One of the important things to understand about my kind and me that everything and I mean everything, is all about us. You may think that there are times when we are behaving in a kind and generous manner, we may appear interested in what you are saying or what somebody else is talking about, we may demonstrate an understanding of somebody and appear to go out of our way to assist. None of this happens unless there is something in it for us.
At its most obvious, this trait of making everything about us manifests in us talking a lot about ourselves. We will regale you with our achievements, our sporting prowess, the things we succeeded in when we were younger, we will boast about how much we earn, where we holiday, where we dine, what we buy and so on, just to make sure that the listener and especially you, understand that we are fantastic. We are leaders in our field. Some of what we boast about is made up. This is because we are adept at listening to other people when we meet them and stealing parts of their characters, attributes and behaviours that we covet for ourselves. We absorb what they are and turn it into being part of us so that the rest of the world thinks that is what we actually are. This makes us more attractive and enables us to draw other people to us. Much of what we brag about is embellished and exaggerated but there is a foundation of truth. We have been to Dubai twice, but we make it eight times in conversation. We once attended a Depeche Mode Concert and made it to the front of the crowd. We tell you we had drinks back stage with the band although Dave Gahan, the lead singer was drinking water because he stays sober these days. We own an Armani suit. We tell you we have seven, one for each working day and two for Saturday dependent on where we go out. We are often intelligent and therefore it is not difficult for us to seize on information that has been provided by someone else and claim it as something we have done or seen. A friend has attended an art exhibition and told us a lot about it. Ordinarily we would much rather be talking about what we have been doing but we recognise the value in listening, at least for a period of time. First of all, the fact that someone as brilliant as me is deigning to listen to you shows that you must at least have some special qualities for that to happen. This will make you feel good about yourself. You are not only being granted an audience in the presence of greatness but how about this, I am actually allowing you to use up my precious time and tell me something about you. Secondly, I listen because I recognise that this information you are telling me has a value. I can purloin it for myself and at a drinks reception that evening I can also claim to have attended the art exhibition. My air of confidence and total conviction in what I am saying will not cause someone to doubt what I am saying is true. Why would they? Most people accept comments at face value anyway and why would they seek to cross examine me about whether I went or not? I know this is how people respond and therefore there is no difficulty in me pretending I attended. Indeed, I will regurgitate this outright lie about attendance so many times that I may as well have attended because I am able to recall sufficient detail. Even better, those who I have mentioned it to have also attended and their enthusiastic responses to my clearly educated and erudite comments about the installations that were on show has garnered me fuel but has also provided me with further information which I can pass off as my own.
The more information I gather the more I can talk about how brilliant I am. I can show off and have those around me marvel at my humorous observations, my pithy comments, my extensive knowledge about a wide variety of topics and I am able to demonstrate I am a polymath. I will talk about all the places I have visited around this world although I may well have visited less than half. I can tell you about certain prestigious sporting events I have been to, who I met there and wow you with the famous people I know. I am entitled to do this because I am built from excellence to begin with. I am successful. I am talented. I want the world to recognise these talents, they must do so and they must stand and applaud and cheer how brilliant I am. There is nothing wrong in that. I have to have it happen so I can secure the fuel that I need. This means that I must always find a stage for my achievements. You may think it of little consequence but to me it matters and it must be heralded. In addition to this I add to my triumphs. I embellish and exaggerate because that is where I ought to be were it not for those who have plotted and conspired against me to hold me back. You see him on television? I was ear-marked for that role but I was unwell and they would not wait. Accordingly, I see no reason why I should not explain how I have secured other prestigious roles in the world of entertainment. It does not matter that I am lying because in my mind I am entitled to be the person who is number one, who wins the awards, who is voted most popular because I am me. I am brilliant.
I know from when I have explained this to those who are tasked with treating me they have asked me whether other people would think that such a stance would be regarded as normal and acceptable. I played along and asked the good doctor what she thought and she commented that whilst she understood why I did this most people would find it incredible that I would do this. Yet, once again, intelligent as she may be, she is missing the point. I do not tell people that I embellish and lie because I am the master of conviction and plausibility. I am intelligent therefore is it that difficult to imagine that I scored a double first (I did but you understand the point I am making). I look after myself so it is entirely conceivable that I won sports awards when I was younger and that I was on the books of a Premiership football team but I chose a different career path. I work hard. I work hard to achieve and I have always done so. I have always been driven to do so and because of this bedrock, this foundation of achievement anything that I add on top of it is entirely plausible and ultimately something I could achieve if I wanted to. Therefore, there is nothing untoward in me adding these exaggerations and falsifying certain parts. I share this with you to help you understand my standpoint. I know much of what I say is exaggeration. I know some of what I say is false when considered through the strict lens of your comprehension of the world, but we are not talking about you are we? We are talking about me. You label such things as embellishment, exaggeration and falsification, but those are your words. They are not mine. From my point of view, I would consider them as positive gloss, adding-in-what-I-would-attained and what-I-would-have-done-were-it-not-for-others-so-I-may-as-well-claim-it-as-my-own. I have explained these principles at length to the good doctors and I know they understand my point. It is all a question of perspective. You call it a lie, I call it capturing an alternate me and adding it to the real me. You call it embellishment and I call it supplementing. I understand from what the good doctors have said that people struggle with this concept but I did point out that most of the time you have no idea whether what we are telling you is the “truth” (using your word) and therefore it does not matter. You are in awe of me and that is all that matters. You provide me with the appropriate reaction, my fuel and you become attracted to me whether as friend, colleague or intimate partner.
That’s the truth of the matter. No exaggeration.