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7 Reasons To Refer To Ourselves In The Third Person

Posted on October 24, 2011 in Posts | 158 comments

What’s the worst thing that you can do during a conversation with anyone? Well okay, there are probably many things that spring to mind, but up at the top of the list, somewhere between murder and suddenly removing your trousers is referring to yourself in the third person, which is an abominable thing to do. But is it? What if we all did it? It might not necessarily be the worst thing that could happen. Here are seven reasons why.

7 Reasons To Refer To Ourselves In The Third Person

1.  It Would Lessen The Impact. What’s your first reaction to hearing someone refer to himself in the third person? That’s right: Shock. On encountering anyone structuring a sentence in this manner the encountee is usually flabbergasted, dumbstruck, stupefied and not a little appalled. Self-doubt can even feature: Wait! Did he just refer to himself in the third person? Surely not. If we all referred to ourselves in the third person, it would come as less of a shock.

2.  It Would De-stigmatise It. Once (or if) you recover from the resultant shock and self doubt that arises from an encounter with someone that refers to himself in the third person (Craig David Listener Syndrome, to use the correct medical term) there’s another reaction: He did! What a egomaniacal pillock! What a pompous pudding head! What an numb-skulled narcissistic nitwit! If we all referred to ourselves in the third person, we wouldn’t draw this unkind – though perfectly reasonable – conclusion about the few people that do this now.

3.  It Would Be Useful. I have a deep-seated social flaw (other than the ability to make hostile idiots furious by writing about some meal deal). I can’t remember names. Well, actually, I can remember some names, though usually not the ones of anyone I’m conversing with at the time, or if I do it’s invariably the wrong one. For six years I referred to my nieces as Natalie and The Ginger One, but it turns out that I was wrong there too. It was Nadia, not Natalie. Imagine how brilliant it would be if everyone used their own name in conversation, as no one would ever forget another name again. It would be even better than name badges, which – to people that can’t remember names and feel uncomfortable about their inability to remember them – are just a cruel trick:

“Have you forgotten my name again, Marc?”

“No…er…Joanne, I was just…staring at your breast.”

If we all referred to ourselves in the third person, this would stop.

4.  It Would Prick Pomposity. And pompous pricks need their pomposity pricked. It’s safe to say that if he had had to utter the sentence “Muammar bin Mohammad bin Abdussalam bi Humayd bin Abu Manyar bin Humayd bin Nayil al Fuhsi Gaddafi needs to visit the little boys room” every time he had needed to use the toilet he would have soon tired of it and renamed himself Kevin or something equally simple. Ever heard of a tyrant called Kevin? No. If we all referred to ourselves in the third person, there’d be less self-aggrandisement and egomania.

5.  It Would Improve The Internet. One of the absolute best things about the internet is Youtube, where you can see or hear just about anything (so long as it doesn’t contain anything that Sony BMG have even breathed near). But what’s the worst thing about Youtube? Yes, the seemingly boundless trolling and abuse. The blinkered partisanship and casual racism. Having to refer to oneself in the third person would change all this. Comments like “Chad Thompson says that you should get back in the kitchen and make me a sandwich” would soon put a stop to that odious meme. Or, if not, they would soon be followed by “Chad Thompson’s Mom says Chad Thompson is grounded and can’t use the internet for two weeks. Chad Thompson’s Mom says that Chad Thompson’s Mom won’t be going to the kitchen to make Chad Thompson a sandwich any time soon. Chad Thompson’s Mom says that Chad Thompson can go to the kitchen and make Chad Thompson’s Mom a sandwich.” If we all referred to ourselves in the third person, there’d be less nastiness. Or more sandwiches.

6.  It Would Be A Guide To Pronunciation. Are you unable to pronounce simple names? Do you find it hard to enunciate even the simplest and most commonly-heard monikers? In that case, hello BBC Radio 5Live’s Stephen Nolan, welcome to 7 Reasons! Oh, and help is at hand. Now that your callers will have to pronounce their own names when proffering an opinion you’ll soon learn that Marc is not pronounced mork, Will is not pronounced well and Siobhan is actually pronounced…no…no one knows the answer to that, but if we all referred to ourselves in the third person we’d find out.

7.  It Would Be Good For Me. I have a two syllable name. Or, to be quite clear, two names of one syllable each. This would mean that in any conversation I’d spend very little time saying my own name and more time saying the important, fascinating and scintillating things about…er…er…tiramisu and cats and stuff? Well, whatever, at least I’d know who I was saying them to. That would be a start.

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