Do you feel as though your social circle is just bobbing around the shallowest end of society’s pool?
Does your partner or parent say things that make your jaw drop with its superficial dipsh*ttery?
Consider the points below as a sort of checklist to determine whether the people you’re associating with on a regular basis have all the depth of a bottle cap.
Appearance Is Everything
It doesn’t matter whether they’re considered good or not, as long as people think they’re hot. They could be dating the most wonderful person in the world, but will drop that partner like a used tissue if someone more attractive finds them interesting.
They’ll surround themselves with beautiful people, even if they don’t really like them, and cut down others for being ugly, fat, unfashionable, or just not cool enough to hang around with.
They reinvent themselves quite often as well, becoming a chameleon to matchy-match with whomever they’re occupying themselves with this month. They’ll adapt to any style aesthetic, pretend to love any music genre, just to fit in with whatever’s hot and trendy.
They’ll Date For Status, Rather Than Love
For many shallow people, who they’re dating is just as important as how attractive other people think they are. In fact, if they’re with someone who is seen as hot and desirable by other people, then they believe that elevates them in other people’s eyes.
They may not even like the person all that much, but they look good together. Bonus points if said person is wealthy and spends a ridiculous amount of money on them to keep them around.
They’ll Bail On Plans If Something Better Comes Along
You make plans with this person to spend time together, even if it’s just going out for drinks or a movie, but then they text you at the last minute to tell you they can’t make it.
Not because they’re sick or a relative needs them, but because some supercool event is happening and it’s a one-time thing and they were put on the guestlist and OMG, so sorry, maybe next time.
Celebrity Gossip And Trash Talking
Eleanor Roosevelt once said: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” That’s pretty spot on.
If someone is a superficial mess, chances are that the only things they’ll talk about are which celebrities are dating or pregnant, and who in your social circle has gained weight.
Ideas, current events, ponderings about the universe as a whole are unwelcome because they’re boring, so they’ll prattle about other people’s lives instead.
They Identify With Their “Stuff”
These are people who readily flaunt the latest gadget that they’ve picked up (before anyone else has theirs, of course), and warble about how much their new designer clothes cost.
They treasure luxury items with high-profile labels, and are sure to mention those items in conversation whenever possible, especially if they get to laugh off how much they paid for them.
If you check out their social media feeds, you’ll find ten thousand photos of their face. “Me, me, me, look at me” seems to be their mantra, and you can bet that they take a hundred selfies before finding the perfect one to post that hour. Bonus points if they’re near a reflective surface so there are infinite images of themselves in all directions.
“Enough About Me, What Do You Think About Me?”
Don’t even bother telling this person anything about yourself and expecting them to care: anything that comes out of your mouth is just white noise, and will be forgotten seconds after it’s said.
You can tell a shallow person a dozen times that you have a deathly allergy to peanuts and they’ll still offer you some each time they see you, followed by a “Right, OMG I forgot. Sorry! LOL” response.
They Won’t Do Anything Unless It Benefits Them
The only things that these people get involved with are those that will benefit them in some way, somehow. That charity event they’re helping with? Yeah, that’s so they can get close to the local celebrity they want to meet. The new person they’re spending so much time with can get them into the VIP lounge at their favorite club.
And so on. Altruism isn’t in their vocabulary: it’s all about what other people can do for them, and what they need to do in order to make that happen.
If you’re dealing with a fight with your partner, that’s cool: they’ll bring wine and ice cream over to your place and help you bitch about them until dawn.
If, however, you’re contending with the death of a parent, or a serious health crisis, or anything else that’s emotionally intense, they’ll be nowhere to be found. Suddenly, really important anything else ever has come up in their life and sorry babe, but they just can’t right now. They’re totes sending you love, though.
Just… from afar.
They’ll show up a while down the road once the storm has calmed a bit, but will dodge details about the crap you’ve had to sort through on your own.
They’re “Just Trying To Help”
Judgmental as all hell, they’ll say the most horrible things to those around them in the guise of just wanting to be “helpful.”
They’ll criticize people’s wardrobes and tell them what they should be wearing, or ask them if they really want to order that item at lunch instead of a salad with light dressing on the side.
They’ll make snide remarks about people’s home décor, or how they should be disciplining their children, and when called out about said negative behavior, they’ll appear to be shocked by the kind of response.
After all, they’re just trying to help.
…but help what, exactly? Help you be a person they like better, or more like themselves, of course.
You’re Just Too Sensitive
This goes along with the previous point: if they hurt you with one of the thoughtless blatherings mentioned above, then you’re too sensitive and have some issues to deal with. It’s never their fault, and they won’t take responsibility for any wrongdoing.
Their Life Is Just Perfect
Nothing ever goes wrong in their life. Their relationships, family life, career, health… it’s all just tickety-boo. They can’t tell you what’s really going on in their world – in their head – because this would shatter the carefully constructed image they’ve spent years honing.
As far as they want you to know, they have no failings and everything they do is good, no scrap that, great!
They Want The Limelight All To Themselves
It’s of the utmost importance what everyone else thinks of them, and they get emotionally and physically sick if someone else is stealing their thunder. Heaven forbid if you have an announcement to make or people are listening to what you have to say or laughing at your jokes.
If someone else is getting all the attention – even for a second – the shallow person feels neglected. They will do their best to steal back the limelight by making it all about them once again.
Your Secrets Are For Sharing
If you’ve dared to trust this so-called friend with some personal details, chances are everyone else in your social circle will know all about it within minutes.
They just can’t help themselves: juicy bits of information are for sharing, not keeping secret, and you’ll quickly find out that absolutely nothing is sacrosanct as far as they’re concerned.
They’ll have kittens if you share any details that they’ve told YOU about, but when roles are reversed, anything shared is public knowledge, darling. Just deal with it.
Loyalty Really Isn’t In Their Nature
When it comes to friendships or romantic relationships, they’ll dart at a moment’s notice if someone more interesting, more attractive, or more exciting comes along.
If you’re dating a person like this, brace yourself for the inevitable breakup when someone shinier catches their eye, and if you think you’re cultivating a close friendship with them, understand that you’ll be discarded like last year’s shoes, without a second thought.
In conclusion, then: to define a shallow person, we must consider their common traits. If you want to know what a shallow, superficial person is like, here are 15 signs to look for:
They prioritize appearance over all else.
They date for status, rather than love.
They bail on plans if something better comes along.
They enjoy celebrity gossip and trash talking.
They identify with their “stuff.”
They take a lot of selfies.
They forget important things you’ve told them.
They prioritize things that benefit them.
They run away when things get serious.
They say horrible things and claim they were trying to help.
They claim you are “too sensitive” if you get upset by what they say.
Catherine Winter is a writer, art director, and herbalist-in-training based in Quebec's Outaouais region. She has been known to subsist on coffee and soup for days at a time, and when she isn't writing or tending her garden, she can be found wrestling with various knitting projects and befriending local wildlife.