Stop Keeping Up With the Joneses

Suburbia

by Ryan

If you’ve got a mental fixation with the image you’re portraying to your neighbors you should probably heed the advice of this article. Stop keeping up with the Joneses, nobody really likes them anyways! They’re probably fake, focused only on what you care about, and they don’t really have much sense of self. Or maybe I’m being too harsh? The phrase “keeping up with the Jonses” has been echoing in the ears of Americans for sometime and judging by the cookie cutter McMansions that cropped up in the late ninties and up to the recent market crash has been something that we’ve been taking to heart… or at least to our egos.

The catchphrase known as keeping up with the Jonses, basically means that anyone unable to keep up with the Jonses is socially inferior because of their inability to acquire material possession…. sounds a bit crazy, but that’s essentially the mindset a lot of people take when looking at others.

Who are the Joneses?

In America they’re the one’s living the “American Dream” with a piece of real estate in suburbia, 2 perfect kids who are active in everything, and they always have the newest model cars. They portray the image of success in a cookie cutter fashion. In order to keep up with them, you’re always going to be purchasing the latest model of well… everything. You’re going to have to constantly one up them in a game of never ending ego rub. The Jonses want you to fit in and to be “normal” but ironically the behavior of constantly competing to see who has the most stuff, isn’t really normal in my book. In the end, where does it really get you… besides in debt?

Give up on the Jonses

In order to keep up the standard Jones family unit will need to spend more than they earn. They’ll be like the over 40% of Americans that require their credit lines as their life lines to get to the next paycheck. If you want to beat the Jonses at their own game it’s going to be about as challenging and frustrating as running in the rat race (which you’ll also be a part of if you’re in league with the Jonses). It’s a tad pointless, pretty darn superficial, and in the end you’re not going to have anything to show for it. Do yourself a favor and stop trying to keep up with the Jonses.

The Jonses in Hollywood

The Jonses were portrayed in the 2005 movie fun with Dick and Jane, which I thought was hilarious. It does a pretty good job of illustrating the Jonses mentality and the lifestyle the comes about because of it. If you haven’t seen it, I’d recommend renting it.


Do you know anyone that fits the profile as a Jones?

Do you have neighbors that constantly try to one up you?

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{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Get Happy Life November 18, 2010 at 12:31 pm

Giving up on the Joneses is hard because human happiness and satisfaction are relative: meaning we naturally compare what we have or earn with the people around us – we find that more important than the fact that Bill Gates is the richest man on Earth or that an average American has better living than more than half of the world population.
.-= Get Happy Life´s last blog ..Charisma is not a gift It’s a choice =-.

Kiesha @ WeBlogBetter November 19, 2010 at 4:12 am

Hi Ryan,
I gave up on the Joneses a long time ago :) Over the years I’ve seen how devastating their debt has become. They still manage to keep their home, but they are constantly stressed out, constantly working and not really enjoying life. It’s crazy because even while their ears are bleeding, they still look at me like I’m crazy when I purchase things from thrifts stores – especially if it’s something they would have overpaid for. I just can’t live like that. The Joneses can keep all that kind of fun to themselves.

Kris November 24, 2010 at 5:22 am

Sometimes its hard not to compare yourself to the Joneses, even if they don’t live next door. Especially if you have kids, and they notice. Sure, its a great opportunity to teach kids a lesson, but still it can be hard.

Linda November 27, 2010 at 3:01 pm

I agree with Keisha. When my VISA monthly balance is deducted from my checking account every month, I’m grateful I gave up material quests a long time ago. I see too many people in my line of work (psychotherapy) that end up mentally frazzled (by their lack of financial discipline–although sadly they don’t always see it that way).

It’s amazing despite the recession, some are still in the (blood) red. Sometimes you have to get inside in order to not care about what others see or don’t see on the outside.

ElleX February 19, 2011 at 11:27 am

Luckily, I am not easily pressured by my peers. LOL. I didn’t see the movie you mentioned…looks funny..I’m gonna check with my library to see if they have it.

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