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Too many tweets?
November 20, 2012 3:46 AM   Subscribe

So I have a friend who is constantly tweeting and texting on her phone. (For what it's worth, I'm a 33-year-old man, and she's a 30-year-old woman.) When we hang out, she makes an effort to stop playing with her phone as I've told her it annoys me. However, a few days ago, I looked at her Twitter page for the first time and saw that she has over 14,000 tweets. (And no, she is not a celebrity.) This really bothers me. I actually feel I don't want to be friends with her anymore, because I think anyone who has to tweet that often, every day, is awfully narcissistic. Am I being too harsh? This is the kind of behavior we would expect from a teenager, but she's 30. And for whatever this is worth, she also happens to have a PhD in psychology... so I feel like she should be able to see this about herself already, but doesn't.
posted by fac21 to Human Relations (95 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
 
If this person holds down a job (a PhD-job, at that) and is a productive member of society and puts their phone away when you ask, you are being hella judgey. Your prerogative to be judgey, of course, but I have roughly the same amount of tweets and if I knew a friend thought I was narcissistic on those grounds and was cutting me slack by remaining friends with me, I would seriously rethink my friendship with them.
posted by griphus at 3:50 AM on November 20, 2012 [117 favorites]


Are her tweets pure comedy gold, or more along the lines of "this is my lunch, OMG, LOL"? In the first case, I'd be pretty cool with that. In the latter, I'd have no problem if she wasn't tweeting while we were hanging out.

On the other hand, if she's tweeting utter banality while you're together.....
posted by Prof Iterole at 3:55 AM on November 20, 2012


Twitter is used by people in so many different ways that it's really sort of impossible to assess anything based on number of tweets, celebrity status or not.

No worries, though! Before the Internet, people brought friendships to a close without having to use social media as Exhibit A. As antiquated as it might seem, that option is still open to you.
posted by gnomeloaf at 3:56 AM on November 20, 2012 [12 favorites]


what griphus said.....

it is not her tweeting that is really bothering you so before you go all judgy on her ass, let her read this ask and take the inevitable action.
posted by Wilder at 3:57 AM on November 20, 2012


The answer depends on the content and frequency of her tweets.
Is it a new tweet every 15 minutes? Or a few day over the past few years?

Does she have something to say of value and interest? Or is she tweeting about nothing?
posted by Flood at 3:59 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Giving someone a diagnosis of narcissism instead of asking them to stop tweeting when you hang out is the kind of behavior one would expect from a teenager, but you're 33.

Yes, you're being too harsh.
posted by rhythm and booze at 4:01 AM on November 20, 2012 [31 favorites]


Is she tweeting in response to other's tweets, or just tweeting mostly her own thoughts? The reason I ask is because I've made a lot of friends through twitter and we use it kind of like a chat platform. A lot of my tweets are just chatting to and responding to other's tweets, and only about 5% are "off my own bat" so to speak.

You might be judging that she is a chatty person who is actually interested in what other tweeters have to say, rather than someone who is blathering on about what they're thinking//eating/looking at every five seconds.
posted by Zaire at 4:02 AM on November 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


You can't tell anything from number of tweets alone.

What's narcissistic is diagnosing other people with personality disorders because they're doing something you don't do.
posted by tel3path at 4:05 AM on November 20, 2012 [29 favorites]


I've 8,000 or so comments on Metafilter (and a LOT of them are longer than 140 characters)... I don't consider myself narcissistic, and I would probably cut ties with someone who saw my love of interacting on the meta as problematic.

You're a different kind of person (check your posting history here), your mode/style/method of communication is different...

Let her be, it's her thing...
posted by HuronBob at 4:08 AM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


'I'm dumping you as a friend.'

'Huh?'

'Yes, you do too much tweeting.'

'Says who?'

'All those people I asked on that website.'

'Which people?'

'Don't actually know them, but they told me I must do it. Sorry.'
posted by Kiwi at 4:10 AM on November 20, 2012 [79 favorites]


Oh get over yourself.

She made an effort to facilitate your desires. Then you searched harder to find problems.

I actually feel I don't want to be friends with her anymore, because I think anyone who has to tweet that often, every day, is awfully narcissistic.

You're entirely entitled to have this bizarre idea. Off you go.

This is the kind of behavior we would expect from a teenager, but she's 30.

Twitter is generally a Gen-X sort of habit. Your expectations of both teens and twitter are weird and are not borne out by reality.

so I feel like she should be able to see this about herself already, but doesn't.

She should feel the way you feel but she doesn't? Shock and/or horror. Best of luck finding someone who fits in with your preconceptions.
posted by pompomtom at 4:10 AM on November 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


I have 128 tweets and I think that is embarrassingly too many. About 11 of them have real substance. I still can't figure out the link between being my friend and how many tweets I may have though. If it is simply a numbers game, what it the number you would cut someone off at?

Heck, my kids text about 3500 times each kid per month. They have about 15 minutes in actual talk time. I ain't cutting them off.

Why not just ignore her tweets and decide if you want to be her friend based on her direct interaction with you?
posted by AugustWest at 4:14 AM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I have about 15,000 tweets. I don't think I'm narcissistic. I think that you're being awfully judgmental. People tweet for a whole bunch of reasons. I like to make jokes. Others like to talk to other people. If it makes her feel good, why shouldn't she do it?

I mean, what does the number of tweets mean AT ALL when it comes to what you mean to each other as friends. I honestly think you have no idea what the word "friend" means if you're willing to dump her over such a weirdly random thing.
posted by inturnaround at 4:15 AM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have a private twitter account which I use (relatively) infrequently. I just checked and found that I have issued over 3,500 tweets in the last three years. Looking back, I think most of these arose from conversations (or 10-tweet trains of thought [I'm bad at brevity]), rather than a steady "three tweets a day" during that time. The size of this number surprised me—I don't even like Twitter! But 14,000 is in no way a huge number for such a short-form, conversational medium.
posted by distorte at 4:17 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


That's 14,000 tweets total, not daily. Twitter's daily limit is 1k, and it's hard to top that unless you're a spammer, a constant retweeter, or some major event is going on in your backyard. My count is at about 7,000, I've had my account for years, and there are plenty of days where I'm silent.

Some people tweet as a way of maintaining a professional network. Some people get their news via Twitter, and some people share interesting blogs/pages/videos/photos that you might not find elsewhere. Some people use it for banalities, but many don't.

It sounds like you're pretty unfamiliar with Twitter, or may not have experienced the good parts of it. Have you even read her tweets (if she's shared her username with you)?

It's rude to look at one's phone when hanging out with others, but that's frequently out of habit and an addiction to stimulation, not narcissism. You can ask her to stop, and you have a right to get annoyed if she persists. But equating Twitter with narcissism makes you look judgmental and, frankly, out of touch.
posted by Metroid Baby at 4:20 AM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


So, you came on to a website to complain about how your friend uses another website. Good going, slick.

You attribute all these negetive qualities to her based on one of her activities- WHY? Cause unless that activity is kicking babies- that itself is a little immature. Even if her tweeting is banal and silly, does that mean she is no longer kind, or funny or smart or a good poker player, or whatever it is that made you two friends in the first place? Your friends shouldn't have to check with you to make sure all of they're hobbies meet your expectation of coolness.
posted by Blisterlips at 4:21 AM on November 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Just for info: some apps enable you to link facebook status changes, tweets, google+ posts, etc., so that when you post to one, it is reposted to the others.
posted by aroberge at 4:23 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Friendships built on contempt are unhealthy. Yes, you should stop being friends with her. It's not a question of whether you're being too harsh -- it's a question of how you feel about your supposed friend. For what it's worth, I think something is going on other than the twitter, but I don't see how that changes anything.
posted by J. Wilson at 4:24 AM on November 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Blisterlips: I don't have a problem with anyone using the internet or any other website. My issue is, where do we draw the line between healthy and unhealthy? I believe most anything can be healthy and enjoyable when it's in moderation. I just wanted to feel people out to see how much is TOO much when it comes to broadcasting what we're eating for lunch.
posted by fac21 at 4:32 AM on November 20, 2012


One of the people I follow tweets about a hundred times a day, but they're all funny little slices of life. Tweets take seconds to compose and are chatty bits of ephemera.

If you are diagnosing someone as a narcissist for something that minor, you have been lucky enough not to encounter any real narcissists.
posted by winna at 4:36 AM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


I would only be concerned with my friends' tweeting volume if they were posting about other people in a way that disrespected their privacy. If you want to end your friendship, do so, but this is a nonsense reason.
posted by snickerdoodle at 4:42 AM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


I really doubt that you're qualified to know what is healthy or unhealthy internet behavior for your friend.

Keep in mind that many people use Twitter as a sort of out-of-sync chat client to keep up with their friends. She may have that many tweets because of ongoing conversations with groups of people who she doesn't have enough of a chance to see in person.

Like seriously, this is your friend, not your girlfriend. Unless you know something you're not telling us here, you don't know enough about this situation for your judgement to be anything other than arbitrary and kind of mean.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 4:42 AM on November 20, 2012 [18 favorites]


My issue is, where do we draw the line between healthy and unhealthy?

Probably around the point where it starts impairing one's life. Yeah, spending all your time on the phone when you are with someone is really annoying, but then so is looking at the number of tweets someone has and deciding that the simple number of them alone, ignoring the time they occurred over or the content, is proof of some kind of problematic interaction with the website.

You don't have to be friends with her for this or any other reason. But "she has tweeted too many times in her life" (and not "she never puts down her phone") is an odd one to choose.
posted by jeather at 4:42 AM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have way more tweets than that. The vast majority of them are not broadcasting my lunch, they're conversations with faraway friends who I miss, and delight in being able to chitchat with throughout the day. I'm not saying I'm NOT narcissistic, I'm saying the sheer *number* of my tweets tells you nothing about the content of my tweets or my heart.

Once in a while I catch myself reaching to pick up the phone and check in on people, or tell a funny story, when I'm out with local friends. And then I stop myself and mentally slap my own wrist because I 'm being an asshole.

It's all a bit more nuanced than just "that person uses technology differently than I do and that's bad."
posted by Stacey at 4:47 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The trouble is, fac21, I don't care how many tweets someone has- as long as they respect my wishes about not being tweeted around.

You think her tweeting might be unhealthy, so you want to friend-dump her. Uhh- I think if that were true you would be on here looking for a way to phrase your concern. You think her tweeting makes her undesireable as a friend. That is all well and good, but it's not about being concerned about health.
posted by Blisterlips at 4:47 AM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I feel there may be a generational or age gap here. It's normal for younger people to be attached to the internet and, as a younger person myself, I feel it is all too common for older folks to unfairly label it as addiction. This is new behavior and it is becoming standard.
posted by WCF at 4:49 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


The tweet count element of your post is silly to the point of being ridiculous. I have 27,000+ tweets. Many of my colleagues have many more. Many of us use it as a combination of work (passing on and amplifying information, discussion). Making a tweet takes a few seconds. Making a retweet takes a fraction of a second.

No, the problem isn't with your friend. Over the years I've met many people who have an irrational dislike of other people they know using the Internet. In every case - and I am thinking of specific people - the complainer was a talkative, need-to-be-the-center-of-attention person who felt threatened, angry, that other people were doing things online instead of paying attention to them.

It's not your friend. For a more accurate example of narcissism, look in the mirror.
posted by Wordshore at 4:50 AM on November 20, 2012 [18 favorites]


My issue is, where do we draw the line between healthy and unhealthy?

Whatever one decides is appropriate for themselves. This is none of your business. You're already not being a friend to this woman by sneaking around and judging her like this. You can't stand that she tweets but you just had to load up her profile to find out exactly how much you don't like it. Then you "feel people out" on a second (but I guess more acceptable?) website to see if they agree with you that your friend is, in fact, the worst for all her tweets.

That's pretty weird, dude.

You're under no obligation to read your friend's twitter feed and she is under no obligation to make it interesting to you. Leave it alone if it's not your thing but this is pretty normal for people of all ages nowadays. Honestly, this question leaves me suspecting there are unresolved things between this friend and yourself that didn't make it into the text of the question. Address that stuff and be decent to your friend going forward or do her a favor and let her be if her harmless behavior is such a huge barrier for your respect.
posted by EatTheWeak at 4:54 AM on November 20, 2012 [6 favorites]


Oh, and ask yourself: 14,000 tweets is too many? Fine, what's the lowest acceptable number of them for a woman her age in your estimation?

Does that figure sound arbitrary to you? Is it possible the same is true of 14,000?
posted by EatTheWeak at 4:55 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


If someone focused to exclusion on one hobby and that hobby was, oh, running marathons or writing violin sonatas, you probably wouldn't be this judgey. The fact that her hobby is purely for amusement rather than serious business is unimportant, it's her hobby, it is not impinging upon your life. Leave it alone, base your feelings toward her on your actual interactions with her.
posted by anaelith at 4:57 AM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Eh, I think the answers are a bit harsh here. I don't understand Twitter at all - all I know is that "shit my dad says" one. It's sort of like texting to the masses? Anyway, I hate it when people have to constantly text, so I understand. I will text if I'm in line or watching TV, but I don't see it as more than on-my-terms, convenient info sharing, though it seems as though some others consider it to be a stand-alone pastime or hobby, like Twitter.

But I digress...what is really bothering you? It isn't the Tweeting per se, is it? Why does it make you mad? Because I think that's what people here are reacting to...Tweeting isn't killing puppies; it isn't even as annoying as talking on your cell on the subway. There's something else, real, that's bugging you underneath it, and people would respond favorably to discussing that thing.

I think. Or you and I could just be weird.
posted by Punctual at 4:58 AM on November 20, 2012


I appreciate everyone's comments here so far, you've given me a lot to chew on.

I feel like I should fill in more of the picture here. My friend is simply addicted to her phone, to a point I feel that is obnoxious. She is That Person who is constantly staring at it when we are hanging out. I actually have to send her text messages while we are in the same room to say, "Hi, do you want to interact with the real-life person in front of you?" A few days ago when she arrived at my front door, she was staring at her phone while I opened the door, and as she walked into my living room, she kept her head down, staring at her phone, not even bothering to look up at me. I cannot make this up.
posted by fac21 at 4:58 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Gotcha. So what if the thing in her hand were a book? Or a kitten?

I think what is bothering you is you like her more than she likes you.
posted by Punctual at 5:02 AM on November 20, 2012 [15 favorites]


When we hang out, she makes an effort to stop playing with her phone as I've told her it annoys me.

ok- so this part is the problem, and you looked for hard evidence and you found her tweets. I read that line and heard "she is not doing it around me anymore."

if she's not making enough of an effort- that's a totally different thing. You can do whatever you like- and lean into her about the phone, but it has nothing to do with what she does when you aren't with her. She should tweet and text and surf to her hearts content- and you shouldn't have an opinion on THAT.
posted by Blisterlips at 5:06 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Trust your gut, this is far from normal. We have to have the courage to call it out when you see this, not make a million excuses as many have tried to do here.

Think of it this way... Remove twitter. It would be the equivalent of calling every person on her contact list, repeatedly around every little event that happens to her or thought that comes to her mind. And... Taking every call that comes to her.

That's not normal.

Part of deciding on friendships is to understand their world, not just what you see. You were right to look into this and you found disturbing behavior. You are allowed to make a judgment.

In the end, I doubt you can see her as a normal friend, therefore, let it go.
posted by Kruger5 at 5:06 AM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Is this when the two of you are alone, sitting doing nothing but spending time together, or is there music playing, TV on, cooking happening...? I'm not sure if you're exaggerating "constantly staring at [her phone]" when you earlier said that she's made an effort to curtail that. Which is it?

Apologies if I'm doubting your reporting, but I did actually have a third and last date with someone fairly recently where we were at a rock show, and during one of the sets (when I could not have been chatting with him, and was already distracted by the music) I received a text from a mutual friend asking for driving instructions to the club. As I texted this friend back, my date reached over and took the phone out of my hand, scolding me that I shouldn't be using my phone when I'm around other people. As I said... third and last date. He showed no interest in why I was using my phone or to whom I was communicating. He just decided that he knew better than I did whether or not my phone use was acceptable, with no context. So I may be reading into your attitude a bit, based on my negative experience with anti-cellphone people (particularly as I and your friend are women and you and my former date are men).
posted by pammeke at 5:09 AM on November 20, 2012 [29 favorites]


So what if the thing in her hand were a book? Or a kitten?

Or an apple? Or an orange! Because some things are not like other things! (You wouldn't make the same comparison for someone who made outgoing voice calls on a landline while you were sitting around.)

Saying "X is glued to her mobile phone when we're together" is a bit less weirdly judgemental than "X has lots of tweets"; if you want your interpersonal time together to be "phones down" time, then tell her, and if she physically can't manage it, then call it quits.
posted by holgate at 5:12 AM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


It's fine that you don't like it and that you make choices about whether / how you spend time with this person according to what you do and don't like. Lots of people (including me) would be irritated by your friend(?)'s habits. You're getting blowback here because you're trying to reframe a subjective problem (you don't like it) as an objective shortcoming (X# of tweets is too many). Other people are under no obligation to hew to your preferences.
posted by jon1270 at 5:12 AM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


You might find iDisorder a useful book to read. It deals with the idea that some forms of modern technology may make us unwell - particularly people prone to OCD or depression.

If you believe your friend has a problem, if your friend believes she has a problem she wants to deal with, then the book also has steps to deal with each issue.

A heavy tech user friend of mine introduced me to it. I bought it for myself. I don't think my friend was telling me I have a problem, but he just said it was an interesting read. And it is.
posted by MuffinMan at 5:13 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


You're allowed to not be friends with anybody for any reason you want.
posted by empath at 5:17 AM on November 20, 2012 [9 favorites]


The whole "phone all the time while we're hanging out" thing had me, but seriously, if you're judging people on their lifetime total of tweets, that's just freaking weird. Some people tweet a lot. You're not even going based on tweets over some period of time, just... ever?

Maybe you just want an excuse not to be friends with this person, and you know, you don't need it, you don't have to be friends with them. But if you want to have some kind of Come to Jesus with her about her tweeting when you're basing your judgments on numbers, not on how it's actually impacting her life? You might as well choose your friends based on how many favorites they have, or how many calories they've eaten, or their social security numbers.
posted by gracedissolved at 5:19 AM on November 20, 2012


So your only stated question appears to be "Am I being too harsh?" The hivemind seems to be saying, "Yes, pretty much, it's her thing and let her do it."

But your real question is, do I want to continue to be friends with her? And the answer to that is what you've said yourself, "I actually feel I don't want to be friends with her anymore." So don't. You're not going to change her, she is who she is and does what she does.
posted by beagle at 5:20 AM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


There's the two parts of this that bother me. Already mentioned the tweets. But the rest is the judgemental, and arguably patronising and condescending, language you use to describe your friend:

... awfully narcissistic ... expect from a teenager ... a PhD in psychology ... so I feel like she should be able to see this about herself already, but doesn't ...

There's something unpleasant and a bit demeaning about how you describe her, and perhaps the twitter number and looking at her tweets amplifies this. Perhaps you're looking at the number of tweets to try and justify to yourself that she is inferior to you in some way?
posted by Wordshore at 5:25 AM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


So is the problem that she never puts down her phone when you're together -- not that she is using it while getting to your place and waiting at the door, that's not abnormal (what do you want her to do at the door, stand there in joyful expectation of it opening?) -- or is it that you are looking for a reason to not hang out with her anymore?

I don't think you need to be friends with her. But "uses her phone for 30 seconds coming into my house" and "tweets a lot" just don't strike me as terrible failures. It's not clear under what circumstances you have to text her while you're in the same room -- if you were supposed to be doing something together, or you were just sort of hanging out for a while each doing your own thing.

If the way she interacts with technology bothers you, you absolutely can stop hanging out with her. You don't need it to be a judgement proving that your way is objectively better than hers, it can just be styles which don't mesh.
posted by jeather at 5:26 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I don't know what to tell you. Go head and cut her loose, it sounds like this really bugs you and like neither one of you are having fun when you're together. Quite frankly, if someone sent me a nagging text about interacting with them and not my phone while we were hanging out, that would be the last time we hung out cuz yikes, really?

It doesn't matter your reasons for wanting to end this friendship - they're yours so go head and own them. It's weird that you want internet strangers to sign onto your judgment of this woman. Everyone has to make these kinds of decisions for themselves.

Not so long ago, I took a big step back from a friend because she would get all butthurt and irritated when I would get a text in her presence and feeling her scrutiny and judgment over how I conducted my own communications made hanging out with her super tense and a total drag. I really didn't like being made responsible for soothing her insecurity and I doubt your friend enjoys it much either.

Go head and cut her loose, do yourselves both a favor.
posted by EatTheWeak at 5:39 AM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


While we're diagnosing people, it sounds like you're projecting your own fears about your inadequacy, perhaps your unpopularity or your fears of being narcissistic on her.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:42 AM on November 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


If she's the one suggesting that you hang out, next time she does you can say "listen, I really get frustrated when you say we should hang out but then you spend the whole time staring at your phone. It's a mixed signal thing and it makes me feel like you actually don't want to spend time with me after all so I wonder why you bothered. So do you really want to hang out or what, because I'd rather not hang out with someone who actually doesn't want to interact with me. Lemme know."

Twitter isn't the issue here. The fact that she's glued to her phone to the point that it's cutting into time with you is a valid thing, though, and you can definitely call her on it.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:43 AM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


You have every right to not want to hang out with her anymore, for whatever reason you want. You don't have to tell her this is about her phone.

I think being glued to one's phone is a crappy thing to do when in the presence of others, but that's what she's like and you're not going to change it. Just stop being so available to her and try to see her less often. No need for a big dramatic Friends Breakup.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 5:47 AM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Your follow-up is a little confusing. Is she making an effort to put down the phone around you, or is she still doing it? Is it the tweeting that specifically bothers you, or is that just a symptom of "she's always looking at her phone"?

I think you can boil it down to this: She does something that bothers you. You're free to ask her to stop. She's free to oblige, or not, as she wishes. Either of you is free, at any time, to decide the friendship's not worth the hassle.

If you've asked her to stop and she's not making an effort, all you can do is hang out with her less. Everything else is just drama.
posted by Metroid Baby at 5:51 AM on November 20, 2012


Just to give you a different perspective here: I have been accused of being addicted to my phone. I also have ADD and a not-insignificant (but people probably don't believe me anyway) degree of social anxiety.

My phone is my comfort object; it helps me pass my time without getting antsy. Also, I don't necessarily trust myself to remember things later, like texting my husband to pick up some milk or remembering an idea for a work project. My phone helps me do and remember things when I need them, which means I don't freak out at weird times trying to track stuff down. What to some people looks abnormal is my way of being more normal.

You can't necessarily see what people are doing, nor why. What would you say if the shoe was on the other foot? "I have this 'friend' for whom I've modified my behavior, and explained why I do things (though I really shouldn't have to, and he doesn't seem to care anyway), yet he still gives me dirty looks every time I put my phone away. It makes me feel like he's prioritizing some made-up standard over everything we've shared as friends. What gives? Should I cut him loose?"
posted by Madamina at 5:51 AM on November 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


Oh, and also, I'm not saying this is the case, but this kind of critical contemptuousness is typical of some men who have been romantically rejected. If you feel romantically rejected by her, perhaps you should give yourself space instead of continuing to participate in an extended sour grapes "here is why she sucks despite her fancy PhD" grumble friendship.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:53 AM on November 20, 2012 [31 favorites]


I'm 28. I have over 15,000 tweets, but I've also been on Twitter since like 2008 or something, and the bulk of those tweets are actually replies to other people. I do, you know, *interact* on Twitter, not broadcast my lunches or bowel movements, and each of those interactions counts as one tweet. Do you *use* Twitter? Are you aware of how and why people tweet? Or are you just going off the pop culture joke that everyone is tweeting their meals?

Now, that said, I'm obsessed with my phone. There's two reasons for that.

(1) As a young-ish female who frequently travels alone in large cities, I make a very concerted effort never to look confused or lost, or to appear to be inviting interaction from strangers. This is a defense mechanism for me. Since the advent of smartphones, my way of doing this is to check my email, or read MetaFilter, or do whatever, while I'm waiting for someone outside a restaurant or on some street corner, because the LAST thing I want to do is look around aimlessly. Unfortunately this defense mechanism has carried over into situations where I am perfectly safe (such as being out with my partner) and my reflex to automatically pick up my phone whenever I'm not actively interacting with someone is strong. My partner has politely (and sometimes not so politely) worked on getting me to stop doing that reflexively, and I have improved. But realize that there's a reason beyond narcissism, or just plain rudeness, that she may be doing this.

(2) I telecommute from a different timezone than the rest of my company. There's an expectation that I at least pay attention to phone calls or emails until a certain hour in case something urgent comes up. I don't have to reply to every email right away, I just need to know whether or not something important comes in and deal with it if so.

Look, ascribing this to her just purposely being rude or narcissistic is not going to help your case with her. Try to understand why she does this and work on that reasoning, don't just announce to her that it's bad and be a dick about it. And yeah, everyone else is right. At some point, just stop hanging out with her if you can't handle it.
posted by olinerd at 5:54 AM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Woah, you hit a nerve here!

Does she tweet too much? No - nobody can tweet 'too much' - if you don't like her tweets, don't look at her twitter. (I am actually laughing after reading that sentence out loud. I love the future).

Is her over-engagement with her phone when she is trying to socialize unhealthy? -- if it's getting in the way of a friendship she wants to maintain and other relationships, maybe, but it's her choice to make.

You already addressed the phone thing with her, so if she doesn't cut it out, just stop hanging out with her. If she wants to nurture her virtual life over her real one, there's not much you can do about it, I'm afraid.

It sounds like you don't like her that much anymore, anyway! I think the reason you've angered some folks here is that you're trying to diagnose her or paint her as a narcissist in an attempt to fix her or something. You just aren't compatible as friends!
posted by pazazygeek at 6:04 AM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


It sounds like the "is this too many tweets" is just a proxy for "this person is more plugged in to the internet than to our friendship". That's a legitimate problem. Scale back the hanging out! You are busy this month, you'll get in touch, etc.

Honestly, I think your friend may be more to be pitied than censured - I noticed last night that while I was trying to have an actual meaningfu (gmail) chat with a friend about a problem they were having, I was also drawn to clicking around on metafilter - not because I didn't care about my friend, but because I've developed some really bad attention-span habits due to too much internet. It was kind of a wake-up call for me. If your friend is an anxious or depressive person, she may not be ignoring you as much as unable to help herself.

But that doesn't mean you have to have a friendship which is frustrating and uncomfortable for you!
posted by Frowner at 6:11 AM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


I want to preface what I am saying by the fact that I think Twitter is the worst and most of the stuff I have seen on it tends to be vacuous self-centered nonsense.

That said, it must be admitted that it does have some useful applications. Back when I was doing improv comedy, the person who was always best at pulling together audiences was - you guessed it, the twitter girl. She would just send out one tweet and bam - packed audience! It was rather remarkable.

Also, bear in mind that some people use twitter in a way similar to metafilter - instead of tweeting about what they had for breakfast, they post links to interesting stuff. Others use it professionally, to post links to interesting applications or projects that they are working on.

Similarly, 14000 tweets could refer to short uninteresting posts, or it could actually be 1000 posts that are well thought out but exceed the character limit, so each one is made up of multiple tweets.

My point is that Twitter and social media should be utterly unrelated to your relationship, and the fact that you're judging her based on that sounds very presumptuous. I will grant you that you have a problem if she's constantly ignoring you to look at her phone, but don't extend the parameters of the problem to her use of social media, which is none of your business. Limit the issue to how she treats you.

If your friend is constantly using the phone and ignoring you when you say something, she's being rude. Reciprocate by snapping your fingers in front of her phone to get her attention. Eventually, you'll either lose the friendship (such as it is) or train her to rejoin normal human society. Either one of these options seems acceptable to you, from what it sounds like, so this is a win-win.
posted by wolfdreams01 at 6:17 AM on November 20, 2012 [8 favorites]


Geez, people are harsh. She sounds like a drag to be around. Who wants to hang out with someone who barely even looks you in the eye? I say step back this friendship for your own peace of mind. You need a break from her.
posted by agregoli at 6:18 AM on November 20, 2012 [20 favorites]


I use Twitter quite a bit - it suited me more than Facebook, which I don't use anymore because I can't be bothered with it, so it's the only chat-to-my-friends thing I use (I dislike 'social networking', it suggests I'm using it to network rather than to tell people about funny things I've seen.) I have very few numbers in my phone because I only phone a very small number of people; I tend to e-mail people or even Tweet them to arrange things rather than texting or calling. Most people I follow or who follow me are people I have known online or in real life for years and in one case near a decade. I used Livejournal back in the day and most of the people there, who became actual real friends, migrated to Twitter. It feels comfortable. It's fun. I'm also 30 and I didn't have a mobile on a regular basis until recently, so I never was a text addict and just got used to communicating with people online.

People who don't use Twitter think that it's either full of celebrities or full of people talking about their breakfast. It's not, unless you want it to be. It's just another form of communicating with people. Most of the people I follow are not teenagers, many of them are older than me, few of them are famous in the household name sort of way (I'm pretty sure my mum hasn't heard of Lou Barlow or Darren Hayman). My teenage relatives use Facebook, which is so widespread now that few people would find it odd for a person to use daily.

Constant phone use is irritating when it excludes others. It's possible she has a short attention span (I'm not going to diagnose the psychiatric condition ADD in a stranger, thanks) or, like me, is a compulsive reader who gets slightly anxious when there's nothing to read, or just really likes staying in touch with friends. It's possible she's rude. It's possible she doesn;'t have that much to say to you. But if it bothers you this much, maybe you and her are not compatible.

And if you bring it up again, I wouldn't take the 'but you studied psychology, so you must be able to diagnose strange and possibly disordered behaviour in yourself duh!' line. I've got a degree in Linguistics but it doesn't make me any better at French kissing.
posted by mippy at 6:21 AM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


Here's my take: Being concerned about how many tweets she's made--not very reasonable.

Being concerned that she doesn't say hi to you or acknowledge you when you open the door, but instead continues to use her phone--very reasonable.

I think that, if you do decide to continue your friendship, it will be helpful to focus on making specific requests about her behavior during the time you spend together. What she does--with her phone, with Twitter, with anything--when you're not together isn't something you need to worry about.
posted by overglow at 6:25 AM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


I have over 30,000 tweets (and years on Twitter).

Why so many?

- Livetweeting 4-6 conferences a year.
- Using Twitter as a way to communicate with the classes I teach.
- Using Twitter as a way to share news.
- Using Twitter as a way to share research.
- Using Twitter to coordinate.

I think that it is weird that you assume that this is narcissistic behavior.
posted by k8t at 6:26 AM on November 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


When she's over and using her phone, have you asked her to put it away somewhere out of reach? Like, to go put her phone on the kitchen table (if you're in the living room) or give you her purse to hold on to, so that she can't just absent-mindedly check her notifications and see her incoming texts.

Conversation over the internet really feels a lot like conversation in person. If you two were out at lunch and a friend of hers walked up and said hi, she would respond. Online, the person she's tweeting back and forth with doesn't have the information to realize they should be tapering off the conversation, and it can feel really rude to just ignore them. The only way not to have her sending response texts is to have her not be seeing the texts in the first place.

There may be some practical reasons why she doesn't want to be untethered from her phone - I know I'd feel bad about it if my partner texted me with something urgent and I didn't see it - but I think you can find work-arounds for those, like having her text anyone who might send urgent news and telling them to call instead. Or if she's in the middle of a conversation with someone, telling them that she's got to go AFK but will talk to them later.
posted by Lady Li at 6:34 AM on November 20, 2012


So you don't do anything that's remotely over-obsessive? It sounds like you don't like to use the internet frequently or you weren't heavily influenced by it while growing up, therefore you think everyone else that uses it significantly is untrained and behaves poorly. You think everyone else should be like you: a person who uses the internet moderately. Tweeting is her hobby. People that enjoy a hobby often become very active in it.

How many hours of TV do you watch in a week? Has anyone ever asked you a question while you were in the middle of watching football and you say something along the lines of "Hang on a second, can you wait until commercial?" Insert some activity in place of "TV" and you are essentially doing the exact same thing as your friend.

Just because you don't prioritze tweeting, doesn't mean you should put someone down for it. I'm sure you are just obsessive as your friend, just in a different activity. Should people be making assumptions about you if you make X posts on metafilter, or watch X hours of TV, or you listen to X bands?

No. Instead, you should make assumptions about people based on who they are in person. If you want to put your friend down for being rude and texting in the middle of a person-to-person conversation, that's one thing. It's another thing to put her entire personality down based on her hobbies and activities.
posted by nikkorizz at 6:37 AM on November 20, 2012


Oh, and to clarify my above - it's not your job to fix her compulsive phone checking. But it may just not have occurred to her that she CAN go leave her phone somewhere across the room, or that she should, or that when you say 'stop texting' what you really want is, 'don't have any text conversations with someone else while we're hanging out, at all' (as opposed to 'have fewer conversations' or 'have shorter ones').
posted by Lady Li at 6:38 AM on November 20, 2012


If your interaction with her is suffering or you find her annoying when she's in her standard mode of interaction, tell her again. If It continues to be an issue, you'll want to hang out with her less and things will move in that direction.

I don't know that there need to be concrete numbers or evidence for admitting that you find hanging out with someone more annoying than fulfilling. That's a personal preference.

In short, unless you have concrete evidence that this is negatively affecting her life, it is your problem, not hers.
posted by mikeh at 6:42 AM on November 20, 2012


I feel like I should fill in more of the picture here. My friend is simply addicted to her phone, to a point I feel that is obnoxious. She is That Person who is constantly staring at it when we are hanging out.

You're right in that this is the kind of habit that leads people to miss things, even little things, in the world around them. In certain cases, this can lead to a cheapening of life.

But it's not up to you to decide whether somebody's missing too much of the world due to their phone. Maybe the things they see in that tiny box are vital and exciting in ways that small details in the world around her wouldn't be.

Is she incapable of keeping up with you in conversation? Does it feel that she's not actually THERE because her phone distracts her? Then, sure, you have a beef with her. Tell her to cut that shit out, you're hanging out with her to spend time with her. But otherwise, think of it as just a weird physical tic, like involuntary smiling or twitching. Don't judge.

(Perhaps what's annoying to you is the visual reminder that she isn't paying attention to every detail of every moment she spends with you. But even those of us who don't check phones around other people are lost in our own heads half the time. Accept this as an unpleasant reminder of a universal truth and leave it alone.)
posted by Rory Marinich at 6:42 AM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm somewhat a narcissist and have zero tweets, as I don't use Twitter. I can't see the connection. Maybe your friend is just bored when she hangs out with you? If you want her to stop playing with her phone, maybe you should try some new activities.

Also, I don't think you're "too harsh" or "judgy" if you decide to end the friendship. You'd just be you. If you feel uncomfortable in a friendship with someone addicted to social media, it's your good right to step out of it and spend your time with people who are more like you. I would probably be annoyed too if a friend permantly posts stuff on Twitter or Facebook. Not because I'd think they are narcissists (that's fine by me), but because they show very different priorities and I simply can't understand what Twitter, Facebook and such are even good for. "Staying in touch with friends" can't be it, as a person using it to escape a hangout situation with a friend does the opposite.
So, I would consider ending such a friendship for the same reasons I'd consider if the person was completely obsessed/permanently busy with something else I can't relate to at all. It doesn't make them a bad person, just a person I don't have enough in common with to consider them a friend.
posted by MinusCelsius at 6:51 AM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Another thought which might put this into perspective. I had a wee look over your previous questions, and a lot of them are about identifying particular types of clothing or accessories. Some may see this as narcissistic - having to have the 'right' type of trainers, or the 'right' sunglasses, and infer that you are shallow, psychologically affected by the perceptions of wealth and taste held by others, or a marketing-led putz. Others would see this as normal - they're really into brands, or they're really into trainers, or they remember wanting this one particular thing and going to some lengths to find it. You might see this as a tiny part of your life that just happened to involve finding out where those cool trainers were from, but to people who don't get the brand thing or aren't into clothes, it might be presumed as overly interested in status and looks - based on a small piece of personal info.

I know you know this person, but you seem to have taken a small piece of data from her - 14,000 tweets - and extrapolated this to assume that she is narcissistic, unaware of her flaws, displaying arrested development, and possibly has a psychological addiction to using a website.

Can you see why some of the answers here might be harsh?
posted by mippy at 6:59 AM on November 20, 2012 [15 favorites]


Like k8t, twitter is expected for networking in my field. You wouldn't know I was networking from looking at my tweets, though. It's mostly pictures of my cat.

If she's already stepped back on the phone use while you're together, then everything is fine. Don't go looking for problems that aren't there.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 7:05 AM on November 20, 2012


I just wanted to feel people out to see how much is TOO much when it comes to broadcasting what we're eating for lunch.

I feel like the majority of what people post on twitter, facebook, in their blogs, &c. is totally inane and not worth memorializing in prose. Absolutely. Couldn't care less.

But they are absolutely right to do so if that's what they want to do. It's not ipso facto evidence of anything. My read on it is that your friend irritates you for some reason, and you feel like her tweeting and texting are related to the thing she does which irritates you.

And, it's okay for you to be irritated at your friend. It's okay for you to feel like a way that she is, makes it hard to be around her. It's even okay to decide that how she is makes you so irritated that you need to slip into being acquaintances rather than friends. You can do that if you want. You don't even need a reason.
posted by gauche at 7:14 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey man I get it.

I have a couple friends who do the same thing - they ignore people in group and one on one hang out situations in favor of whatever is happening online, and it drives me bonkers. It seems rude, self absorbed, etc etc.

If you have already pointed out that it bothers you, then that's all you can do besides spending less time with this person. I hide all the people on facebook and whatever else that update their status too often and it for realz makes my friendships much better when I forget that they are social media uber users.

So basically I think that they are rude, but that I am the crazy one for being so bothered by it. This means you make the changes, not them.
posted by skrozidile at 7:19 AM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Tweets are a red herring.

If the examples you provide are typical what you could, in my view, complain about is your friend being rude. Not greeting people is rude, not even acknowledging them is even more rude. Constantly interrupting a conversation to do something else is rude. If somebody is habitually rude to me I don't want to be friends with them. And unless I have to spend time with them for some reason I won't.

And to me, constantly checking your phone unless there is a general break in the conversation is rude. But I am also the kind of person who is happy to let the phone go to voicemail, who'll ignore emails and other messages (as long) as I see fit and I am happy to put the phone down on cold callers, without warning, explanation or apology so I realise that others have other priorities. Nevertheless you're asking the wrong question. You should be asking - what am I getting out of the friendwhip that compensates me for the perceived rudeness? And is it enough to make up for the rude behaviour? And then you can decide if you want to maintain that friendship or not.
posted by koahiatamadl at 7:22 AM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


awfully narcissistic. ... happens to have a PhD in psychology... she should be able to see

A narcissistic person who has a PhD in psychology should be able to see her own behavior in some kind of objective mirror and stop it already, is that it? I don't think life works that way.

My issue is, where do we draw the line between healthy and unhealthy?

It cannot possibly be your task, drawing that line for her.

A few days ago when she arrived at my front door, she was staring at her phone while I opened the door, and as she walked into my living room, she kept her head down, staring at her phone, not even bothering to look up at me. I cannot make this up.

And that's the thing that's important here. What you're describing would irritate me no end, just like you. I could see myself shoving a visitor out of the door for something like this. You do not need an excuse for feeling irritated by her behavior. Stop finding fault with her psychological makeup. What you describe is a matter of an interaction incompatibility.
posted by Namlit at 7:26 AM on November 20, 2012 [3 favorites]


Friends are imperfect. You should learn to accept this fact and get along with people.
posted by kiltedtaco at 7:28 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I guess I'm in the minority, because, given your follow-up examples, that would really bother me, too.
posted by Falwless at 7:28 AM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


A person with 14k tweets is not broadcasting 14k bowel movements, they're using Twitter as IM. There's nothing odd about sending a hundred or so "IMs" a day.
posted by acidic at 7:29 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


I just wanted to feel people out to see how much is TOO much when it comes to broadcasting what we're eating for lunch.

It's too much when it's affecting their life or their relationships with the people around them. But, as per usual, it's a better idea to give people constructive criticism on behavior and not some sort of personality flaw. If you dislike that this woman is rude to you or to your friends because she's glued to her phone, have that conversation. If you just don't like the sort of person she is who interacts with Twitter at the same time as she is interacting with her offline life, that may be on you to make your peace with. I agree that Twitter is a red herring. It's just another place people "hang out" at some level. Some people's tweets are more interactive with other folks, some people use it more for broadcasting, some people use it for liveblogging stuff. Getting judgmental about how someone else uses something that you don't really use seems like reaching to find a thing to be annoyed or fake-concerned with. It's not really that appropriate of you to imply that your friend has a problem if the main manifestation of the problem is "this annoys me" and you've already spoken to her about it. It's totally fine to not be friends with her for any reason, but this may just be a bad fit in terms of the boundaries of what you think is okay in social interactions.
posted by jessamyn at 7:41 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Friend, hey, I'm not going to be able to hang out tomorrow. This may sound odd, but I find that I've been having a really hard time reconciling the differences between how you interact with your phone and Twitter, and how I do. Thinking about it has actually been causing me an inordinate amount of ire, even when we're apart, for reasons I can't quite explain. I value our friendship and I don't want there to be all that negativity between us, so I think I'm just going to take a step back for a little while, with no hard feelings."
posted by argonauta at 7:54 AM on November 20, 2012


Additional: In Howard Rheingold's Smart Mobs, he talks about the fact that mobile communications tech is changing the way people interact, and that changes what the definition of normal/rude is.

It's more and more common for youngsters to be simultaneously physically present with one group of people while TXTing/tweeting to others. The definition of "being present" is shifting, so that it's becoming not so strange to hold up ur phone to a group of ppl to show them what someone just sent/tweeted/etc.

What you're running up against is old-school notions of attention and manners colliding with technology-fueled evolution of those notions. How you react to those changes going on in society is up to you.
posted by Pirate-Bartender-Zombie-Monkey at 8:13 AM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have cooled friendships with people for similarly trivial reasons - excessive identification with sports, treating shopping like a hobby, super-rigid gender roles in their romantic relationships, watching wrestling. What that really comes down to is that we just didn't have enough in common, and their mode of interaction was not comfortable for me. It wasn't my business, though, to sit any of them down and say "I shall be denying you the pleasure of my close friendship going forward, because you stink and here's why."

Like jessamyn said, you don't have to be friends with her. You don't have to be friends with anyone you don't want to, it's one of the glories of adulthood. But you don't get to tell her how to live her life to suit you, either.
posted by Lyn Never at 8:13 AM on November 20, 2012 [11 favorites]


broadcasting what we're eating for lunch.

Have you read any of her tweets? Are you sure that's what she's doing? Nearly everyone I know over the age of about 25 who actively uses Twitter uses it primarily as a way to raise their professional profile (and secondarily, perhaps, as a way to keep up with news). It's quite useful for people who are in creative or intellectual fields as a way to get more publicity for your work. If she's an ambitious academic, say, and she's active on Twitter, and was an early adopter, it's entirely possible that she could have 14,000 tweets and very few of them are about the proverbial what she ate for lunch.

A few days ago when she arrived at my front door, she was staring at her phone while I opened the door, and as she walked into my living room, she kept her head down, staring at her phone, not even bothering to look up at me.

This is actually kind of rude. I'm not sure if it's narcissistic. But it is rude. You have my internet-permission to politely tell her to say hello and put down the phone.
posted by breakin' the law at 8:16 AM on November 20, 2012


I knew someone like this, a really obsessive tweeter. He would, no joke, tweet that he was going quiet for a few minutes because he was heading into the bathroom. He also had two phones.

We had lunch once because we worked near each other. It was a quick lunch, maybe about 45 minutes total. During the first fifteen minutes, he constantly kept looking at his phone, tweeting, texting, updating, whatever. I'm also a pretty prolific Facebooker, so I understand, but this was too much. I asked him to put it away for a while, which, to his credit, he did. But the minute our lunch was finished he pulled out the phone again. We never had lunch again.

You can do this too, but having to remind someone too often or being on the receiving end can be annoying. So now I hang out with people whose social graces are, shall we say, a little bit more present in the physical sense.
posted by so much modern time at 8:38 AM on November 20, 2012


There's nothing wrong with her tweeting that much.

There's also nothing wrong with your not liking that behavior.

It sounds as if you two just aren't a good match as friends.

If you're going to silently disapprove and judge her, you're both better off just walking away from the friendship.
posted by yellowcandy at 9:22 AM on November 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


How long has she been on Twitter? That's kind of important. I've got over 26,000 tweets, but I've also been using Twitter for 4 or 5 years. That still amounts to about 17 tweets per day (assuming 4 years;), but many of those are parts of larger conversations and a few are automated Tweets that are tied my other online activities. I'm not just mindlessly tweeting every half-hour for each waking hour of my day (also, I almost never use Twitter on the weekend). It's entirely possible that your friend is doing the same thing. Even if she's not, as long as she's not tweeting when you're together, who cares?

Does she appear vain and self-centred during your conversations? Do you enjoy spending time with her? If you answered "no" and "yes," respectively, to those questions, then I think you're being needlessly judgmental. Ending a friendship because your friend likes to use Twitter a lot seems like a really stupid reason to me.

That said, some of your friend's general behaviour with regard to prioritizing her phone over the people in the room with her is incredibly rude. However, you've noted that she is working on it and doesn't do this when you're together anymore, so I don't really see the problem.
posted by asnider at 9:52 AM on November 20, 2012


I have 14,000 tweets and am not a celebrity and am 44 years old, so perhaps my own tweeting behavior can provide you with some perspective.

I have been on Twitter for at least five years. I do a few things on Twitter. Firstly, it's a place for me to jot down little funny thoughts I have had during the day. When I do something interesting, I will, on occasion, share it on Twitter. When I go to a movie or a play or read a book or watch a television show I like, I will share what I thought about those things. Sometimes this will spark on online conversation with other Twitter users, some of whom, despite me having never met them, I consider -- well, perhaps not friends, but friendly acquaintances. Every once in a while, I promote something I am working on, but I try not to do this too frequently, as I do not like it when social media is used exclusively as a mechanism for advertising.

I have 11,000 followers, so I am broadcasting all this to a pretty large audience, although "audience" isn't precisely the right word. I'm not putting on a show for them, and I follow quite a few people as well. It's a conversation. And a sprawling one. I get most of my news from Twitter before I get it from anywhere else, and it's usually pretty raw -- on the ground, first-person, eyewitness stuff as it is happening. And despite its limited lettercount, I have had some pretty long , sophisticated conversations. I was tweeting about some playscripts I am reading, and it sparked a conversation between several comic book writers (including a few MeFites) about their experiences writing for their medium, which was fascinating.

I can understand you not wanting your friend to Tweet around you. I likewise think it is rude when people interact with their cell phone when they are supposed to be spending time with you. But, unless your friend is exclusively using Twitter to broadcast self-love out to the world, when she's not with you and is on the site, there is a good chance she is engaged in an online community, very similar to what we have here on MetaFilter.

Of course, if all this irritates you nonetheless, you are entirely within your rights to sever the friendship. You always get to set the terms of your friendship, and they need only be reasonable by your standards. That being said, it's good that you raised the question here, because it's worthwhile to make your decision as educated as possible, and Twitter may be more complex and less narcissistic than you presumed. Maybe not, though. I do love when people retweet me.
posted by Bunny Ultramod at 10:30 AM on November 20, 2012 [7 favorites]


Hi OP - I once posted a question somewhat similar to yours :

http://ask.metafilter.com/200822/Cut-this-person-off-OR-stop-being-so-judgemental

Some of the responses in that thread might help you. In the end, I stopped talking to the person, and I don't regret it.

"...so I feel like she should be able to see this about herself already, but doesn't"

She might not agree with your conclusions, though.
posted by HopperFan at 10:31 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


It used to annoy me that a colleague of mine used to post about 10 times a day on facebook. The thing is, though, I already disliked this colleague and the facebook posting thing just gave me another reason. I suggest, therefore, that you actually dislike your friend and the tweets are just a red herring.
posted by hazyjane at 11:29 AM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


If you find her absorption in her online presence disrespectful or annoying or clueless or thoughtless, that is a perfectly good reason to drop her friendship.

Tallying up the number of her tweets seems weird.
posted by Sidhedevil at 11:39 AM on November 20, 2012


I felt similarly about twitter before I started using it. The beauty of twitter is that so many people use it for different things that you can make it into whatever you want.

That said, I find people who are glued to their phones obnoxious as well. There are so many people at my work place who walk around the office hunched over, reading their phones. It would annoy me immensely if I had to work with any of them and attempt to get their attention while being professional cordial.
posted by fromageball at 11:49 AM on November 20, 2012 [1 favorite]


“Have you ever noticed that anybody driving slower than you is an idiot, and anyone going faster than you is a maniac?”

This same principle applies to Internet/Social Media use -- people who use it less than you are hopelessly out of touch; people who use it more are gadget-obsessed narcissists.
posted by modernserf at 11:52 AM on November 20, 2012 [15 favorites]


She is a thirty year old adult woman and she does not have to answer to you about what she does on her phone.


If you want to stop being friends with her, stop. But you do not have the right to tell her what to do with her own phone.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 1:23 PM on November 20, 2012 [4 favorites]


When we hang out, she makes an effort to stop playing with her phone as I've told her it annoys me.

This is the absolute maximum that you can possibly expect. She is moderating her behaviour around you so she doesn't irritate you; this seems polite and wholly appropriate.

However, a few days ago, I looked at her Twitter page for the first time and saw that she has over 14,000 tweets. (And no, she is not a celebrity.) This really bothers me. I actually feel I don't want to be friends with her anymore, because I think anyone who has to tweet that often, every day, is awfully narcissistic.

Yes, you're being way too harsh.

Seriously, why do you care? What difference does it make how she spends her personal time? how does it even affect you in the slightest?

If you don't want to be friends with her, then don't be. But if you think that's she's the problem because her (frankly inconsequential) behaviour doesn't conform to your personal standards, I would seriously consider who the narcissist in this situation is. What you're proposing is breaking up with someone because they have a personal hobby that you don't share.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:03 PM on November 20, 2012 [5 favorites]


I'm 34, pushing 13,000 tweets. I've been on Twitter for probably 4 years now and my friends and I have long treated it as a sort of open chat, since we all tweet each other but mostly have locked accounts. Four years of chats, in jokes, shared pics and links et voila! Apparently engaging with other people for so long makes me a childish narcissist.

You're awfully concerned by how engaged she is with other people. Why is that? Why is it up to you to decide how much communication with the outside world, and via which media, are acceptable? It's your right to decide whether or not you want to be friends with someone so social, sure, but there's nothing wrong with what she's doing. Awfully egoistic of you to assume you are the authority on acceptable twitter usage.

On preview, what everyone above me said.
posted by OompaLoompa at 4:37 PM on November 20, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oops, read your updates. Well, if she's just being rude about it, then by all means cut her off for that. But the number of tweets isn't the problem, her refusal to engage with you while in your presence is. Best of luck.
posted by OompaLoompa at 4:41 PM on November 20, 2012


I don't care how often people tweet/Facebook everything they do, but I do strongly object to being part of their broadcast when I didn't ask to be. Especially if they don't ask me if it's okay. I really wouldn't feel comfortable hanging out a lot with someone who was, at that moment, tweeting to the entire Internets about us hanging out, and if someone wants to take pictures to tweet/Facebook about it, I always say no. And if they can't be bothered to actually talk to me because they're busy tweeting/Facebooking the whole time, I would not go out of my way to spend time with them again.
posted by citron at 9:05 PM on November 20, 2012


You can stop being friends with someone any time you want, but your judgment about 'too many tweets' seems arbitrary and, frankly, weird.

I've posted over 14,000 tweets, mostly because my way of unwinding at night is reading through my RSS feeds and posting whatever I find interesting. I'm sure loads of people would find that crazy annoying. They can simply not follow me.
posted by nerdfish at 1:30 AM on November 21, 2012


I've answered @ 7,000 askme questions. If it doesn't interfere with my job, relationships, or keep me up too late at night, then it's an activity I enjoy, i.e., a hobby. People have all sorts of hobbies that don't appeal to me, but which I have no need or reason to judge. Unless she trespasses on other people's privacy or really overshares private information, I don't think there's any concern about health, appropriateness, etc. This is answer #6994.
posted by theora55 at 9:22 AM on November 24, 2012 [1 favorite]


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