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How to Get People to Show Their True Colors

Social media does most of the work for you.

Facebook is my livelihood. No, that is not sarcasm or an exaggeration; the majority of my income comes from writing posts for small businesses. So, when people tell me that I should take a break from the social networks, I have to politely tell them to mind their own beeswax. Sometimes, though, I'll post something on Facebook just to get a rise out of people, just for the fun of it. The fastest way to find out someone's true colors is to post something that could vaguely be about them.

That's what I did recently. I'm working on a serial, kind of a book telenovela, and the main character happens to be one of those that just says what she wants to say (other writers will understand this). One of the things that she said I thought would make an excellent status: “You think you’re a badass, but you’re just a basic bitch!” It stood out to me as something that could be awesome, and that people would like. Plus, it helps me promote and get the buzz going for this project. Almost seconds after I hit post for that status, my phone started going off. This is not unusual; my best friend usually texts me along with a few other people. One of the texts, though, made me laugh out loud.

Friend: "That status better not be about me. I can't believe you would call me a basic bitch."

Me: "A fictional character said it. It's not about anyone I know."

Friend: "Yeah, right. It just so happens that I call myself a badass, and you post that. It's really shitty, you know."

What my friend didn't realize is that she was saying more about herself than anyone else. There was no indication that I had even seen her status, as I hadn't liked or commented on it. She saw my status and thought it was about her. Some would say that's narcissistic, but I think it shows more of her insecurities. When you have to call yourself a badass or anything of that sort, you aren't trying to convince others of your greatness; you're trying to convince yourself.

A few days later, I posted about my date night. This is not a typical occurrence with me. I rarely post anything personal about myself because it doesn't seem warranted; plus, if I want people to know what's going on in my life, I simply tell them. There were some pics of me heading to date night (very few people have seen a picture of the man I'm dating, and I plan to keep it that way, for now) and there was a funny exchange that I posted about. Once again my phone went haywire, to the point where my date asked me to look at it because it was so annoying. It was another friend complaining that I hadn't told her that I was seeing anyone. I bit back "a mind your business" retort and said that I would talk to her later.

After both of these instances, I took a day to process everything. Neither of my posts had anything to do with either friend. One was to generate interest in a book, and the other was me being silly and goofy and maybe slightly romantic (if you tell anyone, I will deny it). These two friends, who do not know one another and are from two different periods of my life, both thought that they were about them—or, at least, an affront to them. It bothered me, not because I was irritated, but it didn't make any sense to me. Then another friend cleared it up for me.

He's doing some research on how social media has changed the way we socialize, and he made a point about how everyone thinks everything is about them. A guy he was dating was insulted when he learned that my friend does not have a Facebook or Twitter account. He thought it was because my friend didn't want to add him. The lengths he went to prove this were extraordinary. Sometimes, I don't even get out of bed to work, but he was doing Google searches, stalking through Facebook, and, finally, trying to get into my friend's phone. I'm exhausted just typing all of that. Everything went back to this need for validation, for someone to be talking or thinking about them, even if it is negative.

So, if you want to find out which of your friends are insecure about something, post a status. Something vague and not really about them; see who texts or messages you first. That will tell you what you need to know about your friends. 

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