not trying to say I’m not a narcissist – because to a certain extent…I am (I blame society).
My point is, this column has allowed me the opportunity to share my story…but I remind myself that it doesn’t mean my story is more interesting than yours. This just happens to be the platform where I get to share my story, and I attempt to make it interesting with flashy shit sometimes…but I know that most of it is pretty mundane (I guess pooping my pants is interesting on some level). The fucked up part is that it’s taken a disease to make me want to talk about myself. Dumb. I should just join the masses and blab on and on despite how bored my audience gets.
I have met people who wish for disease, and for the attention it brings. I once had a convo with a friend of a friend that was convinced she had throat cancer, even though every doctor she had seen told her SHE DIDN’T. She insisted friends go with her to doctor appointments for support, when support really wasn’t needed. The only thing she wanted to do was get a prescription for coddling and attention. Here she is, abusing her health insurance to satisfy her demented need for attention – yet I am without insurance, and paying for an actual disease. That skank.
This particular woman had a group of friends that were sick of it. Sick of her need for attention. They all knew she had NOTHING wrong with her, but they continued to “support” her to a certain extent. The messed up thing is, this lady is just sick in the head…so I suppose she does need some support from friends, right?
My disease is real. How many of my friends have been sick of supporting me? How many people were sick of hearing about it?
Dark thought of the day: How many people got fed up because it took away from their own stage time? Talking about disease takes friendships to a whole new level…and it’s draining on those that are used to being center stage most of the time.
Final question: have you posted Facebook updates about your disease?
Yeah, I’m rambling and I’m asking lots of different questions – but that’s cause I want answers. For reals, when I’m telling you I want to LISTEN and LEARN – I mean it. I feel like I’m missing the boat, and I need some knowledge dropped. Let’s get this debate going!