To think people who are really creative don't go around telling you so

(64 Posts)
jusfloatingby Fri 23-Nov-12 11:51:46

There's a woman at work who's always talking about how 'creative' she is and how she's such a 'creative thinker' and not 'a typical office type'. But at the same time there's no actual evidence of this creativity. I mean, she doesn't paint in her free time, or write novels, or wear really unusual clothes or live in an old converted house or somesuch. Even in work she doesn't come up with particularly original ideas etc. I've noticed this on The Apprentice as well. They're all falling over each other to tell everyone how creative they are while displaying no supporting evidence of this.
Has it just become fashionable to be a creative type nowadays?
I do have a couple of friends who are genuinely artistic but they just get on with it; they don't feel the need to go around telling everyone.
I'm not ranting or anything; she doesn't really put in or out on me. But I'm just curious as to why creative has become such a buzz word lately.

redskyatnight Fri 23-Nov-12 11:55:06

YANBU. On Kirsty's Vintage homes last night the couple were described as "creative". I loudly commented to DH that creative people don't need to go on telly programmes to make their house look nice, they just get on and do it.

cheekybaubles Fri 23-Nov-12 11:55:21

It's because they are 'creative' in their imagination about themselves. grin

picturesinthefirelight Fri 23-Nov-12 11:56:33

Dh and I "creative" but we are not artistic in a fine art/design way. In face I'm appalng at visualising things.

We're music/drama types.

givemeaclue Fri 23-Nov-12 12:01:05

Well if you colleague doesn't create anything be it art, music, drama, knitting, poetry, cake decorating or whatever then I can't see how she is creative. Next time she harps on about it can you say "lovely! What is it that you create? I would love to. See it, do you have any pictures?"

YANBU, I'm artistic, portraits etc, I have utterly no time to paint or anything any more but it's there. I don't see any point in telling people as they want to see your work or they ask you to do something for them like do a painting of their kids/dog for Christmas for a tenner. hmm So I keep it to myself, it only comes up in playgroup occasionally when I help dd draw and the other mums get all "omg, wow, who drew this?" (it's always inevitably a really bad drawing of a horse or something which I can't actually draw for shit lol) it's all a bit cringy.

Your friend may well be creative, maybe she's feeling frustrated as she currently has no outlet for it? So by telling you all she's actually trying to convince herself that she's still "got it?" Or maybe she just likes blowing her own (handpainted) trumpet?

Lottapianos Fri 23-Nov-12 12:03:48

'Next time she harps on about it can you say "lovely! What is it that you create? I would love to. See it, do you have any pictures?" '

grin at this. Would love to have the nerve to try it.

My gosh she sounds boring OP. Agree with other posters, if she really were creative she would just get on with it. It's like people who brag about what a great love life they have - if it was so great you would just get on with it and not need other people's approval to make you feel better!

cornflowers Fri 23-Nov-12 12:04:26

I've noticed this, too. It reminds me of something Simone de Beauvoir wrote in the Second Sex about the determination of some women to set themselves apart as 'different.' They use phrases like, "I'm funny like that," and so on. Although I'd disagree that it's a feminine characteristic.

showtunesgirl Fri 23-Nov-12 12:05:24

YANBU, it's like the people who say they are "crazy" or "mad" and they are really quite dull!

orangeandlemons Fri 23-Nov-12 12:07:07

I'm not sure either. I am creative, can tackle most creative projects, but not sure I think creatively at all. I am good with my hands and have a degree in a creative subject, do a creative job, but creative thinking eludes me completely hmm. I prefer linear straightforward thinking, but I am good at solving problems. Is this creative thinking.

orangeandlemons Fri 23-Nov-12 12:07:32

Forgot question mark. ?

Agree Cheekybaubles and Showtunes,
If anyone describes themselves as creative or worse, 'a creative' you just know they are superior and smug. I mean, really, do they think the rest of us have no free thought/imagination at all?!
I think perhaps they do think that.

HoleyGhost Fri 23-Nov-12 12:10:32

I find it is usually used to mean they see themselves as anti-science and/or rubbish at maths.

Some of the most genuinely creative people I know are scientists

NotQuintAtAllOhNo Fri 23-Nov-12 12:10:53

"how she's such a 'creative thinker' and not 'a typical office type'."

She is telling you what she wants to be, and how she wants to be perceived, as she feels inadequate an incompetent in work, and hopes this will excuse/explain her failings, while enamoring her to you.


Sad really.

At least, that is my take on it.

I will happily admit "I have no sense of style, I cant make my house as nice and cosy as you, I dont know where to begin, so make odd purchases and hope it will work" More hones than "I am so creative, which is why my home is a heap of mismatched woo"

wordfactory Fri 23-Nov-12 12:11:14

Wekk I woukld describe myself as creative my defence I am a novelist as so do actual real proper creating every day wink.

But I see the term as simply descriptive. Not loaded with any particular significance.

I think the problem is that some people use the word to lend themselves a certain image. An image that may not be true for real life creatives.

BlissfullyIgnorant Fri 23-Nov-12 12:11:52

Expand it into people with self proclaimed;
Wacky sense of humour
Individual style
Good taste
Excellent driving skills
Wonderful talent with interior design
Expertise in anything

Truly creative people tend to keep on going, striving for perfection and yet never believing they've reached it, which is what drives them.

I have a creative streak but I don't shout about it - not until recently anyway, and thats only because I'm trying to sell it!

I think it goes for everything. Most people who shout about how good they are at something can't do it for shit!

quesadilla Fri 23-Nov-12 12:12:46

In my experience most people who are in a rush to tell everyone how "creative" they are fall into one of 2 categories: 1) trustafarians who have never had to work and 2) desperately dull types who think having their Tarots done occasionally and burning the odd joss stick makes them a free spirit. (With no disrespect intended to actual creative people who, as the OP says, tend not to bang on about it).

MarshaBrady Fri 23-Nov-12 12:13:25

I don't like the idea that creativity and maths are split, some can do both.

But when you have a career that is thought to be creative by others, then you probably stop telling people you are creative.

For the record, I don't ever say I'm creative - I just shove jewellery under peoples noses wink

turkeyboots Fri 23-Nov-12 12:13:50

YANBU. Creative in an office setting tends to only mean they use annoying colours and fonts in emails. Or order pink pens. Or pointlessly argue about minor details of presentation rather than do the work.


akaemmafrost Fri 23-Nov-12 12:15:37

I am NOT creative, except for being able to write stingingly marvellous complaining letters grin. I am famous among my friends and family for it, so I suppose I CAN write but not fiction, so not sure if that's creative or not. Can't draw, paint, knit or sew etc, though quite a good cook.

I agree people who spout on about being creative probably WANT to be but aren't.

NotQuintAtAllOhNo Fri 23-Nov-12 12:15:55

I visited one of Londons top independent secondary schools yesterday. They do LOTS of arts, music and drama, alongside science. They said nurturing creativity was really important. 25% of the curriculum was arts based.

I totally agree that creativity and science go hand in hand.

I had the pleasure of spending a long flight with a drummer. Her instrument is African Drums, mainly, and she has done lots of projects together with classical violinists. (Her girlfriend is a politician with a psychology degree so they are an interesting match)
She said there is so much mathematics in music and so many formulas and much wave theory in rhythm, that maths should be compulsory in music college (I dont know where you go to study music - In Norway it is called Music Conservatorium so I dare not make an adhoc translation grin), and music part of the maths curriculum.

RooneyMara Fri 23-Nov-12 12:16:27

Oh yes.

I think there's a huge dischordance with being someone who is artistic in some way, and selling that/speaking about it/saying it.

I can't do it. Only on here can I write something like, yes I paint, yes I sing/play music. But people I know, have generally no idea. I only do it alone and the few pictures I've got anywhere with are around my house and probably so weird that no one who visits likes to ask if I did them!

I had one on my phone for a while and showed a few people, when they asked what my boyfriend looked like at the time and I said here he is. And they were like Oh my God, did you paint this. But tbh it looked much better on a tiny phone screen than IRL.

Having to cross that divide and SELL my work would be anathema, it would ruin it, it would be seriously uncomfortable.

wordfactory Fri 23-Nov-12 12:22:29

I think when you are among professional creatives, the idea is much more free. Being creative and creating are a given.

Ullena Fri 23-Nov-12 12:23:19

Can I really use the term creative to describe my poor maths skills? grin

PetFox Fri 23-Nov-12 12:23:41

YANBU OP, she sounds like a bore. But I love the idea that living in an old converted house wold make her creative grin Unless she converted it herself I suppose...

I think some people are creative thinkers and some are creative doers. I love making stuff but am rubbish at coming up with creative solutions to problems.

ExitPursuedByMarieAntoinette Fri 23-Nov-12 12:23:55

I specifically go on about how uncreative I am. Comes from working in Advertising/PR where there are some really creative types, and I couldn't hold a candle to them.

wordfactory Fri 23-Nov-12 12:26:10

I think some people describe themselves or their DC as creative to excuse poor skills in other areas...but really that doesn't wash.

TeeHollyandTeeIvy Fri 23-Nov-12 12:32:06

I'm a graphic artist and create all day long but I never describe myself as creative!

I think because it is such and over used word.

yy petfox i knit and sew lots but i wouldn't describe myself as creative - i'm just copying other people's clever designs

RooneyMara Fri 23-Nov-12 12:38:46

Actually same here, I don't really make anything up - I can only paint from actual RL, I can't draw from imagination as I haven't got one.

Same with music. If I made up stuff, that would be what I'd call creative but no, I just copy.

OnTheBottomWithAStringOfTinsel Fri 23-Nov-12 12:40:51

Did anyone see the Crocheted Coral Reef - apparently when it was in Trinity College Dublin there were lots of maths undergraduates sitting around crocheting, because the stitch patterns generating all the wavy twirly stuff are all maths based. So there's another area creativity and maths overlaps!

(& I would consider myself creative too, not in maths though, and again like SantaKissed I don't speak about it - just when I'm selling stuff is when people see it!)

jusfloatingby Fri 23-Nov-12 12:51:53

My brother is very creative and works in media but his degree is in maths so definitely one doesn't exclude the other.

My role within my organisation is a composing and writing one and, while other people in here talk about it being a creative role it also requires a lot of research and getting my head around factual details.

I just think my colleague is one of those people who thinks creativity is about being a bit ditzy and giving your children wacky names and wearing long floaty scarves all the time.

HoleyGhost Fri 23-Nov-12 12:57:17

Is she into alternative medicine, homeopathy etc?

LadyMaryCrawley Fri 23-Nov-12 12:59:56

I'm incredibly creative, why this year alone I have made a whole baby! (I had help though, I'm not Mary of Nazareth)


BrainSurgeon Fri 23-Nov-12 13:14:14

OP, maybe your colleague is one of those people who "think outside of the box" <boak>

BrainSurgeon Fri 23-Nov-12 13:14:44

Congrats Lady Mary! thanks

MooncupGoddess Fri 23-Nov-12 13:15:01

There is a weird modern obsession with 'creativity', which is used in a very ill-defined but adulatory way. It's totally unhelpful and leads to lots of people who don't spend their weekends making abstract stencils to decorate their bathroom ceilings feeling vaguely inadequate.

Being imaginative, problem solving, lateral thinking, having a talent for making links between different things, etc, are all 'creative' on one level, and frankly much more important and useful than wafting around being vaguely arty.

Corygal Fri 23-Nov-12 13:28:55

It's one of those words that make me cringe. Only people I know who use it are a) try-hards who do nowt b) sell fridges wackily, at best.

The arts/science split is a modern, well, 18th century hangover. No one saw it as any type of difference before then.

jusfloatingby Fri 23-Nov-12 14:34:51

I always laugh when I hear or read of people saying 'I like to surround myself with creative people'. It just sounds so daft, like a load of people are paraded before them on a conveyor belt and some of the lucky ones get chosen to 'surround' the aspirational artist/writer whatever.

freddiefrog Fri 23-Nov-12 14:42:40


My SiL constantly bangs on about how creative she is. She makes and sells 'cutting edge' jewellery at craft fairs, but all her work has been done before, many times over (Scrabble tile rings, etc), a lot better. It's nice enough, but creative and cutting edge?

My eldest daughter is very arty and SiL likes to take all the credit for it.

I used to make wedding cakes for a living (I still do a bit but I pick and choose what I do), but that's not creative at all apparently.

honeytea Fri 23-Nov-12 14:53:39

I just find it strange when people talk about their positive attributes, it would be like someone sitting there and going on about how athletic they are or how academic they are.

I think creativity can be expressed in most aspects of a person's life. You can be a creative mother and make dens and join in with imaginative play, you can find creative ways to solve problems in the work place, you can be creative in the kitchen. I don't think you actually need to have a finished craft/artwork to live a creative lifestyle, but having said that to go on about what a creative person you just makes you sound like a talking CV.

WelshMaenad Fri 23-Nov-12 14:55:28

Oh sweet lord, people who are "wacky".

I used to work with a guy who liked to do stupid, annoying things all the time, including playing quite cruel practical jokes, and put it all down yo being "wacky as hell, me!".

Until he round me up past the point of return, upon which I told him "you're not wacky, Kevin, you're just a cunt". Amazing how he instantly reigned in that wackiness!

freddiefrog Fri 23-Nov-12 15:03:21

Oh, god 'wacky'.

There's a woman who works in our local pub who constantly tells anyone in earshot how she's 'mad' and 'bubbly'

No, you're just irritating!

ClippedPhoenix Fri 23-Nov-12 15:14:37

What's bubbly anyway? Does she squirt a bit of fairy liquid up her backside every morning? grin

valiumredhead Fri 23-Nov-12 15:27:50

redsky I snorted too - anyone with half a creative bone in their body would have been able to come up with what Kirsty did ffs!

orangeandlemons Fri 23-Nov-12 15:34:41

OooohI love that link between Maths art and science. They are all interlinked. I think this is something tht is never considered in schools. I defo agree with creativity and maths. Do has degree in maths me thinks in much much more creative way than me who hs a degree in design.

People who describe themselves as "like, so random" hmm are usually more often cunts.

RichardSimmonsTankTop Fri 23-Nov-12 16:06:16

All my friends say I'm mad! I can't help it - I guess I'm just a free spirit.

I like the expression 'the empty can rattles the most'. OP, your colleague is trying to fill a void. It's silly because I'm sure there's something she's good at - we all have our strengths and we should be proud of them even if our greatest strength is sorting recycling efficiently.

cheekybaubles Fri 23-Nov-12 16:24:31

You are not accountants are you op? grin

NotMostPeople Fri 23-Nov-12 16:31:34

We are a creative household and there are times when I might say it but it's occasional and often to do with the dc's. Ie. we like X school because they have great art facilities and we're a creative family. I can here how wanky it sounds so I rarely say it.

I think in general that if you have to point out an attribute then you don't have it. My mother is always telling me that my step father is very intelligent, surely this should be obvious (and it's not).

NotMostPeople Fri 23-Nov-12 16:32:01

arghhh 'hear' not 'here'.

jusfloatingby Fri 23-Nov-12 16:36:09

No Cheeky. No accountants here.

cheekybaubles Fri 23-Nov-12 16:48:32

Was just thinking could do with a creativeaccountant grin

jusfloatingby Fri 23-Nov-12 16:52:23

Is that an accountant who wears indian smocks and burns joss sticks??

cheekybaubles Fri 23-Nov-12 16:55:37


thebody Fri 23-Nov-12 16:59:08

Because she thinks it makes her sound interesting and beautiful.

She sounds a boring pain in the arse.

I am not creative at all which is shite as my dh and all the kids are but then I am boringly practical,. While they decorate the Christmas tree I Hoover the fuckin pine needles!!

UrbanSpaceManBaby Fri 23-Nov-12 18:04:15

I was once introduced on a hen night as 'the wacky one' awful, I do interesting stuff and I'm socially skilled enough to generally pull something interesting out of the company I find myself in. But I'm not a clown for hire and it was like pulling teeth that night.

My mil identifies herself as creative but really it's just painting-by-numbers.

TheDuchessOfEarl Fri 23-Nov-12 18:05:42

The thing with the couple in Kirstie's (Tedious) Vintage Home is that the wife was previously an art teacher. How can someone with an arts background have so little creativity that they can't stick a few things on a dresser?

Creativity is something that other people recognise in you, not something that you can announce you have (well IMO anyway)

The most boringly predictable and conventional woman of my aquaintance tells me at least twice every time we meet..."I'm a bit of a rebel, me"

MadameCreeper Fri 23-Nov-12 20:41:22

An ex manager of mine was always thinking outside the box and every team meeting he would encourage us to think outside the box.

WelshMaenad Fri 23-Nov-12 20:46:04

Last time someone asked me to think outside the box at work, I asked if I could go and think outside with a fag instead, as I might be more productive. I fucking hate corporate wank speak. An ex boss once described me as "his little blue sky thinker". I'm fucking 6ft tall, for starters. Arsewipe.

Janeatthebarre Mon 26-Nov-12 12:00:22

I have a sister in law who spends her life enrolling in creative writing classes, art courses, pottery lessons and anything else that's vaguely arty. Unfortunately, though, she's not the least bit creative but seems to really admire creative people and aspire to be like them. The sad thing is that she's actually very good at practical things like sorting out computer problems, putting together complicated flat pack furniture, understanding the instructions that come with new TVs and household gadgets, but instead of developing those skills into a satistying job or hobby she's determined to pursue things that she has no innate talent or flair for, then gets bored and moves on to the next artistic pastime.
However, if she's happy I suppose its none of my business. But I agree with posters on here that people who like to tell you they're creative are usually people who would like to be creative but are aware deep down that they're probably not.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now