FWP: Hello, Narcissa, So Glad You Could Join Us
PROBLEM: Okay, so I have a “girl gang” group chat. But one of the girls always has to make it about herself! If she is going on a date, we need to know. If her day is going badly, then we must comfort her. But when me or any of the other people post something about our lives which happens to be a highlight, no congratulations, no nothing. Crickets! Got any tips on how to deal with a narcissist who lacks digital etiquette?
KB: Dear attention-seeker, narcissistic friends have existed since the dawn of time. The problem is that we now have more forums for communication, and therefore more avenues that amplify their rudeness to the rest of us.
Do the rest of your girl gang support your digital needs? If so, then you’re sorted. You don’t need to prod Ms. It’s-All-About-Me for a response. And maybe, if the rest of the gang feels the same way about her, y’all could try occasionally sending out the crickets for one of her moments, and see if she gets the hint? (Chances are, she won’t, so really, unless you plan to call her out face-to-face, it’s probably best to just let this Narcissa stare at her own reflection while the rest of you carry on with your friendships.)
SB: Group chats are full of all sorts of characters — the voyeuristic social loafers, the emoticon junkies, and of course, the digital narcissists who enjoy so these forums most of all. To me, it’s more about how this translates to real life: Is the social loafer actually a wonderful listener and a supportive person, or a dud? Is the emoticon junkie an incredibly positive force when you meet up with her, or is she always on a dramatic emotional roller coaster?
You can put up with most chat personas if the real-life version is worth it. So, the question to ask yourself is: Is your friend a forgivable egomaniac, or is she a self-absorbed mirror-glancer even in person? If it’s the first, just deal. If it’s the second, side chat your friends and have a different group where everyone can be equally supportive of each other.
LG: Oh, come on, there is fun to be had here! Dealing with a narcissistic friend isn’t about going silent, but about unpredictable support. Respond to her probems with random and irrelevant emojis only. Bad hair day? Vomiting-dollar-bill face. First date? Brinjal + snowman. Boss is giving her trouble? Ice skate + ice skate + crashing wave. Can’t find her keys? Strong arm + unicorn + left arrow + Latvian flag. You then become supportive — and intriguing. What do all the light bulb + frog + revolver emoji combos mean? Who knows? She doesn’t! But it will make her start paying more attention to you again — if only to make sure you haven’t had the bright idea to become a serial amphibian murderer.
MM: So, you want the narcissist to give you some attention? I suspect you’re the kind of person who ‘loves a good challenge.’ My first instinct would be to say — there are more meaningful uphill tasks you could pursue than evoking a response from a self-centred human.
But, since you asked… I think the lack of digital etiquette speaks of a lack of self-confidence. She is trying to suck you into her little circle of low self-esteem. But you must resist! The only way to win is to ignore her yourself, since you seem most bothered by her plan. Or, if you can gather support, you could stage a mass silent treatment. And when you have good news to share, take it outside the darkness that is this WhatsApp group. Facebook maybe?
AV: There’s no confrontation like a passive aggressive confrontation. Call her out every time someone has a good moment – ‘Did you hear that @SelfishCow?’ ‘@SelfishCow, isn’t this awesome news? Do you feel better after your crapola morning thanks to this?’
No dice even then? Reforming a group, to me, is irritating as now there are two groups to respond to. Perhaps reach out to see if others feel the same way? Or take the Buddhist road and chant Om and ignore her. You have better things to do.
Got any first world problems? Write to the Swaddle Team at firstname.lastname@example.org. We’ll sort you out. Kind of.