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Histrionic and exaggerating/embellishing?

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Histrionic and exaggerating/embellishing?

Postby krp34 » Tue Mar 06, 2018 10:06 pm

Hey --

I was wondering if anyone has experienced a friend or partner with histrionic traits/tendencies who exaggerate. For example, I was parallel parking the other day, and I accidentally, very gently, bumped the car behind me. But then my friend retells the story and says I was "crashing into cars!" Or he tells me his boss threw a pencil at him but when I said, "What? You should tell someone? That's not OK," he changed his tune to, 'Oh, well, he through It in my direction," but the truth was he threw the pencil at the floor.

It reminds me of when I was like 12/13 years old, and I'd embellish something to impress my friends. Like if I saw a soda can fall off a shelf at the grocery store, I'd embellish and tell my friends the whole shelf fell and It was this crazy mess. So I guess I can empathize on that level, but what is It? Attention seeking?
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Re: Histrionic and exaggerating/embellishing?

Postby xdude » Wed Mar 07, 2018 3:50 pm

Hey kpr34,

The DSM-IV identified this as a style of speaking that is impressionistic, lacking in detail, emotional oriented. I think the DSM-IV got it right, though this might have been dropped in the DSM-V, for other reasons.

Here are two examples -

a.) They/I bumped into another car at low speed.

b.) They/I CRASHED into car(s)!

The first version is factual, but doesn't evoke much emotion. The second version does evoke an emotional response (and the plural, cars, though not true, is more emotion provoking than a single car).

Here is the hard thing to accept for those who chose version A...

From a certain point of view, and for some, version B is more emotionally intelligent, in that it does evoke an emotional response/interest in others, so if one's goal is social approval, to capture the attention/interest of others, then B is smarter.

On the flip side, there is another group of people who respond better to version A.

There is an excellent book that sorts this out in great detail - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thinking,_Fast_and_Slow

Short version is that 'fast' thinkers respond better to version B, while 'slow' thinkers respond better to version A. By the way, 'slow' does not mean dim-witted, quite the opposite, it means that they are more aware of their own emotions and others, and less reactive to their emotions. But the reality is many people are 'fast' thinkers, and impressionistic speech does work for some people, or at least works for a while...

Another criteria the DSM-IV also mentions is an appearance of being emotionally 'shallow'. Some impressionistic speech is probably socially smart, but when it becomes a constant, others in longer term relationships (business, friends, romantic, family) do eventually turn it around in their minds, and then what worked for a while, can also become a liability. When everything is overly 'embellished' to use your words, then eventually others become numb to an impressionistic way of speaking, and start asking the questions.
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