the lady doth protest too much methinks

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On facebook I have some ‘friends’ that I barely know, I met them a few times and they seemed like nice people. They were friends of friends, and in that sense had a good pedigree.

One of these people is a professional woman, probably in her mid 30’s. I follow her status posts with fascination because I’m intrigued by the possible back-story, the things she doesn’t say.  These are some of the key focus points of the things she has said in the last 6 months

  • Bought a new house
  • Bought a flash convertable sports car
  • Had a fabulous sailing holiday with friends – drinking, relaxing, sunbathing, partying
  • Went to my first ever weekend music festival, camped, had a brilliant time
  • Had a fabulous night out with the girls (photographs of happy people)
  • Had a fantastic house party – photographs of people looking drunk and smiling.
  • Has new 42″ plasma TV attached to the wall in her bedroom (updates facebook from bed – windows phone)

Somehow I read into these posts that she is an unhappy, lonely, person. Someone trying to convince either us or herself that she’s having a good life. By limiting her status posts to acquisition of socially significant items and engagement in ‘popular’ social activities she is only mentioning things that are cultrually defined as aspirational.

In my imaginary backstory she’s just got divorced, is painfully lonely and trying to fill the gap created by the pain of a failed intimate relationship and let her friends know she’s ok – don’t worry. Either that or she is as shallow and superficial as her facebook status convey at face value….

8pointsomething33333333333334Am I bonkers?

the lady doth protest too much methinks
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4 bits of lovely banter on “the lady doth protest too much methinks”

  1. Scarlet writes:

    No, not bonkers.
    I once worked with someone like this… she was possibly the most bizarre person I’ve ever met. There was obviously a lot of pain behind the cheery front, she was a victim of domestic violence but there was no way she was ever going to reveal how much her ex had hurt her. I presumed it was her way of fighting back and being resilient, but this front did worry me.
    Sx

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  2. Oranjepan writes:

    Love this!

    The way people project our personalities is a source of endless fascination – sometimes it’s as much about what’s left out as what’s put in… a friend said to me only yesterday that the fact I don’t talk about myself online shows either an extreme selflessness, or an extreme selfishness on my part. Well, I hope I’ve mitigated that now.

    Anyway without any additional information about this woman I built up a slightly different picture of her backstory.

    Content-wise she definitely sounds aspirational rather than ambitious, but that could be pure calculation. Her adjectives stand out for me, ‘new’, ‘fantastic’, ‘fabulous’, ‘brilliant’. Shallow and superficial, no, but because she can’t express herself more deeply or feels no need to – maybe I could ask the level of replies she recieved before saying how I judged her.

    Or maybe what we read into the information says as much about us as it does about them…

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    wendy writes

    Orangepan, Welcome back! I love that we can see different back stories 🙂

    I think you’re onto something with “what we read into the information says as much about us as it does about them”. I didn’t copy her actual Facebook statuses, I just reworded them, so you read my read on them…

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  3. Oranjepan writes:

    Hey – I never really went away (I got sunstroke and have been lurking in the shadows under the nearest bramble bush since… ok, I use a reader).

    Anyway, obliquely, I wanted to add a bit of experience: reading around so widely it’s possible to see that because only direct two-way communication offers a degree of comprehension through feedback with the recipient, that all – even the worst or least self-absorbed – writing will naturally tend towards reflexiveness.

    And mix in a dash of personal impression: given that I can’t be sure if we’ve ever met and the same is true for many virtual acquaintences it’s difficult not to build up a backstory and try to fill in as many gaps as possible. I also know from reading back what I’ve written that I can start to focus my mind on my preoccupations by understanding how it filters through my mind and what the underlying matter is.

    To serve a three-course meal: placing the current post in conjunction with the previous few suggests you’re in contemplatative mood… that you are perhaps protesting your convictions… and have found a way to question your personal values by contrast… that you think maybe you should be taking the drugs… would it be overly presumptive/bonkers to say that?

    For desert: I don’t think I could imagine you ever using the word ‘fabulous (dah-ling)’ except after a glass of wine or two, or something stronger – so for you to do so here must be laced with a tinge of mischief somewhere!

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