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To be genuinely curious about how some people manage to get the world revolving around them?

(61 Posts)
doritosmonster Thu 25-Apr-13 10:15:40

And usually when they're not really that nice a person?

Before I start, I'm not jealous, or bitter, or anything like that, I am just genuinely curious about this. Psychology/people watching fascinates me, but I just cannot fathom this out.

I met a group of women at an antenatal group when I had my three year old DS; there are five of us. There was a sixth member but she moved abroad about 18 months ago. One member of the group is a stereotypical 'popular girl'. She is very full of herself and extremely self absorbed. She never does anything for anyone else or even really listens to anyone else. Everything she does is right, and everybody else is wrong, whether this is about weaning, prams (she had the most expensive/best pram of the group, naturally), preschools, schools, brands of clothing, which hairdressers to go to, everything! It doesn't matter that some of us have older children and so know more about lots of parenting issues than she does, she just lectures us all, all the time. She also makes a lot of put down comments. Things along the lines of "Oh you've chosen X School for your child have you? Oh well, as long as you're happy with your choice it doesn't matter about its reputation I suppose". Or (directed to child) "Look at you all decked out in Next clothes for once. Nice to see mummy makes an effort with you sometimes".

What I find is that everything we do as a group has to centre around what she wants. Someone suggests soft play. Alpha's child doesn't like it so we can't go. Someone else suggests lunch out. Alpha agrees but we have to go after 2pm as Alpha is so very busy that day. I'm easy going generally and am usually happy to go along with things, however it's happening more and more that everything has to accommodate this woman.

From what I've gathered, this woman's family are like it with her too; her parents will do anything for her at any time, and she even has her 15 year old next door neighbour clamouring to babysit for her all the time. Plus she is on my Facebook friends and when I've looked at her wall before she has no end of people on there sucking up to her, asking her to go on nights out, sending her flowers, all kinds of stuff.

I just don't understand why people like this woman have so many people at their beck and call, and basically queuing up to be their friend/to do things for them. Also, how on earth do people like this hold onto friends? I class her as an acquaintance, and am happy to chat to her at meets, but there is no way I'd suck up to someone to be their friend, or try to curry favour with them.

Anyone else know anyone like that?

kerala Thu 25-Apr-13 13:24:40

The frightening thing is how early this starts. DD is 7 and there is one of these in her class. She is pretty and clever I can see she would be quite good fun but is utterly vile as well - saying nasty things to other children, really cruel things, but under the teachers/parents radar. Yet many girls clamour to be her friend, she has a couple of loyal lieutenants who trot after her and most of the boys are in thrall to her as well. I wonder if its innate in some people and dearly wish that the majority of normal people would turn their backs on those that are like this and it would take all their power away. But it never seems to happen. Any psychiatrists out there care to explain smile.

doritosmonster Thu 25-Apr-13 13:27:18

I can imagine that the woman I know was just like the child you have described when she was younger, kerala. In fact she is like is now really; pretty, clever, good fun at times, but has an incredibly toxic side.

I often wonder if people are attracted to 'attractive' people, and will overlook their personality flaws more readily than they will overlook personality flaws of more average looking individuals.

quoteunquote Thu 25-Apr-13 13:51:00

I know if I do, then I would 100% be the bad guy, both with her and with others.

I say this often, here and in real life,

Life is NOT a popularity contest

There are seven billion people on the planet, if you are unfortunate enough to come across one of the vile ones, discard and save your energy for the positive good ones.

That way you end up spending your very short one life energy surround by wonderful good people, and you do not encourage and enable the boring poisonous ones.

Think of your life as a garden, at the moment you are allowing a massive climbing bramble, to spread itself across your garden unabated, cut it back, let it grow out of sight , behind the shed, beyond the compost, and check it once a year for blackberries, before you cut it back to the ground.

Sprite21 Thu 25-Apr-13 13:53:54

Sounds like my sister. She's been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder but of course she doesn't agree and thinks she's smarter than the psychologist who diagnosed her.
I agree that at root a lot of it stems from insecurity but it is infuriating to be around. She's not negative towards other people though, just self-centred to an incredible extent.
You can't change their behaviour but you can set limits on what you will put up with.
If you're just going along with what she wants and not saying anything then you are essentially enabling it.
You might be surprised how many of your friends agree.
Or you might get ousted from the group.. It's a risk.

I had a "friend" like this as a teenager, I hung around her because she was the cool one that all the boys wanted. Looking back now I realise I had low self esteem and although I didn't even like her that much I wanted her to like me!. It was like an abusive relationship in a way, she didn't like me, I didn't like her but we needed each other IYSWIM?
It didn't take me long to wake up and step back, I hear she is still the same now many years later.

HoppinMad Thu 25-Apr-13 14:19:51

I am also interested in this subject as it intrigues me how certain popular individuals have others gravitate towards them and have them do things almost as if by hypnosis.
These people (mainly women i've found) have this air about them, and ooze charm and confidence. They are pretty and have pretty things. MOST have a horrible vile side but some actually dont (I am a teensy ennvious of those type I have to admit, as.they seem to have it all).

But in regards to the popular but vile women, I personally refuse to be an arse wipe to anyone so have found myself excluded from many such social groups. Quite annoying as I'm pretty shy so find it hard to make friends anyway, but I couldnt tolerate being friends with such people and would rather keep my self-respect!

It would be great if everybody would snub these types and treat them as they deserve to be treated but sadly that wont happen.

WyrdMother Thu 25-Apr-13 14:24:30

I've just started reading "Queen Bee's and Wannabees" as it was recommended on here, your description of your "Queen Bee" is ringing a lot of bells and I've known a few in real life to.

Just insecurity and immaturity I think, I don't engage, polite disinterest and a willingness to do what you want even if it means doing it on your own seems to work.

AnyoneforTurps Thu 25-Apr-13 14:37:42

YANBU. One of the great mysteries of life is why we tend to treat people as they expect to be treated, rather than as they deserve. So a lovely, generous person who is self-effacing will be treated as a doormat whereas the queen bee type (or male equivalent) gets it all her own way. Enraging.

kerala Thu 25-Apr-13 14:51:03

Read The Robber Bride by Margaret Atwood. Its about a woman like this but she actually sets out to destroy other womens lives. Its fascinating - in my head I always call this type of woman "Zenia" name of the main character in this book <sorry book club type thread derail>.

About the abusive relationship type comment that is so true and scary in that I see it in my daughters classmates vying to be the evil ones friend. Shes horrid to them but they trot after her. Why do they not just all bin her off?

Tenacity Thu 25-Apr-13 15:56:33

I think a combination of factors contribute to the scenario you described OP. I think there are three main factors at play here. There are factors that relate to the alpha female herself, her 'followers', and lastly societal factors. These are all interlinked and complicated. The social theory discusses this to an extent.
Also the higher the individual's preference for hierarchy and domination (social dominance orientation theory), the more likely they are to want to dominate.
There are so many theories that explain human behaviour, but in my humble opinion, fear overrides a lot of human behaviour. For the 'wanna be' alpha female, the fear of being at the bottom pile, and the resultant loss of status, self esteem and perhaps their standing within a social group, can indeed be a powerful motivator.
Similarly, 'the followers' have the same issue. Ostracisation, standing out from the group (groupthink theory)', adherence to the social dominance theory serves to keep them nicely in line.
It does take a lot of guts, self esteem, courage and independence to challenge the status quo. wink
Thankfully, some people have plenty of that.

doritosmonster Thu 25-Apr-13 21:35:17

I think you're right with what you have said, Tenacity. It's interesting that the alpha female and her followers may all have a similar issue and be acting from the same emotions/fears

KneeDeepinPoo Thu 25-Apr-13 22:03:02

these friends are usually weak characters who are not very deep thinkers

^^ this is do true. Unfortunately it does mean that if you do anything to upset her, you will be ousted from the group for sure. It happened to me. The woman was actually defined as a sociopath...gregarious, funny, attractive....but manipulative and bitchy in the extreme.

Noseynoonoo Thu 25-Apr-13 22:16:33

I could have written the OP - my antenatal group was exactly the same. I hacked it for almost 4 years. I had withdrawn myself from larger group activities for quite a while but when I declined to attend an Easter Egg hunt on a cold wet day I found myself de-friended on Facebook by Queen-Bee and her lieutenant and have met up with 2 of the group on one occasion since. It has not been any loss of any sort. It was a total relief.

I am very bad at sucking up to Queen Bees. As a result I definitely have less friends. I do however have some fab friends who would never put up with such shenanigans.

drjohnsonscat Thu 25-Apr-13 22:23:47

those people are dreadful but tbh so are the people who facilitate them, hanging off their every word and taking their judgments as gospel.

I can't bear the attention seeking and the narcissism. Nothing makes me switch off faster - but I notice that other people do respond to it.

I'm also very bored by drama - I have one dear friend who is a total drama llama. She'll send me an email saying "you won't believe the latest" and I am supposed to jump in with a "What? What? Do tell!" but it just makes me disengage.

doritosmonster Thu 25-Apr-13 22:26:06

I too am bad at sucking up to Queen Bees, Noseynoonoo. And I too have far less friends than those who are willing to suck up. I was looking tonight at the FB page of a woman at the school who I'd say is also a little bit of a queen bee, and there is so much sucking up going on there too from other school mums; lots of photos of her posing and people saying how gorgeous she is, and lots of attention seeking statuses about what she's bought, how much it cost, and all that malarkey. And this is from a 40 year old woman, not a teenager.

deepfriedsage Thu 25-Apr-13 22:26:10

I agree, these queen bee types are not quite right personality wise. The sheep will have a low self esteem, I was once a sheep, not any more and I feel very sorry for people who waste their energy and time on such parasites as the Queen Bee.

I like the brambles post, hack it back OP, go and plant beautiful flowers instead, use your energy to cultivate nice people around you.

doritosmonster Thu 25-Apr-13 22:27:34

drjohnsonscat, I am the same as you; drama and attention seeking immediately makes me disengage. I just can't be good friends, or even casual friends, with someone who wants constant attention and validation.

WishIdbeenatigermum Thu 25-Apr-13 22:28:53

Meh. Try being related to one! At least you can chose your friends. It's very hard listening to the same bitchy nonsense for years and worse watching your dcs biting their tongues. grin and [anger]

doritosmonster Thu 25-Apr-13 22:30:47

I think I will pull back from the group deepfriedsage. I've been reflecting upon it all today and I really can't be arsed with it all any longer. I think perhaps I'll arrange a couple of smaller meet ups (at soft play as queen bee definitely won't want to go there) with a couple of other members, or maybe invite another member round to lunch on a one to one basis or something.

I've never been brilliant in groups if truth be told, as they always inevitably turn into a bum licking fest,

doritosmonster Thu 25-Apr-13 22:31:54

I think I will pull back from the group deepfriedsage. I've been reflecting upon it all today and I really can't be arsed with it all any longer. I think perhaps I'll arrange a couple of smaller meet ups (at soft play as queen bee definitely won't want to go there) with a couple of other members, or maybe invite another member round to lunch on a one to one basis or something.

I've never been brilliant in groups if truth be told, as they always inevitably turn into a bum licking fest,

puds11isNAUGHTYnotNAICE Thu 25-Apr-13 22:36:17

I'm in the process of telling someone this is what they are like and that I no longer want to be friends with them.

I am already feeling the backlash of having dared not want to be her friend, and I expect its going to get worse.

Ah well, at the end of the day I won't have to see her anymore.

drjohnsonscat Thu 25-Apr-13 22:38:39

I know you only posted out of curiosity but it sounds as though you've also been thinking about what you need...and come to the conclusion you don't need this! Good decision I think. I find it quite empowering to walk away from that stuff.

drjohnsonscat Thu 25-Apr-13 22:40:04

Meant to add, it's interesting that these friendships often form in antenatal groups! You meet when you are feeling vulnerable and you need each other but as you get to grips with your life, you get your own perspective on things and realise you don't need that stuff any more.

doritosmonster Thu 25-Apr-13 22:42:55

Good luck Puds11, I hope you manage to break away from her.

Thank you drjohnson, I too think I needed a bit of a lightbulb moment. I agree, it's funny how those friendships often form in antenatal groups. I'm getting to the stage where I don't need the support from it anymore now my youngest is getting older.

expatinscotland Thu 25-Apr-13 22:50:32

What Hecsy said.

Find some new friends.

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