Author Topic: The embellisher  (Read 6723 times)

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gen xer

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The embellisher
« on: October 16, 2012, 05:48:52 PM »

Who has one of these in their lives...the chronic embellisher?  I have a friend - a good friend with many good qualities - who nonetheless is one of those people who always exaggerates just about anything she is talking about.  Of course I can't pinpoint exactly what is truth and what is fiction....but she is one who seems to have stunningly frequent encounters with the most horribly rude, incompetent, awful people EVERYWHERE she goes.  Grocery stores, her kids school, driving down the street, going to the park....everything seems to have some sort of shocking incident with awful people.

I listen to her recount these stories - awful kids, awful teachers, awful sales clerks, perverts, bad parents and bullies galore while internally rolling my eyes.  I flat out don't believe 90 % of what she says.

I always thought that it is rude to call people out on this - if they want to create a dramatic story for the sake of creating a dramatic story then fine - knock yourself out....but when you are supposed to be captivated and shocked along with her every time...

." No way - he didn't say that!"
" You're kidding!  She did what?  So what did you do?"

I can't bring myself to do it anymore.  I feel like a fool going along with it.  Lately I have been kind of...dismissive isn't the word...but blase.  Yes....definitely blase as though nothing she says shocks or scandalizes me...because it doesn't.

How do you guys handle them?  Just curious!

QueenofAllThings

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Re: The embellisher
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2012, 05:59:01 PM »
"Well,  that certainly sounds exciting. Did I tell you I need to find some new boots? I saw some cute ones the other day ... Blah, blah"

She thinks that she, and her life, are boring. She's trying to make it all more exciting. Don't bite.

Bijou

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Re: The embellisher
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2012, 06:33:58 PM »
I usually don't say anything or give just a mild response.  I would never call anyone out on it, in real life on on the internet, but it does give me a heads up about content of their conversations.  I actually like to stay away from those kind of conversations because I don't like it if people think I am gullible.   >:(
« Last Edit: October 16, 2012, 06:35:53 PM by Bijou »
I've never knitted anything I could recognize when it was finished.  Actually, I've never finished anything, much to my family's relief.

SleepyKitty

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Re: The embellisher
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2012, 06:56:25 PM »
I might offer up a neutral: "Wow, this type of stuff seems to happen to you an awful lot. Bean-dip?" Or even just respond with a non-committal, "Hmm, really? Strange that that happened. Bean-dip?"

If the bean-dips don't work, try something like: "That's really a bummer, but could you try not to focus on the negative stuff around me? I have stuff like that happen too, but I try really hard to let it go right away and it can make it hard to do that if I'm hearing a lot of negativity. I appreciate it - you're really helping me keep a positive viewpoint." Hopefully, this will get her to stop with those kinds of stories without directly calling her out on it.

jpcher

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Re: The embellisher
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2012, 06:58:07 PM »
LDH was like this. It took me quite some time to actually figure it out.

It became more and more apparent whenever he repeated stories (first he told me, then he told his mom, then he told his brother . . . and so on) especially when he was on the phone, calling one person then the other "You gotta hear this!" (Probably why it took me so long to figure it out, because I don't make a habit of eaves dropping.)

Or when we were at parties (different audiences) I noticed that every time he told the story he would add finer, more fantastical dramatic details. Embellishing the story to the point where, 5 years later, the story had changed quite a bit.



Sorry for the sidetrack, and to answer your question . . . how to handle the embellisher?

After years of dawning realization, whenever he came to me with a "You gotta hear this one!" story that sounded a bit off, I started asking him for finer details.

Me: You said that person did/said "blah blah blah" right?

LDH: Yeah! Can you believe that?

Me: What was their tone? Were they angry? Sad? Disappointed? Apologetic?

LDH: What difference does that make?

Me: It makes a lot of difference. Say the person had a bad day. What could you have done differently?


Once I started questioning the details, he either backpedaled, changed the subject or even ;D admitted that the situation wasn't all that fantastical and maybe he could have done something to turn it around.

Then, sometimes, we actually had a good conversations on the subject.




The above conversation isn't verbatim, but I hope you get the idea.

I don't think this approach is "calling them out." I do think that maybe it changes the dynamics of the conversation. I turns it around from "Oh, you poor thing!" to "Maybe next time you'll handle it differently."



Just a suggestion.

SiotehCat

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Re: The embellisher
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2012, 07:16:19 PM »
My sister used to work with someone that had the wildest stories.

Everyone in the office used to love to see how far she would take some of them. How big she would make them. They would start responding with "Oh my goodness, AND THEN?!". This was her opportunity to make the story a little bit longer.

We live in an area that doesn't get tornados. A couple of years back, there was a tornado and it was all over the news the next day.

Not only did Lucy see that tornado up close and personal, but she was in it! She was driving home and the tornado came up, picked her and the car up, spun them around in the sky a few times and then it dropped her right back on to the road. In the same direction that she was originally driving! There was zero damage to her car because the tornado was nice like that.

Also, Lucy's teenage son was in a relationship with both of the Olsen twins! On the internet, of course. They fought over him, even.

Lucy and her husband were once at a club. A bunch of men swarmed Lucy, because she was just that sexy. Lucys husband became so jealous that he pushed his way through the crowd, threw Lucy over his shoulder and marched right out to the car. It doesn't matter that Lucy is more then twice his size, because at that moment, he had Incredible Hulk strength.

Also, the guy that robbed all those banks? Lucy was pumping gas and he ran right past her! He even punched her back window out!

I have to admit, I loved hearing the stories too.

CakeEater

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Re: The embellisher
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2012, 07:21:30 PM »
I read a book a while ago, called Personailty Plus, which about 4 temperaments. Your friend sounds like a sanguine:

http://temperaments.info/sanguine.htm

That's a religious site, but it's not really a religious concept, I believe.

I found it particularly interesting, because a co-worker of mine at the time was exactly the same. She once told a story about how when they moved to Australia from South Africa, they ate dog food accidently once, because they thought it was canned meat, and it was cheap and they were poor. The story was hilarious the way she told it, but even at the time, I was wondering how that could possibly happen when there were pictures of dogs all over every tin of dog food, plus she spoke perfect English.

I suspect she might have made a comment to her husband that it was a shame that dog food was cheap and human food wasn't, and it turned into a story where they ate it, and felt sick, and blah,blah,blah. I truly think she saw the story as great entertainment, rather than an accurate retelling of the actual facts of what happened, much like a stand-up comedian tells stories as though they happened to them, rather than as jokes, because it makes the story funnier.

A quote from the site above:

One interesting characteristic of the Sanguine temperament is a tendency to exaggerate.  A good time is remembered as a terrific event.  A modest accomplishment becomes a major victory. Most Sanguines will not even perceive these exaggerations as untruthful, but rather they tend to believe their own hyperbole.

I think you just enjoy the story if it's entertaining, but don't believe the details. I, personally, find these sorts of people to be exhausting, and am not really good friends with any, but they're definitely the kind of people you want at a party!
« Last Edit: October 16, 2012, 07:24:10 PM by CakeEater »

Pippen

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Re: The embellisher
« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2012, 07:51:35 PM »
I read a book a while ago, called Personailty Plus, which about 4 temperaments. Your friend sounds like a sanguine:

http://temperaments.info/sanguine.htm

That's a religious site, but it's not really a religious concept, I believe.

I found it particularly interesting, because a co-worker of mine at the time was exactly the same. She once told a story about how when they moved to Australia from South Africa, they ate dog food accidently once, because they thought it was canned meat, and it was cheap and they were poor. The story was hilarious the way she told it, but even at the time, I was wondering how that could possibly happen when there were pictures of dogs all over every tin of dog food, plus she spoke perfect English.

I suspect she might have made a comment to her husband that it was a shame that dog food was cheap and human food wasn't, and it turned into a story where they ate it, and felt sick, and blah,blah,blah. I truly think she saw the story as great entertainment, rather than an accurate retelling of the actual facts of what happened, much like a stand-up comedian tells stories as though they happened to them, rather than as jokes, because it makes the story funnier.

A quote from the site above:

One interesting characteristic of the Sanguine temperament is a tendency to exaggerate.  A good time is remembered as a terrific event.  A modest accomplishment becomes a major victory. Most Sanguines will not even perceive these exaggerations as untruthful, but rather they tend to believe their own hyperbole.

I think you just enjoy the story if it's entertaining, but don't believe the details. I, personally, find these sorts of people to be exhausting, and am not really good friends with any, but they're definitely the kind of people you want at a party!

Ha ha ha. In countries with low literacy levels packaged food has pictures of the contents so people know what they are eating. The don't have pictures of babies on baby food formula cans.

CakeEater

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Re: The embellisher
« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2012, 07:56:06 PM »
That would be pretty shocking if that's what you were used to!  ;D

These people were very highly educated, and spoke and read perfect English.

bloo

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Re: The embellisher
« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2012, 08:08:03 PM »
My sister used to work with someone that had the wildest stories.

Everyone in the office used to love to see how far she would take some of them. How big she would make them. They would start responding with "Oh my goodness, AND THEN?!". This was her opportunity to make the story a little bit longer.

We live in an area that doesn't get tornados. A couple of years back, there was a tornado and it was all over the news the next day.

Not only did Lucy see that tornado up close and personal, but she was in it! She was driving home and the tornado came up, picked her and the car up, spun them around in the sky a few times and then it dropped her right back on to the road. In the same direction that she was originally driving! There was zero damage to her car because the tornado was nice like that.

Also, Lucy's teenage son was in a relationship with both of the Olsen twins! On the internet, of course. They fought over him, even.

Lucy and her husband were once at a club. A bunch of men swarmed Lucy, because she was just that sexy. Lucys husband became so jealous that he pushed his way through the crowd, threw Lucy over his shoulder and marched right out to the car. It doesn't matter that Lucy is more then twice his size, because at that moment, he had Incredible Hulk strength.

Also, the guy that robbed all those banks? Lucy was pumping gas and he ran right past her! He even punched her back window out!

I have to admit, I loved hearing the stories too.

Siothecat, your post has me laughing out loud! See if the embellisher is funny then they can get away with it with me. If they're not funny, then I hope the embellisher is tied to a good storyteller (like Lucy's former co-worker is Siothecat) as that worked out for me! More Lucy stories if you can remember them...

hee hee..."because the tornado was nice like that..."  ;D

gen xer

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Re: The embellisher
« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2012, 09:57:00 PM »

She is a good storyteller....lots of fun at social events because she has a lot of charisma.  Often it is pure entertainment...especially in a social setting.

It's the everyday embellishment that kills me....I mean she can't possibly have that kind of stuff happen constantly.   That's where I feel like a bit of an idiot if I am doing the "Oh my goodness....and then" bit  ::)

Don't get me wrong.... this is not a big deal - just a personality quirk where nothing requires "fixing" as far as the friendship goes.....but I was curious to know whether anyone else found it hard to go along with it after a while.  Sometimes I find myself musing about whether she believes herself!

My everyday life is so bland in comparison!  In fact most days pass without any drama period.  I must be doing something wrong. ;)


CakeEater

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Re: The embellisher
« Reply #11 on: October 16, 2012, 10:01:33 PM »

My everyday life is so bland in comparison!  In fact most days pass without any drama period.  I must be doing something wrong. ;)

I suspect hers is pretty bland as well, but that doesn't fulfil her need to be amusing when in company.

My suggestion would be to kind-of smile and make your eyes wide, like you would when a 3-year-old tells you something they find really exciting. Then say something like, 'Wow! [short pause] Did I tell you about my new ......'


selkiewoman

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Re: The embellisher
« Reply #12 on: October 16, 2012, 10:10:28 PM »
My daughter has a Lucy in her life.  Let us call her Lia.  Lia had a dental appointment in next-town for her son, for a fairly common pediatric dental procedure.  She was ushered into the office, had a chat with the dentist, then asked a question about the recovery.  The dentist, in her words, turned as white as a sheet, informed her that the dentist who did such procedures was not in that day and implored her forgiveness.  He then handed her his wallet and asked her to take all the money in it for her gas, told her there would be no bill,  (FWIW Lia's son is on medicaid, so no bill in any case), gave her son a $30 gift certificate to BigBoxStore, and told her there would be a fabulous gift basket waiting for her on her next visit.

(I hope noone is reading any snark into my comment on medicaid, one of my grandsons is in that program and no snark intended.  I just am not understanding how the doctor could forgive a bill that would not exist, and would surely be another doctors if it did.)

Based on my considerable experience, doctors are unlikely to admit fault even if it exists, and he would not have been the person who scheduled the appointment in the first place.  Heck, over the decades there have been a couple of drs. who came very close to bumping me off, and hanged if I got any gift baskets.!


Deetee

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Re: The embellisher
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2012, 10:14:50 PM »
I have a friend like that. I don't mind. She is good company. I take her stories with a grain of salt and I appreciate her art of storytelling.

 But she has a lot of awesome characteristics and this just fits with her exerberant personality.

katycoo

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Re: The embellisher
« Reply #14 on: October 16, 2012, 11:13:10 PM »
I read a book a while ago, called Personailty Plus, which about 4 temperaments. Your friend sounds like a sanguine:

http://temperaments.info/sanguine.htm

That's a religious site, but it's not really a religious concept, I believe.

I found it particularly interesting, because a co-worker of mine at the time was exactly the same. She once told a story about how when they moved to Australia from South Africa, they ate dog food accidently once, because they thought it was canned meat, and it was cheap and they were poor. The story was hilarious the way she told it, but even at the time, I was wondering how that could possibly happen when there were pictures of dogs all over every tin of dog food, plus she spoke perfect English.

I suspect she might have made a comment to her husband that it was a shame that dog food was cheap and human food wasn't, and it turned into a story where they ate it, and felt sick, and blah,blah,blah. I truly think she saw the story as great entertainment, rather than an accurate retelling of the actual facts of what happened, much like a stand-up comedian tells stories as though they happened to them, rather than as jokes, because it makes the story funnier.

A quote from the site above:

One interesting characteristic of the Sanguine temperament is a tendency to exaggerate.  A good time is remembered as a terrific event.  A modest accomplishment becomes a major victory. Most Sanguines will not even perceive these exaggerations as untruthful, but rather they tend to believe their own hyperbole.

I think you just enjoy the story if it's entertaining, but don't believe the details. I, personally, find these sorts of people to be exhausting, and am not really good friends with any, but they're definitely the kind of people you want at a party!

Ha ha ha. In countries with low literacy levels packaged food has pictures of the contents so people know what they are eating. The don't have pictures of babies on baby food formula cans.

They do here :)  Not that I spend a lot of tiem looking at tins of formula, but afaik they mostly have a picture of a happy looking baby.

The biggest flag to me is that neight dog food or baby formula/food is in the same aisle as the human food.