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Bill

You're giving Snob WAY too much credit. You seem to be saying that, because she loves Neighbor, she has every right to be rude to you since she's doing it for the right reasons. That is highly unlikely. The reason this snob is critical of you and others is because she is insecure and jealous of Neighbor's attention. "Protective" is simply another word for "possessive".

misspixie

I agree with Bill. It sounds like she's possessive and jealous of you and 517, since both of you are potential threats to her friendship with Neighbor. And perhaps Neighbor loves Snob's friendship because it is so validating; it's flattering to have a friend who thinks that no one is good enough for you.

But on another note, I will say that sometimes, when I am in the presence of Snobs, I find myself throwing out my resume lines and most impressive accomplishments, such as they are, in order to gain their approval. I never like myself in this mood, but often find that I don't realize what's happening until I'm in the middle of name-dropping. Oh, it's insidious. And unpleasant. So I heartily approve the adolescent, contrarian tendency to refuse to engage in such behavior. Good work!

Sometimes, I find that addressing the problem head on is the best course. Maybe she's not conscious of how she appears to you and 517. If it is insecurity, as opposed to oblivion or lack of self-awareness, then sometimes it's helpful to flesh those insecurities out. Maybe she's afraid you don't like her, either, and just overcompensates.
I sympathize with those adolescent tendencies, though.

Dan

Bill's point is excellent... if the Snob really had Neighbor's best interests at heart, she wouldn't be hostile to people who are obviously important to Neighbor.

PG

I'd be inclined to tilt my head, smile at her and ... call her on it. If her hoops require that you have particular interests, the next time she asks "Have you read/ seen/ met/ thought about X?" answer honestly and if you said yes, add in a joking tone "I hope that was the right answer," or if you said no, "I hope you won't think even worse of me." Let her realize that whether she intends it or not, her behavior is coming across in an unfriendly way.

"If she talks to us at all it's to run us through a conversational obstacle course designed to test our merits in the areas she cares about. She does not feign interest in any topics outside of this scope."

An effective counter-measure could be for you to feign interest in the topics within her scope, treating these things as not just screening comments or questions, but things that maybe she was genuinely interested in. Then, maybe when you present a topic point that is of interest to you, she'll feign interest back. If you keep playing at this game, you might even end up on a mutually-enjoyed topic, and neither of you will be simply pretending to be interested anymore.

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