I think we, or perhaps I, too often use the word “hate.” Hate is a very real, intense, and scary proposition. Hate makes people to do awful things and refuse to see the best in other humans. Hate is why the racist dinosaur Donald Sterling got kicked out of the NBA. Thus, while it would be very easy for me to say that I “hate” social climbers, I’d rather say I strongly (granted, very strongly) dislike social climbers.
Let me first define the term social climber. Merriam-Webster says a social climber is “one who attempts to gain a higher social position or acceptance in a fashionable society.” But I like Urban Dictionary’s definition way better:
(n.) Similar to an “attention whore”, but a social climber is anyone that becomes friends with someone else if they have something that they want, which we all know involves people. They become ‘friends’ with people who “know people”. In turn, they become (or attempt to become) ‘friends’ with that first person’s more “popular” friends, leaving the first person behind. Repeats this cycle to “get to the top”, in their own mind, until they realize they are shallow and unable to like people for who they really are. Inevitably, they will be forced to “mature” beyond this. This usually pertains to girls more so than guys.
For the record, I don’t agree with the last line. Guys are as guilty as ladies. Overall, however, this definition is correct in my opinion. Social climbers are assholes. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it.
Social climbers are wretched, self-interested scumbags. I realize more and more that I don’t have time to waste on people who see me as a stepping-stone to their next friendship. You might say, “People don’t actually do that, do they?” Yes. Some people are really shitty.
Once a week, I talk to people who are clearly concerned about getting in with the “it crowd” or being accepted by people that couldn’t give less of a shit about them – just so they can feel popular. I thought us 20-something millennials graduated junior high a long time ago. I guess not.
I want to make something very clear to all of our younger readers (if we have any): Life is not like a high school cafeteria in Hollywood movie. Do not, and I repeat, DO NOT, waste time and energy trying to sit at the adult version of the cool kid table. Find a sweet fucking table with interesting people who are comfortable in their own skin. Don’t be surprised when they are genuinely interested in what you have to say.
Don’t spend your energy gaining the admiration of someone who won’t look you in the eye when you talk to them. Don’t hang out with a person at a bar if they’re constantly texting, trying to get more people to show up because it’s “lame” with just the two of you. Don’t get used to someone judging you because you’re different than him or her. Don’t accept any of that crap.
Social climbers throw friends away faster than John Mayer tosses aside beautiful women. I’m sure you’ve noticed this, too. Remember one of your first friends in college that disappeared after a few weeks because they found “cooler” people to hang out with? Sure, they never said it that way. And yes, people drift apart. But social climbers see you as a means to an end. The problem is, there is no end in sight for these dickbags.
They always want more. They see relationships as secondary to social status. They are more concerned with the acceptance into the country club than what the membership entails. To social climbers, popularity is acceptance into elite clubs. Acceptance into elite clubs is a pedestal they can hop on and look down on you from.
Fuck them. I like it better down here anyway.
Some of the coolest guys and girls I know today are people who considered themselves “unpopular” in high school, whatever that means. These high school “losers” are articulate, self-aware, great listeners, welcoming, and well-rounded. They spent time getting to know themselves rather than molding an outward appearance that would appease “popular” dickbags.
I would be lying if I said that I was never concerned with being “popular.” I was young, dumb, and concerned with superficial shit once, too. Sometimes I relapse. But I’m getting better at catching myself. Instead of hosting nonsensical internal debates about what I should say or do around new people, I try my best to be the truest version myself. Fuck it. If the version of me that I feel most comfortable with, then I shouldn’t be hanging out with them in the first place.
A quick side note: It’s great to be who you are, but I hope you’re not mean. If you’re a naturally nasty, vicious person who feels pleasure out of making people feel bad, you’re worse than a social climber.
At 25, I realize how lucky I am to have the best friends and family that I do. It gives me the freedom to be who I am and continue to learn more about myself. After all, discovering more about yourself leads to the most important kind of acceptance: self-acceptance.
Besides, I never liked country clubs anyway.