The Social Contract

Baba Gyani Triviani said:
"By the end of this post, don't wonder if YOU are Jack... You most likely aren't. I learnt this trick from that book I have mentioned at the end..."

I recently had the misfortune of speaking to a 'hyper-sensitive narcissist' - Let's call this person Jack (Although John Doe or John Smith are more standard). Now let's assume you have met this person Jack and you are having a conversation. As the conversation proceeds, you start noticing that Jack has all the qualities of a megalomaniac but not actual qualities... Just grandiose notions about himself.

But in the conversation, Jack also mentions that he is extremely sensitive, which you notice when you made a crack which was taken very seriously. Now we come to an interesting juncture - The narcissism reaches such annoying heights that it makes you barf, and yet you cannot say anything on this person's face because, well, because you aren't Dr. House and because 'Social Contract' dictates us to not be rude.

I can very well say that you are annoying. But ordinarily, we don't. We are asked to be kind to others and that it is hurtful to others when we are curt. We invented diplomacy for the same reason. We also went overboard to invent political correctness and euphemisms just so that we sugar the pill. (notice that I didn't say sugar-coat because that's American usage :P) And so you grin and bear, you tolerate till you can no more and decide to call it quits. You try to avoid talking to Jack so that you don't have to tell Jack that he's annoying you.

Jack on the other hand, being self obsessed has no idea that he is annoying you, and wants to talk a whole lot more. This reminds me of Seinfeld, an episode where Seinfeld meets an old classmate who is very annoying, and the classmate decides to meet him more often but Seinfeld doesn't know how to stay away... When he tries to say that they cannot be friends, the other guy starts crying, literally bawling in the restaurant till Seinfeld gets uncomfortable and takes his words back. If you felt that Seinfeld was being a jerk, then my point about 'Social Contract' has already been validated. Jack is just the same, so overly sensitive that you cannot possibly say anything which sounds a tad insensitive, and being so hyperactive, Jack doesn't give you the space and keeps bothering you. The ever increasing number of 'Suicides for silly reasons' is also a major deterrent that prevents you from saying things upfront.

It might occur to Jack that he might be annoying; assume it did, and he asks you a question - "Hey, Am I being annoying?". Again, I find questions such as these and "How do I look?", etc. rather rhetorical. Especially when you are not best friends and guys (both). I am obviously not going to say 'Oh, that dress makes you look fat, but it doesn't matter, no amount of make-up is going to fix that nose anyway' and neither will I say 'Yeah, you are being a pain in my arse'. I'm most likely going to say  "No, no, not at all... You're an absolute delight to hear whilst also being eye-candy" (okay, maybe that was a slight exaggeration)

Now this is quite the conundrum, you don't know how to get out of this dilemma. I also know of this guy who's dating a nut job. Everyone else is a hundred percent confident, given historic data, that she'll create a scene if they ever break up and if they don't, well, people nod their heads with the words 'tsk tsk' on their lips when they think about the hell he has to endure for the rest of his life.

Now think about this post without emotions, try to not think of me as a jerk and try to be objective. If you indeed meet a highly irritating person like Jack who doesn't leave you alone, sends a lot of messages on your phone, emails and chats, pokes you on Facebook and doesn't give you enough space despite being told that you are busy and don't have much free time, or any other trick that you pulled out of the book that is titled 'How to be a jerk without seeming like one: 101 Euphemisms and Tricks - By Swami Gulagulaananda', how would you go about it? Do you think it's better to seem tactless and get out early at the risk of being thought of as a jerk or do you think you should endure a whole lot longer and hope that you can wean off eventually within the next ten years? Leave me your opinions or comments.

P.S.: If you felt that the person, Jack, in this post is you, it most likely is... :P Screw diplomacy

Comments from Facebook:

Prashanth Harshangi: Sup Jack?? How are you? Read your blog after long time. Good article.

Aditya Kiran: I don't think the social contract is defined to be constant between all people.. People often vary it depending on Jack or Jill :P

Kavita Krishnamurthy: Omg tat was hilarious :D

Nikhil Narayan: Good one maga! :) ....

Niyaz Puzhikkunnath: Such big words at such a small age....


Amod said…
Combination of megalomaniac and pushy is deadly! Send him/her flowers with a message that you are more 'handsome/beautiful' than him/her. That would do :P

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