Why I Said Goodbye to “Selfies”

selfies

It seems like everyone has a strong opinion about “selfies.” Of course, most folks will say, “I think they’re stupid!” and then take a selfie 2 days later feeling little remorse. You know how I know this? Because I do this. My friends do this. You probably do this.

I wrote an article about this several days ago, and the feedback was pretty typical. I talked about how selfies are killing our relationships, using data and research that has been making waves online, and everyone pretty much nodded their head in agreement and left it at that.

But let’s talk about the logic of how selfies are bad for us and why it’s led me to abolishing them forever.

First, the idea that selfies are “killing” our relationships is intended to be dramatic, and I believe most people caught that the first time I said it. Selfies are more or less a symptom of a deeper problem surfacing in the millennial generation–a problem that has to do with why we take selfies in the first place.

Have I defined selfies yet? Sorry, let’s do that real fast. Selfies are those pictures we take of ourselves that have the subconscious caption, “LOOK AT ME! LOOK AT ME!” Of course, we don’t admit that selfies or any other photos we’re posting online have this connotation, but that is definitely the case in general.

In general.

Back to my original point: Selfies are fueled by the real problem, which is narcissism. A narcissistic person is someone who is self-obsessed and overly preoccupied with their own affairs.

A common insult lobbed at the fine people in my generation is that we are excessively narcissistic, mostly due to the advent of social media and the viral phenomenon (everyone wants to be famous).

You see, social media is all about self-promotion, and we use it to make a spectacle of ourselves online. In a lot of cases, we craft images of ourselves that are idealistic in nature, leading to behavior that indirectly damages our relationships.

We alienate our friends by taking endless photos of ourselves, and people who don’t know us yet (that are stalking us) are making decisions about us based on these photos.

For example, what does a bathroom picture of a girl mean to me? I am instantly unattracted to any girl who would take a bathroom selfie. That’s just a matter of personal taste and my personal prejudice against that type of life decision.

Who knows? Maybe she has a prejudice against guys who take gym selfies. Maybe people who take gym selfies find business selfies lame?

For me, I would much rather meet a person and make a decision about their personality after the fact. Tangible relationships are falling prey to these intangible trends (like selfies) that are fueled by our narcissism.

Yes, I am narcissistic. I’ll always be somewhat narcissistic thanks to human nature, but I can at least get rid of behaviors that reward my narcissism. That’s why I said goodbye to selfies.

I decided that every picture I take has to have a meaning and intent behind it that goes beyond “LOOK AT ME!” Instead, I want pictures to say “Look at this!”, “Look at my friend!”, “Look at me and my friend doing this!” and so on.

Though I don’t think everyone has to say goodbye to selfies (not everyone is that narcissistic and no, not all selfies are inherently bad), can you imagine how many duckfaces would disappear from the internet if they did?

To sum up, I encourage anyone who wants to start crafting authentic relationships to say goodbye to narcissism and selfies. Don’t worry about people thinking you’re cute or interesting on their screen. Go to the places where people can actually get to know the real you.

I think you’ll be pleased by what happens.

Thanks for reading! You can subscribe to this blog by email via the prompt on the left sidebar. Otherwise, be sure to stay connected with me on Twitter (@JonNegroni). I’ll follow you back if you say something witty and awesome. 

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16 thoughts

  1. Ironically the ad that appeared at the bottom of your post for me is for an online service to create a cartoon you, in other words, make a cartoon version of your selfie.

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  2. Believe it or not, I’ve never taken selfies before. Mostly it’s because I don’t use Instagram and hate Facebook. I have a deviant art account but selfies are not and hopefully never will be considered art.

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  3. I totally agree about the narcisstic characteristics of selfless, but I’ve taken a few for a very good reason… it’s the only way I’m going to be in the photo at an event or activity for the simple reason that I’m the person behind the camera taking photos of everyone else. When my children/grandchildren look at old family albums in years to come, I’d like them to know that I was THERE and what I looked like when I was young.

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  4. First off, I love the new blog layout.

    I am a huge selfie taker, guilty as charged. Am I narcissistic, yes I am! We all are. But I don’t think selfies actually limit relationships. In a way they even let people know more about you, IF you represent yourself correctly. You’re right about people prejudging people based on where or how they take selfies. I also find it unattractive when girls take bathrooms selfies or when guys do gym selfies. But the things is, we all have these thoughts even when offline. I do agree that social media is all about self-promotion, it definitely is. But I also believe that more than anything, social media allows us to get to know people and let people get to know you. It’s not just about someone saying “Look at me”, I think it’s more of “This is who I am, there’s a like and comment space down there, now let me know who you are!” 🙂

    Awesome post as always!

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  5. Amazed that i have never taken a selfie ‘yet’! Good to hear that you said that and what do you think about people penning their their own biographies? 🙂

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    1. Autobiographies are definitely a different beast, especially since you can essentially only have “one” and the people who write them tend to wait until they’re older. I don’t think most autobiographies are written with the intention of grabbing attention. I think most of them come down to sharing your personal experiences and stories with people, much like how you would by telling a story to a friend.

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  6. Next we will need to get rid of Facebook and Twitter statuses that also scream (sometimes quite literally, with capital letters and all) “Look at me!” and ‘My drama is a whole lot more dramatic than your drama!”..LOL

    I’m so glad I don’t really like taking photos of myself, or anyone taking photos of me…though of course at that end of the spectrum we have other issues to contend with 😉

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  7. I’m really happy about this objective view about selfies. I usually take some myself when I want to check my face when I go out or even when I think I feel beautiful. I just don’t post them on social media sites because despite the love for myself, I am still not certain on the fact that I may be broadcasting a different message about me. Nevertheless, I wholeheartedly agree on the advice you gave. Great post !

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    1. I couldn’t agree more with this.

      I took selfies “literally” for my own self and never uploaded them online. The primary reason is simple. I just didn’t want my weird photos end up being filled with weird captions a.k.a meme. You know, there are plenty of internet meme originated from selfies and some of them are really embarrassing. 🙂

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