I’m sunburned from all this basking- by Christine Sellers

My husband and I love music. Well, I love music and my husband is obsessed with it. He is in a band and I support him 100%. I used to think that I was a music fanatic until I met him; then I realized I didn’t even come close to deserving the title. He knows every name of every band member known to man and it’s a little bit ridiculous.

Because of our love for music, there will be times when we discuss our loyalty to our favorite bands and MAN does the  conversation get heated. The most recent encounter with this situation was just last night. Since my husband is a rockstar and I feel that I have to overcompensate just a teensy bit, I sometimes use stories of my past encounters with favorite artists.  Little did I know that I was extremely guilty of “basking in their reflected glory“. This term describes someone who shares publicly how they know certain successful people, when in fact they didn’t have any role in their success at all. It is meant to improve “self-presentation.” Even though it’s embarrassing to share it now, here’s my story.

When I was 17, I was on the varsity dance team. We had just started competition season and I had chosen an amazing song by an incredible and super unpopular (as in not known AT ALL) artist named Chris Mann to choreograph my contemporary solo to. He was so unknown that I couldn’t even (*cough* legally) download his music. So, I messaged him on Facebook and asked him to email me an mp3 of his song so I could perform to it. He responded and sent me the song, wished me luck, and told me to send him a video of the finished dance routine. 

Was I jazzed or what?? THEN I found out last night that he is a finalist on the new show “The Voice” (Team Christina if you were curious) and he’s probably going to win the thing. In order to defend my loyalty, I explained to Collin how we had emailed back and forth when no one even knew who he was and he had sent me his music. Basically, I’m the reason for his HUGE success now. Am I? Of course not. Do I know that? Yes. But in order to show that I am loyal to my precious Chris Mann, I need to bask in his reflected glory. 

Turns out that wasn’t even the first time I have been guilty of such a crime. My second cousins are a famous (or somewhat famous) country band called SheDaisy. Heard of them? Cool. Me too. If you had asked me 10 years ago, I would have gone on and on about how we’re related and how we talked and how much merchandise I had. For some reason I thought that it made me seem cool? Not so much. I had only met them once, and the free autographed merchandise was sent to me from their uncle because he had a huge warehouse full of the stuff. Man, oh man, I got so sunburned from basking in their reflected glory to my friends. 

THEN there was this time when Andy Grammar told me I was pretty. Even called me “sweetheart.” Yes, we totally have a picture together. I’m SO awesome for knowing Andy Grammar, especially because it happened right on the brink of his rise to the top. I’m basically the reason of why he’s famous…(uh, yeah right). So why do I bring this up to people? It’s not like I am the girl he’s writing all of his love songs to. Sheesh. 

Moral of the story? Basking in the reflected glory of others makes us look silly. My husband and I are loyal fans of our particular musicians of choice, but we are not the reason that they are successful, even though we claim to have “loved them from the VERY beginning, before anyone else did.” We can still bicker about who is a more loyal fan, but no longer will I be using these stories of my “special connections” to these successes. Because of this social psychology lesson, I am going to be extra cautious of my self-presentation. Except for just now when I basked in the reflected glory by sharing all of those stories with you. Last time, I promise.

  1. #1 by kaylasharee on May 2, 2012 - 11:13 AM

    I loved your story! And I’m a fan of Andy Grammar. And I’m totally guilty of this phenomenon as well! You did a fantastic job on explaining this and even made me laugh. I’m a fan.
    Kayla Baucom

    • #2 by christinesellers on May 19, 2012 - 12:51 PM

      Andy is a gem. Thank you! Hopefully we can both get better at this 🙂

  2. #3 by caitlinrandall on May 22, 2012 - 8:20 PM

    Christine, your post was hilarious. I find myself guilty of basking in reflected glory as well, but don’t want to share any examples because then I would only continue to be basking in reflected glory… But I promise, I do it too! Thanks for making this example real-life applicable!

    Caitlin Randall

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