It’s not ‘your’ day!

Sonja Morgan, she thought it was "her day"I am spoiled. I spent much of my youth surrounded by brilliant raconteurs with good manners. A good guest had to be a good listener, as well as a good talker. We were taught how important it is to know when to get off the stage as well as on. It’s hard to imagine that stylish groups such as the Algonquin Round Table or the famed Rat Pack would have ever existed if no one ever gave anyone else a chance to get a word in, or someone was always staking our “their day”.

 
Sometimes I feel that narcissists have taken over and that I am trapped in a bad reality show. Some things so-called normal people say and do these days are so shockingly boorish – as opposed to regular boorishness — I can’t believe their bad behaviour. Not only boorishness trying, it’s boring.
 
Professor W. Keith Campbell in an article from World News Australiahad a great definition:  The simplest way to break it down is (narcissism is) an inflated, a grandiose view of yourself, you think you’re special and unique, you’re entitled to special treatment. At the same time you lack really warm empathetic and caring relationships with other people."
 
When I was growing up, such behaviour was called just bad manners, and I still consider them such.
 
Narcissists can be charming, but they never know when to share the stage and they never have true empathy. So, if you are waiting for them to care about you and your problem, you could grow old.
 
Being a narcissist might actually work, if you were trying to become successful CEO or Broadway star, but it doesn’t translate in relationships with a spouse or a friend. Some very successful people have been accused of the trait. Joan Crawford and Howard Hughes come to mind, as does Donald Trump. It is interesting to note they all had or have successful but tumultuous professional and personal lives. But, if you don’t have your own fortune or are not a certified genius, you may need some help on your way up. People eventually tire of all but the most gifted self-promoters.
 
Day to day narcissists can drive you crazy.
 
I find the rise of the “my day” syndrome particularly annoying. I first noticed it on Bridezillas. Harpies on this disturbing show often go nuts about “their day,” giving nary a thought to “their guests or their husband-to-be.” Many Bridezillas have declared, “ I don’t care about the guests, they are here to see me.”
 
Now, a wedding is a special time, and a bride deserves to feel special. But a wedding is a celebration of love and commitment, not a beauty pageant.
 
Recently, I watched an episode of the Real Housewives of New York where Sonja Morgan threw a fit because it was “her day.” She actually hijacked a march for marriage-equality in New York, carrying on as if the broad social cause involving millions of people was solely about her. Her fellow cast mates, a couple Simon van Kempen and Alex McCord had helped to organize the march. Sonja was to be the march’s “grand marshal,” but unbeknownst, to fellow cast mates who attended, she insisted on being the only one in the show allowed to speak at the event. As her fellow celebrities dressed for the rally, Sonja – a grown woman in her late forties — acted like a teenaged prom queen. She thanked the others for “supporting her on her day.” She even treated them like handmaidens, expecting them to help her dress. How embarrassing to watch a supposedly mature woman carry on this way!
 
Granted, reality TV shows amp up emotions, but darlings I have seen this behavior all too often in “real life.” I have been a victim of it in my own home. I have suffered guests who highjack dinner parties with their own dramas and traumas. One monopolized the conversation with a long saga of published — but not very sexy — legal woes. I swear no one else spoke after the first course was served. What a bore. There was also the one who seethed when I declined to have guests open holiday gifts. All who attended the party had not exchanged gifts, and I felt it was rude and awkward to have them watch and not participate.
 
Good dinners are too much effort for these antics. My reward is conversation that sparkles and an evening when everyone can bask in the glow.
 
Darlings, a little self promotion is fine. These days, it is almost a necessity. But if it becomes a lifestyle, you’re in trouble. You may never know it, but nice people will avoid you like the plague.
 
True, it can be tricky to make your mark in the world, and not fall into the trap of becoming a self-centered, self-promoting monster. Some days are legitimately just for you: your birthday, anniversary, or a book launch. And it is hard to succeed at anything without being on facebook and Twitter, and “getting your name out there.” Companies and bosses do reward those who promote themselves, and the public loves a personality.
 
But success in anything is rarely due to a single person. An Academy-Award winning actress would likely never have won the Oscar without her fellow actors, her director, and the guy who lit her face properly. Acknowledge that, not because it’s politically correct, but because it is true.
 
While it maybe fun to be the center of attention, you should also focus on recognition for your accomplishments, not your bad behaviour. Don’t be a doormat, but don’t be an attention hog either. If it is always “all about you,” people start to tune you out or resent you.
 
So go ahead; shine and take your turn in the spotlight, but don’t lose your humanity — and learn when it’s time to get of the stage and applaud the next act.
 
If you have to tell people it’s your day, it’s probably not.
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