Should I Take This Selfie? A Guide for Grownups

It's a question for the ages.
It's a question for the ages.
Flickr via Porsche Brosseau

To selfie or not to selfie? That is the question.

On the one hand, who doesn't love to indulge their narcissistic side every once in a while? But on the other hand, selfies are terrible, embarrassing, and sometimes dangerous byproducts of a self-indulgent, technology-obsessed culture. Teens have it easy. We expect selfies from them. Adults? Not so much. Yet, we, legal adults, are guilty of participating in these photographic faux pas, too.

There are few occasions when adult selfies are acceptable, perhaps even encouraged, but much more frequent are the times when they are unacceptable. It can be tricky to tell, phone in hand and reverse camera pointed at your face, if this moment is one of those acceptable times to selfie. So we have devised a guide to help you. Read carefully, good luck, and selfie if you dare.

See also: 10 Tips for Better Instagram Photos

How pursed are your lips on a scale of smiling to duck? The closer you get to the duck side of that scale, the less likely it is for you to justifiably take a selfie.

Are you with a French bulldog or an equally cute breed of dog? Please take that selfie. The more photos of adorably confused looking dogs there are, the better this world will be.

Are you with a cactus*? What are you trying to illustrate? Give us a solid answer for that, and then we can talk about the validity of this selfie.

*If you have been in Arizona for less than six months and have found a remarkable cactus of some sort, then fine. Take a selfie.

Are you at a Beyonce concert and close enough to the stage that you can easily see her in the background? Take that selfie and pray that she notices, gracing your selfie with a Beyonce expression that is equal parts fierce and off-putting.

Are you crying? Get over it and put that camera down. Clearly if you are considering a selfie, you're not that upset.

Are you celebrating saving someone's life? Yes, take that selfie. This is a monumentous occasion and should be documented accordingly. Bonus points for getting the person who you just saved to be in the selfie with you.

Are your hands anywhere near your face in the shape of a peace sign? This is not acceptable. Really, any hand gestures near your face are not acceptable, including duces, hand hearts, or spelling out "blood" with your fingers.

Are you with a grandparent? Take a selfie. Grandparents are awesome. Plus, why not take this opportunity to create a lasting memory that you can later look back on fondly? Or, better yet, teach your grandparent how to take a selfie him/herself. That could never backfire, right?

Are you on vacation? Vacation selfies are only acceptable if there is no one else around to take a photo of you. Then no one will witness you taking that selfie either, so have at it.

Did you just win a large sum of money*? Yes, selfie away. But we're talking about an actual large sum of money, not $100 or something.

*This situation quickly becomes wrong if you decide to display that money in cash form around your face in some way.


This may have been acceptable if those other people were completely unwilling to help.
This may have been acceptable if those other people were completely unwilling to help.
Garry Knight via Flickr

Are you in a bathroom? No. Put your camera down, step out of the bathroom and go to any other room in your house. That's gross, and no one wants to see that. We've seen it, so we feel the need to mention that selfies of you going to the bathroom or eating in a bathroom are, of course, completely and entirely unacceptable. We'd like to add a big fat DUH to that last sentence.

Are you a Kardashian or trying to prove that you look like a Kardashian? Ugh, we guess we can't stop you, but get ready for some serious judgment from all other humans.

Did you just give birth? Okay, we get that you just survived the miracle of life and all that, but do you really think a selfie is necessary right now? Maybe spend some quality time with the tiny human you just created or something instead. We're sure there will be others around who are fully capable of photographically documenting these precious moments.

Is your tongue out of your mouth? Nope, stop that. You're not Miley Cyrus, and even if you are, it's still not okay.

Are you flexing? We're just going to roll our eyes and move on.

Is more of your chest showing than your face in the photo? This also goes for unnecessarily cropping half of your face out of the photo -- WHY?

Is there some kind of traumatic event happening in the background? 1. You may be a terrible person. 2. Put your camera down and, hmmm, maybe help someone?

Did you just get Starbucks and feel the need to show it off? Unless Starbucks has offered the chance of winning something substantial for that selfie, like a free college education, then no one cares.

Did you just successfully reach the summit of Mount Everest? You have definitely earned a selfie. Hell, take two.

Are you taking the selfie with something other than a cell phone or point-and-shoot camera? No. You look ridiculous. We're talking to you, people who use an iPad as a camera.


Why? Just why?
Why? Just why?
FaceMePLS via Flickr

Do you have a shirt on? No? No selfie for you.

Are you with a celebrity or someone you admire? Selfie! Selfie like there's no tomorrow. But be respectful. Celebrities are people, too.

How many drinks have you had already? Just consider this question carefully before you selfie.

Are you with a child? Firstly, is the child yours or a relative's? If it is, yeah. Go for it. It'll probably be pretty damn cute. If the child is not yours or related to you, why are you that close to that child?

Did you just commit a crime? Don't be an idiot. Or, actually, go ahead and give the police a huge leg up in bringing you to justice.

Are you planning to quote "#SELFIE" in your caption? You are part of the problem.

Are you at work? As long as taking a selfie doesn't inhibit your work and there is no one around to watch you take a selfie, we guess this is okay. Is it really worth it, though?

Are you using the reflection of some kind of memorial to take the selfie? Personally, we find this rude, but if you're okay with it, have at it.

Are you in front of a photo of somewhere you've never actually been? Apparently, there is a trend called "facations" where people are taking photos in front of photos, acting like they're on vacation. Add selfie-taking into the mix, and you've got a whole bunch of stupid. Do you really feel the need to impress people that badly?

Editor's note: This post has been modified from its original version.

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