Why I hate my message board reason number nine is not because my message board is all about me; no, it’s because other people want to make it all about them, all of the time. Sometimes, certainly it’s acceptable to make a thread all about oneself, for example if you graduated from college or had a baby or even have an interesting or funny anecdote go ahead and make it all about you. Everyone gets to be a star sometimes.
The problem is sometimes people don’t like other people to shine. Some people are vast black holes of need, pulling every eye towards their infinite density. You must avoid entering the event horizon of such people, lest you be sucked in. Not all black hole people are evil in the way say Pol Pot was evil mind you, but they all have an amazing singularity of thought: themselves.
There are two main categories of black hole people: the enthusiastic and the paranoid.
The enthusiastic BHP simply enjoys talking about themselves. You have a dog? They have a dog, too and it was the best dog ever and they loved it the most anyone has ever loved a dog and your dog reminds them of their dog and they are dog people, don’t you know? Your kid is cute? Their kid is adorable! And he walked two months before your kid and they love them so much, they would die for them, and they don’t ever want them to grow up and leave! Every single thing you say is an opportunity to talk about themselves, not in the normal way that people share stories as a way to find common ground and bond, although it might appear that way at first. More like life is a game of improv to them and you are just the audience shouting out topics for them to expound upon.
The paranoid BHP thinks that everything even slightly negative you say is a personal slam on them. You don’t like dogs? Well, they have a dog, and it’s a very well behaved dog, thank you very much and they don’t see why anyone would be bothered by them having a dog. Why are you so judgmental? Your kids are cute? What, and their kids aren’t? We don’t all have money for fancy clothes and professional photography, unlike some people who think their kids are so much better than everyone else’s. Everything is an opportunity for them to air out their narcissistic inferiority complex, and not in the normal way that people share their dislikes and likes in order to understand another’s point of view and bond, although it might appear that way if you are an optimist. More like life is a huge trial to them, and you are the opposing council and they must put on the defense of their lives.
All you can really do to BHP is to do your best not to get sucked. “Really, that’s interesting” is all you should say and then move on. Do not try to take control of the conversation unless you are a trained professional. This is why I firmly believe all high school students should be trained in the dramatic arts – it teaches you to project your voice and to ignore distractions and focus on your own performance. That’s the only way to deal with BHPs, really, be an even bigger BHP and knock them out of orbit. Break a leg!