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Is Sadfishing A Cry for Help or Attention Seeking?

Sadfishing can be both a narcissistic ploy for attention and a desperate cry for help hidden behind a mask of negativity.


There is a new reason to dislike Generation Z. Better known as Gen Z they are nowadays engaging in a new practice on social media called sadfishing. But is this another sign of the narcissism Gen Z is known for or is it just a cry for help.

Before jumping to conclusions, let’s unpack this phenomenon and understand why someone might resort to sharing exaggerated negativity online.

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Sadfishing describes the act of sharing overly dramatic or fabricated accounts of sadness or other negative emotions on social media. It’s a play on “catfishing,” where someone creates a fake online persona, but instead of romance, the bait is emotional vulnerability.

There are a few reasons why someone might sadfish. Maybe they crave attention, or they have low self-esteem and want validation. In some cases, it could be a sign of an underlying mental health issue, like anxiety or loneliness. Social media can be a lonely place, and sadfishing can be a misguided attempt to connect with others.

Sadfishing can be annoying for other social media users, especially if it feels manipulative. It can also make it harder for people who are genuinely struggling to get the help they need. Sadfishing posts are often vague or dramatic, and they may not directly ask for help. People who sadfish might share sad quotes or pictures without context, or they might post constantly about their problems.

People struggling with self-worth might seek validation through online sympathy. Sad posts can be a way to fish for compliments or reassurance.

In some cases, sadfishing could be a symptom of anxiety, depression, or loneliness. It might be a cry for help disguised as a plea for attention.

Sadfishing also often leads to negative consequences. Friends and family can become annoyed with the person, and constant negativity is draining and manipulative.

Also, posting a constant stream of sadfishing posts can make it harder for people genuinely struggling to get the support they need and the practice can also normalize the idea of expressing emotions indirectly and dramatically, hindering healthy communication.

Here are some tips for how to spot a sadfisher’s post.

Sadfishing posts often lack context or clarity and can involve overly dramatic or cryptic statements. They also tend to contain sad images without any explanation.

Gen Z, born between the mid-1990s and early 2010s, has grown up immersed in social media. Unlike Millennials, they haven’t known a world without constant connectivity. This digital fluency can lead to an overreliance on online validation.

So, is sadfishing Narcissistic or a Cry for Help?

The answer isn’t clear-cut. Sadfishing can be both a narcissistic ploy for attention and a desperate cry for help hidden behind a mask of negativity. Dr. Don Grant, a mental health expert, suggests looking at the motivation behind the post. Is it to connect genuinely or simply garner sympathy?

Chronic sadfishing is a definite sign that someone might need help. It’s important to encourage them to reach out to trusted friends, family, or mental health professionals. Sadfishing, even if manipulative, might be the only way someone knows how to express their pain. By recognizing the signs and offering support, we can help those struggling find healthier ways to connect and heal.



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