I’ve become fascinated with the concept of status anxiety. We all know what it is. I see it everywhere. I especially see it in myself. We are haunted by this paranoia of being seen as a “loser”. The constant threat that people won’t think that we have arrived looms over us. This is why we buy the over-mortgaged homes and drive the ridiculous vehicles. This is why I spend so much money on my clothes. We can not easily escape this trap. Modern marketing and a materialistic society has created this mental prison. There are two main places that young people seem to experience status anxiety the most. These places are social media and bars.
Social media is the virtual reality of our generation. Online you are the master of your image. You can create a whole new identity. This identity is carefully crafted to make it seem like we have everything. People upload the best pictures of themselves at the nicest restaurants wearing the nicest clothes. We never expose the bad parts of our lives. We are too afraid of losing status in the eyes of all of our online “friends”. Facebook is the ultimate representation of this. It’s a disgusting display of narcissism, voyeurism and status anxiety. This is why it is so damn addictive.
The bar nightlife is like Facebook in real life. An older family friend of mine once ran a lounge. He told me one day that most of what goes on in the lounge is an “illusion”. He is correct. It is all social posturing. We want to seem like we are classy cool and rich. Guys try to inflate their status to impress girls. Girls for some reason are starting to do the same thing ( guys don’t care btw). The other night this girl went on and on about her law internship that she just got and even gave me a business card. She never once told me about herself other than her career and her fancy law school ( she opened up later). In my head i am thinking ” if you are doing this to impress me it’s not working. You could work as a damn Frisbee repair technician and i would still hang out with you because you are hot”. While she was in the bathroom her friend informed me that it is an unpaid internship that is about to end soon ( not that it even matters but its interesting that she initially left this part out).
This law girl actually ended up being a really cool awesome person. After a few drinks and about an hour of deep conversation she opened up to me. It was clear that things were not as certain and rosy as she initially made them out to be. It sucks that it took 3 mixed drinks and 60 minutes in order for her to be herself. I guess she thought i would not accept her otherwise. It is interesting that once i did away with my pretenses she proceeded to do the same. I guess if you are willing to expose the good and the bad parts of your life other people will not feel so anxious about doing the same. Honesty and alcohol is all it takes =)
Check out the videos and buy Alain de bottons book on this topic. I am going to buy a copy. It seems like this book could be interesting.