By Nattalie Tehrani, 16, South HS (Torrance)
Print This Post
Nattalie says that caring about what other people think of you is just going to drive you crazy. You have to be happy and confident with who you are.

Last year I met some new friends and we hung out almost every weekend, going to the beach, shopping and going out to dinner. When they added me to their MySpace Top 8s I was one of the first four. It felt good. It gave me a sense of confidence and belonging. A few months later two of them took me off their Top 8s and put people on who they hadn’t seen for months. I wondered why they’d moved me. I felt left out and I questioned how close we really were. Since then I have been on and off their Top 8s so I just avoid looking at their pages.

When you get moved off your friend’s Top 8, you’re just another person on their long list of “friends,” right beside some guy from Arkansas who they haven’t even met. And as much as most of us would like to say we don’t care where we are on our friends’ Top 8s, deep down we do. It’s our generation’s way of confronting one another or showing how we really feel about each other. Top 8s are your key to what your friends think of you. All the moving around makes you feel like an object. It’s a way teens show their feelings toward each other and the truth can be painful. 

When I first got my MySpace the summer before eighth grade, the Top 8 didn’t exist. I posted pictures of myself and friends, listed my favorite shows, books and movies, and left my friends goofy or random comments. A couple months later, MySpace added Top 8 to the Web site, and that is when all the drama began.

Photo illustration by Design Consultant Tomi Nelkin

When I first made my Top 8, I put up the people I spent time with the most. Then I noticed that some close friends of mine didn’t have me on their lists. That made me think they didn’t feel the same way about me as I did about them. But I didn’t say anything. I had seen them argue and gossip when they got moved around on someone’s Top 8 and I knew that if I moved them, it would get blown into a big fight.

There were people at my school who spent lots of time putting everyone in order. One of my friends moved me one spot over just because I hadn’t seen her for a week. She took the time to move me one spot over! What’s the difference if you’re in spot two or three? Why would you take the time to do that?

My biggest issue with Top 8 is that I can never be sure why I get moved, because I don’t do anything to make my friends angry. I went to leave a close friend a comment, and I noticed that she had moved me from second place to last place. We have never had an argument so I thought, “What did I do for her to move me?” I sat there, looking back on times when I could have said something to offend her or make her feel bad. “Maybe I should call her and ask.” “But, what if I’m overreacting and starting a problem when there wasn’t one to begin with?” “But surely there is a reason why she moved me.” These thoughts kept running through my head and it was driving me crazy. It felt like I had developed an obsession! I wondered if all my friends felt this way about me. I was in a bad mood all day. Not only because I felt that one of my good friends hated me, but also because I cared so much about what others think.

I wished I had more confidence

During lunch a few days later, someone brought up how foolish Top 8 was. My friend happened to be there so I thought I should say something. I said, “Even though people say it isn’t in a specific order, we all know it’s a lie and we move people around when we’re annoyed with them.” She looked at me and said, “Oh, by the way, the only reason I moved you is because I know you wouldn’t care, but others do. So to end the drama with my other friends I put them higher on the list.” I felt stupid and relieved.

My friends think I don’t care about being moved around because I never complain about it. But they are oh so very wrong. It drives me crazy. It makes me feel unconfident when I can’t deal with being moved. Maybe it’s not Top 8 that’s the problem, but our lack of confidence.

Last summer, I found a way to end all the chaos. My friend told me about codes you can copy and paste into your profile that hide your top friends, so when people view your page, they no longer see your Top 8. You can find these codes online by searching “hide MySpace comments.” Now more than half my “friends” on MySpace have their Top 8s hidden. I’m happy that my friends have hidden their Top 8s because I have stopped overanalyzing my friendships. A more recent feature is displaying from four to 24 people on your page.

Although all the hype around Top 8 has died down a bit, there is always going to be drama on MySpace, whether it’s posting nasty bulletins or leaving cruel comments. It seems easier to be mean to each other on MySpace than face to face. But people forget that what they say on this site can still hurt someone. The main difference between a Web site, rather than in person, is that on MySpace, the whole world can see. Talking to friends and sorting things out isn’t the first step teens take when they have an argument. It has to be blown into this big ordeal of back and forth commenting, messaging and whatnot. It almost seems as if our generation has forgotten how to communicate verbally. My advice is that before posting things on MySpace, take a minute to calm down and stop yourself from publicizing your arguments with people.

I try to remind myself though, that in the end, MySpace is nothing but a Web site, and it’s not worth countless hours of worrying.

Other stories by this writer:

My mom is amazing. Nattalie says that her mom helps her be her best and is also fun to hang out with. (Nov. – Dec. 2006)

Meeting My Chemical Romance. Nattalie won a ticket to see emo-heartbreakers My Chemical Romance. (Oct. 2006)

Out of balance. Nattalie couldn’t eat, even though she knew she was wasting away. (March – April 2006)

The day I met Johnny Depp!!! Nattalie had one of her biggest wishes come true—she got to meet actor Johnny Depp and he turned out to be cool. (May – June 2005)