I’m anal retentive. I like things to be neat and orderly. I like a clean house, which is why I try to go in my kids’ rooms as little as possible. When I was young I was really bad. Other people’s non-anal attitudes would drive me a little crazy, which in turn would drive me even more crazy for being driven crazy by it to begin with.
I’m actually better than I used to be, though, and I’m not so bad that I can’t handle a little disorder. My wife is decidedly not anal retentive, for instance. I try my best to not inflict my internal torture on her. So it is rare that I find other people’s habits driving me nuts these days.
Lately, though, there has been one habit that drives me nuts. It’s the tendency to use phrases like, “my friend” or “friend of the show.” I absolutely hate this and makes me want to throw my iPad or iPhone out a window every time I encounter it.
It has become common place among too many authors to refer to people they know as “my friend” before telling you about him. On a recent podcast, for instance, the speaker was talking about Fred Wilson, a well-known venture capitalist in New York. The speaker went out of his way to mention that he knew Fred, even though it had absolutely nothing to do with his point. Who cares, I screamed at my iPhone? Are you really so insecure that you need to tell the world you know this man?
In some cases, like when you are specifically promoting something of theirs, it is important to mention it. I usually do this in a footnote. From my perspective, this is full disclosure. But when you are quoting a person or relaying something that that person said or otherwise referencing that person for a thousand other reasons, it really should be omitted. It just comes across as egotistical.