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LeavesNoTrace's avatar

Does anyone else find social climbers tedious?

Asked by LeavesNoTrace (5677points) April 21st, 2016

I grew up in a small town where being humble and hardworking were considered virtues. The place had plenty of faults but that was one of the core values I admired and while I’m far from perfect, I try to abide by in my life.

I’ve lived in a large, coastal city for six years now and I’ll admit that the longer I live here, the more I notice how different people are. Almost every social gathering I go to, someone is bragging about their privileged background, their watch, their car, their job perks, etc.

This is a big reason I don’t have a huge circle of friends. Many of the people I meet are very privileged and very tone-deaf about it which makes me feel a certain disconnect from their experience.

Is anyone else similarly turned off by such behavior? I’m not a jealous person and don’t resent people having nice things or experiences. But every time someone starts going on ad nauseum about their features of their Rolex or about how I simply MUST stay in the presidential suite of some fancy hotel in a way that is clearly competitive or to impress someone, I immediately tune out.

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23 Answers

elbanditoroso's avatar

Not tedious. Perhaps amusing, or even ridiculous. At times, pathetic. Often, worthy of pity.

But mostly, when I see the tell-tale signs of social climbers, I tune them out. They aren’t in my world.

NerdyKeith's avatar

I tend not to associate with elitist people like that, they are too materialistic and superficial.

CWOTUS's avatar

I think of them as somewhat sad people, eager to impress others with their possessions (including their family members considered as possessions, or their antecedents and various credentials as proof of their own worth), and akin to the constant complainers and whiners who seem to never find satisfaction in anything around themselves.

Tedious, yes, but pathetic. On that account, my distaste for them is also colored with a certain pity, when I can muster that.

canidmajor's avatar

The term “social climber” presupposes people who do not come from privilege aspiring to privilege status. Your details do not support that.
How intolerant and self-righteous you all are. Does it occur to you that your interpretation that people are “bragging” is maybe them simply being excited by the good job, the perks, the new watch? That maybe people are simply wanting to join in a conversation about childhood, but because they grew up with a certain level of privilege their stories are judged by you to be bragging?
In any human society there will always be people who do, indeed brag about such things, but they are far fewer and farther between than the attitudes here would indicate, and they are more prone to brag to the privileged whom they are trying to impress than to the not-as-privileged.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

@canidmajor It would be better if they were actually excited! The thing is the people to whom I’m referring are completely bored and approach things from a blase attitude.

It’s also possible that my interpretation is colored by my background (as is everyone’s). In my case, I grew up in a working-class area where you were judged by your personality more so than any status symbols or accoutrements.

CWOTUS's avatar

@canidmajor‘s response is apropos, given the dearth of detail in your OP. A worthy reply.

Coloma's avatar

I haven’t had to deal with that crowd since I moved from San Diego years ago. The Catamaran, beach house, I make 300k a year and am therefore better than all you lowly minions, is a thing of the past for me, thank god. Yes, nothing worse than pretentious types with egos that expand in proportion to their bank accounts.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar


That’s exactly what I’m talking about.I must also say that I’ve known some amazing successful people who are also very humble and wonderful to interact with. I’d love them to teach me their ways!

But to me, nothing is more tedious than “Keeping up with the Joneses.” I’m based in NYC and the experience that you describe very closely recalls what I’m trying to describe.

Coloma's avatar

@LeavesNoTrace Yes, and I have known some very down to earth affluent types as well but those that are full on themselves are hard to stomach. One thing I always noticed was the constant reference to their possessions by brand name. It was ” lets take the Beemer, Saaab, Land Rover, etc. ” instead of the car. Appliances, stereo equipment, everything was referenced by it’s brand name.

cookieman's avatar

I don’t know — when I’m latched to a big rock, trying to get a foothold, it can be calming to have someone nearby who’s a bit chatty. ~

rojo's avatar

Like @NerdyKeith Whether through design or fortuitous accident, I do not find myself associating with social climbers.

Irukandji's avatar

@CWOTUS Your reply is massively hypocritical. A lot of social climbers are doing exactly the kind of thing you have recommended elsewhere: they are trying to improve their lot through their own efforts. After all, it’s not what you know, but who you know. In a world where people are constantly judged on wealth and status—a situation you have implicitly endorsed—this sort of behavior is inevitable.

stanleybmanly's avatar

My reaction to boorish bragging is exactly the opposite. I hang on every word. “Wanna see my Rolex?” “Wow, can I?!” Now you may be quietly reprimanded, particularly by the old line well moneyed attendees for encouraging such gauche displays. But the truth is that these same people find you indispensible at such events. You’re the emergency rescue guest on whom they can palm off the boors and inebriated. “Do you know Stan? He just loves rotweillers and Rolexes.” The boors love me, the swells need me. I get invited to everything.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

I’m surrounded by those fuckers and I hate to admit that it probably rubs off a little. Improving your lot through your own efforts and being a “social climber” are very different things. Social climbing is about perception and appearance not exclusively success. You can be a talentless hack or a complete failure yet still climb the social ladder.

jaytkay's avatar

I have some wealthy friends who are down to earth.

When we were younger we would hang out a little with the social climbers, but it was probably a mutual decision for the groups to drift apart.

Irukandji's avatar

@ARE_you_kidding_me They aren’t different things in a society that values people based on wealth and status (and fame is a status, even if it is just local). The habit you and @CWOTUS are complaining about is a product of other views you endorse. Talentless hacks often find ways to rise to the economic top, after all, and complete failure is now a great way to get a TV show.

cazzie's avatar

Imagine living in an entire country of them. I had a meeting yesterday and one of the women asked how I got there and I said, ‘I took the bus.’ She answered with a smirk and said she had tried that once when she was younger, but no matter how poor she may get (the subject of the meeting was that she had lost her job, was unable to work and had no prospects) public transport was beneath her. Gah….. She’s not getting any of my money.

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@Irukandji these are not views to be endorsed but more hard facts of life that some would like to hide from using feel-good ideology.

LeavesNoTrace's avatar

I’m really enjoying people’s answers and hearing different perspectives on this. I think that to some degree, most people have been around people who seem a little too eager to impress. Perhaps I’m guilty of this myself from time-to-time. After all, everyone is human.

What I’m referring to are the people for whom attaining and showing status seem to be a full-time job or a major aspect of their personality. For some reason, these people have always made me uncomfortable. (Like they’re judging you because you didn’t go to the right school, you haven’t tried that trendy restaurant yet, or you don’t have expensive enough tastes in general).

Anway, an interaction we had last night gave my partner and I a good chuckle so I was curious to see what the jellies think.

dammitjanetfromvegas's avatar

Yes. I live in a rural farming community so I don’t have to deal with this personally, but I have stopped following old friends on facebook who do this. One man was starting a new business and he constantly posted pictures of extravagant houses and cars. It was endless and borish. Another man constantly posted pics of his new cars, boat, toys and twenty year old girlfriend of the month. He is my age (45). Ugh

Aster's avatar

Tedious is a nice word to use. Repulsed is more like it. The many social climbers in this neck of the woods have this rude, deplorable habit of looking you up and down when you approach them or they think you are. God help you if you somehow end up in their house. I remember one of them had , in the corner of their den, a fake rock waterfall you could hear all over the house. The lady of the house felt pressured to invite my daughter to the private pool since her daughter and mine were friends. I do not recall her saying one single word to me and , when entering the pool complex, she walked in front of me. If you asked her for a recipe she would change the subject. Thank God they moved south and I’ll never see her again. Her family are Southern Baptists and when a guest playfully suggested, “bourbon in this cake?” she gave him this deadly stare and said in an ice cold voice, “I can assure you there is no alcohol in that cake.” The poor guy looked down and appeared to be crushed with humiliation. To he** with all of them.
The Junior League is infested with these types.

Earthbound_Misfit's avatar

I come across people who could be tarred with that label, but those who genuinely deserve the title are rare (in my experience). I suspect those casting accusations may be jealous. And on a similar vein, I come across those who could be accused of big-noting themselves or bragging about their achievements. However, increasingly in my world you have to self-promote and we have to network and reach out to the highly successful in our fields. It’s not enough to do well, you have to be seen to do well. So rather than judging those who manage this comfortably, perhaps those of us who are reticent about displaying our achievements should learn from those who do it well.

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