Anyone could have told you that. When you started to write stories in class in second grade or third grade, your teacher taught you that personality traits were things like “funny” or “kind.” They are what make us who we are and are ultimately what people tend to associate us with.
But still, someone immediately came into your head when I brought up “The Office” thing, right? Not only do they love “The Office,” but they live for “The Office.” The comedy show is their modern-day religion.
They mark every whiteboard they comes across with “‘You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take’- Wayne Gretzky – Michael Scott – X Name.” Their Dunder Mifflin Paper Company shirt is the first one they wears after a fresh load of laundry.
They receive a “World’s Greatest Boss” mug every year for Secret Santa because people genuinely don’t know what else they would like. They fill their Tinder bio with quotes from the show, desperately hoping to find a Pam to their Jim, or Dwight to their Angela. They tells you that it just takes a more sophisticated sense of humor to truly appreciate “The Office.”
“Going to the beach all the time isn’t a personality trait.” You know them too. They live for pineapples, seashells and any merchandise branded with “good vibes only.” You know they’re at the beach when you get the Instagram post, the Snapchat story and the Facebook check-in. Even their bathroom is decorated with nautical accents (though this doesn’t really make them special — everyone’s bathroom is beach themed).
The possibilities are endless: horse girls, boys who drive trucks, students who were accepted into Ivy League schools, Fantasy Football league aficionados and people who love horror movies. We all know those people who just love one thing so much that it seems to become a part of them. And for these reasons, we love to poke fun at them on the Internet.
“_____ isn’t a personality trait” tweets have been rising in popularity over the past month or so. The formula involves calling out a certain passion or interest that usually consumes the people who have it. It seems I cannot go a day without scrolling past one on my feed. Generally, I enjoy them but every time I see one, I can’t help but feel that they pose the question: Is it possible to love something so, so, much that it becomes a part of you?
In short, yes, of course. But if you love “The Office” so much that it’s the only thing you ever talk about, you only associate with people who are well-versed on the show and its characters, and your entire life passes you by because you are too busy re-watching all 201 episodes, then you probably like “The Office” a little too much. In a similar way, if you skip class every single day to go to the beach, you probably go to the beach a little too much. It’s safe to say that these instances are so outrageous that the trending tweets are not geared toward these people, but rather, more realistic situations.
All of these tweets are in good fun. Sure, maybe you want to recommend a new TV show to that frat boy obsessed with “The Office,” but at the end of the day, his love for the show isn’t hurting anyone. However, I think that the meme has a lot to say about our generation’s love for cynical humor.
Posting a clever personality formula tweet allows you to have the upper hand, just for a moment. By tweeting and poking fun at something — or someone — else, you’re taking the focus off yourself for those few moments. It’s almost as if to say, “Hey, I may be one of those people who think playing ‘Dungeons and Dragons’ is a personality trait, but at least I don’t think hating cats is a personality trait.”
Think about it: As much as you would like to deny it, there is probably at least one thing that you love so much so that your obsession could be poked fun at in a tweet. It’s simple. Like most other memes, viewers enjoy them only when the humor does not directly target their person. As soon as the meme singles a viewer out, they’re suddenly not a fan anymore. It’s the circle of life.
Another reason the formula has risen in popularity is the fact that you can just as easily spin it around. Sure, we’ve established that liking “The Office” is not a personality trait, but neither is hating it. Going to the beach all of the time isn’t a personality trait, but neither is staying inside every day of the summer.
How the tables have turned. In this way, the cynicism of the memes seems to hide a deeper, more positive message: Everyone has something that they love so much that it becomes a part of them, but who cares? Own it.
That being said, maybe society, especially in the realm of Twitter, should just let everyone enjoy things. Sure, there are people who only listen to rap, pop or EDM, but liking classic rock doesn’t make you any better than them. Sure, there are people who devote all of their free time to playing video games, but the fact that your time reading books doesn’t make you any better than them.
So, keep up the personality trait tweets. At their core, they have good intentions. Plus, they make people laugh! Just remember that having a Twitter account isn’t a personality trait.