September 3, 2012

Tease Vent

Yet again, someone on my friend/family Facebook did a status update that left me thinking "Listen, either TELL or DON'T TELL. Those are the options." I'm thinking of setting up awards for it: instead of "Oh, what HAPPENED??" responses (which I never do anyway, because The Tease sets up an instant cold stubbornness in me), I'll go directly to "ULTIMATE TEASE AWARD." Maybe I can arrange some text to look like a wee trophy.

..Except I CAN'T, because maybe this time something ACTUALLY SIGNIFICANT has occurred, and I will look like a flippant jerk. Plus, I've seen other people making remarks of that sort to the teasers, and yet the teasers keep doing it without realizing how annoying it is, perhaps because for every "Come on, either tell or don't, but don't TEASE!" comment, there are a dozen apparently gratifying "WHAT HAPPENED??? CAN'T WAIT TO HEAR!!!" comments. I'm so TIRED of this. Why do people give the response they're being manipulated into giving? Aren't THEY tired of it TOO?

When the news DOES finally come, it's almost never at the level of drama it was set up to be. That's probably what I'm REALLY mad at: the feeling of having been manipulated into giving all the responses and attention we'd give for Big News, when the person knew the news itself wouldn't warrant the level of hype they were giving it. It's a fake-out, a bait-and-switch.

Have you already seen this great xkcd.com comic?



There is sometimes an additional level of disappointment to deal with. When, for example, someone has been trying for a baby for a year, and then posts, "I hope to have some exciting news to share soon!!!," the news of her promotion causes more sadness than she realizes. If she'd waited until she was allowed to announce the promotion to mention it, the reaction would have been all happiness.

I've started seeing statuses that know to be self-conscious about it BUT DO IT ANYWAY. "I know, everyone hates vague statuses---but I REALLY CAN'T tell you my news yet!!" O RLY? Then DON'T TELL IT. There is no rule that you must SAY you have a secret. And in fact, in our house there is a rule against it: you may not prance around in front of your siblings singing "_I_ know something YOU don't know, _I_ know something YOU don't know!" It doesn't seem as if adults would need that rule enforced anymore.

*pant pant*

29 comments:

Linda said...

PREACH IT, SISTER!

Anonymous said...

I am lucky that I don't have Facebook friends who do that but I have followed bloggers who would do several posts hinting at some big news they could not share and then it was a complete let down when they finally shared or they completely forgot to mention how it turned out. I no longer read their blogs. HE!

And there is this blogger who I followed for years and years and we messaged, emailed, sent little packages, etc. and finally became FB friends. Then one day she posts that she is in the emergency room with a family member. Much later that day when I see she's on FB again I ask how things were going and she acts all huffy and says there are things she cannot discuss publicly. Excuse me for caring.

Anonymous said...

Those statuses are pure crying for attention. It's always the same people whom post stuff like that.

Ann Wyse said...

I agree that it's totally annoying, a feeling which is only heightened my own perception of *their news* as being really insignificant. That hasn't stopped me from sometimes still feeling the need to do this.

When I'm on the receiving end, I try to remember a couple of things:
1) Whatever the news it, it's really significant to *that person*, and regardless of my judgement, I try to accept that and respect that. Maybe knowing the news even gives me further insight into that person (that's cool... so:)
2) Most teasers are probably OK with being asked what the situation is, and have, in fact, just given you permission, to ask, privately being the preferable form. "I saw your post, are you okay?" (You can eye roll at home, in private, about the answer later.)
3) Some shit affects a person greatly, but may affects others more, and the teaser is stuck in a strange middle ground of not knowing how much she can/should/wants to say publicly.
4) I think most of all, teasers are just asking for understanding because she feels unable to continue to act as normally/ideally as she would like.

Maybe I'm a little optimistic about people's motives, here. I tend to err on the side of generous, which is not always a good thing.

shin ae said...

Oh, yes. YES.

That comic is pretty great.

Nicole said...

Testify.

That comic is exactly, perfectly spot-on.

Life of a Doctor's Wife said...

Yes. Exactly this.

One of my Facebook friends is the QUEEN of vague statuses. I mean, for the past year I can't tell if she's been pregnant, divorced, depressed, moving, leaving her job, or SOMETHING, but it sounds like all of the above and there's never any clarification.

Elizabeth said...

I'm used to it from teenage cousins--those very angsty ones like "Well, I thought I knew who my friends were"--not the best example but just what I can come up with. Then my father-in-law posted something about some news coming up, and even though I knew what the news was, I found it so irritating. 64-year-old men should be less obnoxious than 18-year-old girls. So I just commented "I've defriended people for Vaguebooking before." He got a couple of curious comments and a couple annoyed comments, and my comment got more than 20 likes. So I decided I'd won because Facebook is clearly a competition.

StephLove said...

That's an excellent house rule. Partner recently made the call that if you repeatedly announce that you are writing "shocking secrets" in your journal that you can't act surprised if your brother grabs it and reads it.

p.s. Some bloggers do this, too. Whole posts about how upset they are about some mysterious, unnamed thing. Drives me up a wall.

Raisin4Cookies said...

FB friends that annoy me but who I can't actually defriend for complicated reasons, I just block 'em. I don't have to see their statuses unless I purposely look it up, which reduces my annoyance level by a hundred fold.

Elizabeth said...

It drives Erik so crazy that he usually starts replying things like "Man, hope that VD clears up soon". It's quite entertaining.

The only blogger thing I find more annoying than this cryptic business are the blog posts bemoaning the writer's lack of blogging and promising to blog more soon, inevitably following by not blogging more. You don't always have to be saying SOMETHING just because you have a blog. Sometimes you can just say nothing.

Suburban Correspondent said...

What you said, exactly. I hate coy.

d e v a n said...

YES!

HereWeGoAJen said...

Grumble, grumble, grumble. AND MY OWN SISTER DOES THIS! I'm taking her out of my will.

I had a friend who did this in person in high school. She would turn around, put her head on my desk, and sigh, all long and drawn out. I refused to ask her what was wrong.

Anonymous said...

Despite a strict personal policy of not responding to "vaguebooking", I recently got suckered into responding by someone who not only did a vague update, she also requested that people message her with something "positive" about her in exchange for details on the situation. I really didn't care to know the details, but knew the "punishment" for not responding would be worse than my annoyance at being emotionally manipulated. Ugh.

Gigi said...

And this is just one of the many reasons I rarely hit FaceBook anymore.

phancymama said...

Vaguebooking drives me crazy! And I really get irritated when people ask what is going on, and the original poster replies that they just can't elaborate, it is too personal.

We need to update "if you can't say anything nice..." to "if you can't say all of it, don't say anything."

bluedaisy said...

Don't like those either but I'm going to try and ask one more time- what did you do about the parenting dilemma? Unless I overlooked the answer in the comments?

Swistle said...

bluedaisy- I updated the post itself.

Alexicographer said...

@phancymama, your comment led me to look up a quote by Tom Lehrer: "I wish people who have trouble communicating would just shut up." Words for the ages!

Michelle said...

I HATE the tease post. I won't even acknowledge them because then they win.

willikat said...

Vaguebooking! this is a great term I was unaware of. I also hate these and if they happen on a semi-regular basis, the people get blocked. Drives me nuts.

Lippy said...

I see so much of this. It absolutely drives me nuts.

phancymama said...

@Alexicographer great quote!

Charleen said...

I love that comment. As well as the mouseover text: "If you read all vaguebooking/vaguetweeting with the assumption that they're saying everything they can without revealing classified military information, the internet gets way more exciting."

Charleen said...

Comic. I love that comic. Not comment. Grr.

bluedaisy said...

Swistle- Oddly enough, that's the one place I didn't look-LOL! Sounds like it all worked out, which is great. Thanks and sorry for the unnecessary nag!

Angela said...

Passive-aggressive facebook comments are worse by far, though the vagueness does strike a particular nerve for me.

I actually had a huge falling out someone over her choice of being passive aggressive (including through facebook comments) rather than calling me and telling me what was going on. Plus other stuff, but that was one of the last straws.

Do you read Failbook? It's in the same vein as that xkcd comic.

Courtney said...

Swistle, I adore you. Preach it, Sister!