Arjai101 asks: This guy at school just really gets on my nerves because everyone acts like the world revolves around him. Example: I compose my own classical piece on the guitar and it took me weeks nobody gives a care, he repeats the exact same punch line/ joke for the millionth time EVERYONE CARES. It’s like everyone cares about him at school and nobody notices anything that I do even if it took me forever whether its writing, basketball, chess, music I feel like no one at school gives a care. My friends are slowly drifting away and I feel like I have nothing to hold on to. He is ruining my life! He just dominates everything, so everyone cares. And it really hurts a lot. What should I do? I feel like I’m just drowning and there’s nobody here to save me.
Hi Arjai101 –
It sounds to me like you’re dealing with a very odd concept called Charisma. Some people have tons of it, and others have little or none. Charisma is that quality that makes someone exciting, attractive, and super-relevant to others. All successful politicians have it; most movie and singing stars have it; and super-popular kids in school definitely have it.
What causes Charisma? Well, good looks help, but some charismatic people aren’t wildly beautiful. Intelligence, strength, and accomplishment help as well, but also aren’t absolutely necessary. It really seems to be a mixture of a number of qualities.
But I do think there’s one quality that Charismatic people always have, which is a healthy (or unhealthy) level of something called Narcissism. A Narcissist is a person who views the whole world as being about them. They aren’t necessarily conceited; they might not even like themselves. But they truly believe they are the most important person there is. (One great example about this – babies and toddlers always have charisma. And when a human is that young, their brain hasn’t developed enough to understand any point of view than theirs about themselves, so they’re always seeing the world as being about them. We animals also tend to have a lot of charisma; even if a dog is super-caring about others, we still work from a place of thinking of the world all on our own terms, centered on ourselves).
Now again, I’m not saying some Narcissism is always bad. Gandhi had it, Mandela has it, Gorbachev has it, Bono and Angelina Jolie have it; hey if Taylor Swift and Adele didn’t have it, they’d never have won the world’s hearts over through their songs of lament about their bad relationships! The trick seems to be that a certain amount of Narcissism creates a self-fulfilling energy that makes people say “That person thinks they’re very important, so I should think they are too!”
(On the other hand, it’s not always good either! Hitler, Stalin, bin Laden, serial killers – they’re all cases of too much of it. Narcissists often tend to be very miserable people, unable to feel empathy for others or feel others’ empathy for them. And in that, they’re the opposite of happy dogs and kids!)
So what can you do, to make your life better around this guy? Well, the easiest answer I could give is “Stop focusing on him, and start seeing the world as being a little about you, and you’ll be a bit more charismatic.” But that’s way easier said than done – and I’m not sure I want you becoming more self-centered; you might not be as wonderful as you are!
But what you can do is to try to more actively pursue what you want from people. Do you notice how easy that is for him? If he feels like treating someone a certain way, he does it right away (as he’s done to you), with no hesitation or self-doubt. Well, I’m sure you could do more of that. Would you like to take a particular friend to a movie? Ask them. Now. Would you like to tell a friend how much you like them? Do so. Now. Is there a friend you spend more time with than you’d like to? Then give yourself the right to put more of a boundary on the time you spend with them.
And when you’re with some friends, and wondering what to do that night, be the one who speaks up and says “Let’s go see that movie,” instead of asking “well, if you guys want to, I’ve been wanting to see that movie, but I understand if you’d rather do something else.” You’re really saying the same thing, but you’re saying it with a positive energy. They can always say no, that they’d rather do something else. But you have just given yourself the right to some Charisma. (And most of the time, they’ll probably agree to go to the movie you want!).
And if you do that, I think that, bit by bit, you’ll start getting some of that energy around you that he’s getting so much of now. And if you do it without being a jerk (which it seems he is, at least part of the time), you might find yourself getting a good amount of the friendship and attention that he’s been getting, all to yourself!
Best of Luck, arjai101! Have fun with it!