DEAR MISS MANNERS: I have a friend I’ve known for decades, going back to high school. She’s been very successful in her career (computer stuff), but has had a number of bumps in her personal life: pregnant and married at 17, multiple marriages, horrible family.
But in recent years, she has been telling pretty tall tales about her younger days to new friends: inflating her popularity, denying she did certain things, that sort of thing. I can tell you with unvarnished certainty she was NOT the prom queen.
Rather than call her on a number of outright lies, I questioned her gently. She claims not to remember things, and casually brushes aside truths.
She claims this is reinvention; I call it lying. What do I say to this woman who seems to think that a made-up backstory will enhance any real successes she’s already achieved?
GENTLE READER: “Congratulations, after all this time, on becoming prom queen.”
No, not really. Your friend is pathetic, and needs sympathy more than ridicule.
But we do live in an age of self-glorification. Social media has taught people to spin reality, if not to outright lie about themselves. They have turned into their own press agents, promulgating claims to better-than-reality life.
What Miss Manners finds even sadder is that this apparently sparks depressing envy in those who read such silliness and find their own lives wanting in comparison.
But unless your friend is running for political office, or is otherwise misrepresenting herself in ways that will damage others, you need hardly bother to set her record straight. If you must react, you can keep saying, “I was there -- remember?”