Social Question

SQUEEKY2's avatar

When did the me first, me first syndrome really start?

Asked by SQUEEKY2 (19414points) July 11th, 2015

I remember a time when it wasn’t me first at all costs.
Now it doesn’t matter driving, shopping, just out and about it, it’s just me first at all costs, safety, manners, courtesy be damn I am more important than everyone else so I must be first.
When did this epidemic first starting infecting the majority of the population?

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26 Answers

longgone's avatar

With the birth of mankind?

Though, to be fair, competitiveness is not a purely human trait.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@longgone Maybe but I have noticed say in the last 10 or so years it seems to have stepped up a level or three.
Just wondering why?
I have seen safety , just blown out the window so they could be first.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Bible. Genesis.

Jacob and Esau – Jacob stealing the birthright from his brother.

Nothing new here.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@elbanditoroso so your saying people have always been assholes , maybe I am just noticing it more in the last say 10 years?

elbanditoroso's avatar

@SQUEEKY2 – yes. The older you get, the more you notice this crap.

Apparently_Im_The_Grumpy_One's avatar

I’d have to agree with @elbanditoroso here. As you get older you start to see a lot of things that you overlooked before. You start to pick up on body language, facial cues, and all sorts of other things. I think you also start to value life a little bit differently than you used to.

ragingloli's avatar

“I am the Lord your God. You shall have no other gods before me.”
The “me first” mentality is not limited to humans.

hug_of_war's avatar

Try being a pedestrian and having cars prefer killing you then waiting 2 seconds even when I have the right of way. So much fun!

josie's avatar

Survival is the first order of business.
It all comes from that.
The same reason they tell you to put on your oxygen mask first if the airplane depressurizes. If you don’t survive, you can’t help the person next to you.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

@josie like anyone would if that person next to you isn’t close friend or family,the average person would just use your dead body as traction to be the first out the door.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I get your question….when did it progress past the age of 3 and follow us into adult life.

Seems to me it started about 8 years ago. Any more, when you drive in a parking lot pedestrians don’t bother to move over. They just walk right out in front of you. There was a time when we were smart enough to:
A) Not assume the driver saw us and
B) Polite enough to let the driver wave us on before we cross.

I had a friend rant on face book about how pedestrians have the right of way, and someone almost hit her and blah blah blah. It’s your own fault, pedestrian.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

That is part of it @Dutchess_III it’s me first ,me first at all costs and at the same time while doing it everyone must watch out for me because I am so special type thing.

majorrich's avatar

I believe social niceness and chivalry began to actively die in the early 70’s and died a couple weeks ago. Not a lot of old school people left anymore. I think you may find the trend follows the passing of the torch from the great generation to the baby boomers. The ignition switch being the war on poverty.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I think it may have something to do with Facebook shit, constantly telling people how great they are and don’t listen to them….or something. People are always trying to empower themselves and they think they find that on facebook…and they just turn into assholes.

ibstubro's avatar

” As you get older you start to see a lot of things that you overlooked were too self centered to notice before.”

I also think that @jaytkay has a good point about the 70’s and the new age of self-entitlement.

Finally, I agree with @SQUEEKY2 that it has gotten exponentially worse over the course of the past 10 years. For the first decade I worked in a food factory (the best non-skilled job in the area) people pretty much did what they were told and appreciated the job. Gradually people started saying they would not do some things. By the time I left, new hires were making demands when they walked in the door. Some of it has improved safety, but most of the demands are regarding shift, breaks, etc.

Espiritus_Corvus's avatar

It appears to be a very real thing. There are a lot of studies being done on the subject.

It appears to be getting worse with the explosion of social media.

It also appears to be rewarded behavior: Grandiose exhibitionism tended to amass more friends on Facebook.

There was an excellent article by Joel Stein on this in Time Magazine back in 2003, but you have to be a subscriber to access the whole thing. Here’s an article about the above mentioned Stein article in Time. Here’s another by Tyler Kingkade of The Blog. Evidently Mr. Stein hit a nerve with that article.

I rarely, if ever, run into people like this, thank god. I’m not very patient with assholes.

SQUEEKY2's avatar

And to this day people still wonder why the wife and I chose not to have kids,and what bring them into this colossal screw up, no thanks.

JLeslie's avatar

I still come across many many people who allow the other guy to go first. I think part of the reason there are more me firsts is people are in more of a rush. I also think it can be a cultural thing in terms of people being willing to line up and wait in line. Its a fact that some cultures are likely to queue up
in a very nice line, while other cultures rush in.

Besides lining up and waiting, there are other examples of me firsts type of attitude, and some different perspectives. For instance, I think leaving your trash on the table at a fast food is me first, but when we have discussed it on Fluther some jellies think it’s just fine and argue it keeps someone else employed.

Or, how many if us are disgusted at cigarette smokers using the planet earth as their trash can and throwing cig butts in the ground. More than one July said for the longest time it didn’t even occur to them it was littering.

I would see both the examples I gave as selfish behavior with no consideration for others, but the jellies who. Said these things seemed to genuinely not be doing it from an entitlement issue, but more a different perspective on the matter or lack of awareness. Maybe that is still a me first attitude?

I see that I am much more aware of others around me than my husband, but he was trained well enough by his parents to do all the chivalrous and common social
niceties that for the most part he doesn’t come off me first in most situations. I think I am as I am because my mother is keenly aware of others around her, and also I grew up in a densely populated area so you have to have some order or there is total chaos.

jaytkay's avatar

@JLeslie I still come across many many people who allow the other guy to go first.

Yeah, In personal encounters, I think I see that more than selfishness. Maybe it’s because I’m older and calmer and more likely to say, ‘after you!”

I bicycle commute 24 miles per day when the weather is nice. The most common annoyance is people competing to go last at a four way stop.

stanleybmanly's avatar


SQUEEKY2's avatar

@stanleybmanly That’s sad but in todays world I can believe it.

JLeslie's avatar

@jaykay Talk about difference from one part of America to another, the way people behave on the road varies quite a bit. In the Raleigh, NC area people let you merge in more than any other place I have lived. They were curtious in other situations too, but in Memphis, TN the driving had a lot to be desired.

In Memphis they would hold doors for each other there, but weren’t as likely to let someone go ahead in a line, although it did happen. I let people go ahead all the time if they have just one thing to buy, or just one question to ask. Funny, in Memphis a salesperson or cashier was very likely to finish with the person they were helping, before moving on to the next customer, even if the first customer was talking about something unrelated to the sale. I saw this as bad customer service. They weren’t good at moving a line faster if the line was getting long. They weren’t able to triage and figure out someone needed a quock question answered and then go back to the customer taking a long time.

Another big difference between Memphis and Raleigh was if a cashier at the supermarket opened a new line, in NC the cashier would say, “I can take the next in line over here.” In Memphis it was just a dash of people, whoever could get thre first.

Here in the Tampa Bay area of FL its a huge mix. Many time people let you ahead in line, but on the streets they are very fast drivers on major thoroughfares, very aggressive, but they let you in if you signal (fairly similar to northern states I have driven in) and people hold doors for each other and they bus their own tables and clean up their trash after a movie. Oh, Memphis sucked for cleaning up after a movie! That really bothered me, because it was so pervasive there.

I was in Manhattan a couple of weeks ago and I was remonded how in that city people are in a rush, but still wait in line well at a store, while not great at waiting on the road, the people in the service industry do try to be helpful, and even a stranger often is also if they have the time, and people do often hold the door for the person behind them.

I think for each of us we have certain specific things we look for that indicate whether some is too self absorbed or not. I also think most people who don’t think about others around them were raised by parents who didn’t, and live in communities that don’t. I feel it is a very pay it forward set of behaviors, and so every time we do something nice for someone else we encourage someone else to do that sort of thing, just sheer example. Moreover, I ignore what teenagers do. Ages 14–20 can simply be me oriented even if they are going to wind up to be very considerate adults in the end.

An exboyfriend of mine used to say to me, “why do you care about them? They are nobody to you.” I found it quite disconcerting. My family would never call another person a nobody.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

More and more as the capitalist cancer spreads to all vital areas.

Dutchess_III's avatar

I really don’t think capitalism is bad.

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