Do you have the “Me Too!” complex? If you’re scratching your head wondering what that is, then like my sister, you don’t have it. I seem to have it in spades. Like when I ask my single friend, how’re you doing and she says, “Well you know…I’m out there. Playing the field. I’ve had amazing first dates but nothing’s materializing.” And I respond with, “Me too! I was great on first dates and just couldn’t convert it to anything more.” And she looks at me with an expression that just says, “Huh?”
Yes, married to Mr. Niceguy with two lovely boys, a roof over my head, and really not much to complain about yet I’m still prey to the “Me too!” complex…
This syndrome, I have come to believe, mostly plagues those of us who care about what the other person is thinking, is needing, is wanting – to a fault! I don’t believe it has anything to do with self esteem: I’m a very confident person, most of the time, except when I’ve put on some water weight and I’m worrying that perhaps quitting a six-figure salary job downtown that most people covet wasn’t the right thing to do and whether my volunteering will ever lead me to something more than just a feeling like I’m doing something out of the goodness of my heart and convert to something material and whether I will be announced as the best teacher’s pet there ever was??!!
All that aside, I believe the complex stems from a need to relate; that basic human instinct of connecting to those around you. So, what does that mean for people like my sister who are just so confident and articulate and rather steadfast in their beliefs? Are they just more evolved? Have they moved away from that instinctive behavior that would draw humans together so that they may have better odds hunting large game? Or procreate? Build societies? Am I still a caveman? Cavewoman??!!
Recently I was at an Asian fusion restaurant with some friends and the inevitable happened when I declared that I don’t eat anything that calls a body of water its home.
Friend 1: “What?! No sushi?” Nope. Gross. Uncooked meat? No thank you.
Friend 2: “Really? Are you sure?” Yes. Quite positive. Been this way since about age 6 and the day my mom lied to me that the fish finger on my lunch plate was just a really fat french fry so I should just go ahead and eat it. Thanks mom, you can count yourself among the reasons for why I have a massive distrust of trying anything new that ‘tastes just like chicken!’
Friend 3: “How do you live?!” Oh, I’m a walking miracle. Seriously??!!
As one can glean, I’m quite strong about my position on seafood. One could say I’ve had a number of years of practice hardening my view on the whole subject matter, though I did mention that I’d tried a vegetarian roll and one with smoked duck (yummm….???) so perhaps that counts??? Ok, perhaps the view is not as hard as I thought…
In any case, this syndrome has a way of taking over sometimes…it’s the likeability factor. Like if we’re the same it’s more likely that you’ll like me, right? And the FOMO factor (Fear-Of-Missing-Out). Like if we’re not on the same page, perhaps we’re just not going to get along as well and then we’re not going to have shared experiences and build memories that we’ll end up cherishing forever like the kindred spirits we could potentially be. Total neurosis??
The “Me too!” complex reminds me of when a group of kids gang up on another in the playground. I recall this happening to me…
Back when I was growing up during an idyllic childhood in Saudi Arabia – believe it or not it was – I was part of a group of four girlfriends (Sex and the City in the making at age 9!) One of us (not me) was the leader who seemed to decide everything: what we’d play during recess, which boys we’d like, and who from the rest of us would be at the bottom of the pecking order any given week. I recall when she tried to make me the bottom. I was terrified. I didn’t want my group of friends to turn on me so I made up some story about how naturally talented I was in tap dancing (never having had a lesson in my life) and quite literally, tap danced my way back to an upper rung. She, however, seeing that now that the bottom spot had been left vacant, decided to throw down my other friend, the one I felt closest to in the four. Something woke up inside me. I felt a sort of responsibility toward my friend – because of me and my quick thinking (on my feet, no pun intended) she was now the one to be shunned. I somehow found my voice and said, “No. We’re not going to play with you anymore. You’re mean. I like her, she’s my friend and you can’t be the boss of us.” We broke off and were blissfully happy off on our own. FOMO or no FOMO.
Yet today, somehow I still find myself in that playground from time to time. It’s hard to hear your own voice in all the noise. Sometimes it takes me a few “Me too’s” followed by geez…why did I say/do that?! to remember my own. As for the relating, perhaps we don’t have to feel exactly what the other person is feeling to be able to relate? I mean, there is a large scale of relativity, is there not? Yet it sure feels good when once again I find myself in a situation where I’ve seemingly put myself on the outs for declaring something, and someone else leans over and says, “Ya, I can’t stand the smell of seafood either!”