Saturday, July 31, 2010

When your friends can do no wrong...

I think everyone gets in the habit of judging people based on who they are rather than what they do. Pretty people get special treatment, kids who look like trouble are automatically predisposed to harrassment by authorities even if they haven't broken a rule in their life, people from your own clique, ethnic background, school, hometown, etc. (in psychology, it's called your "in-group") are given special treatment in your mind. You're more likely to make excuses for the things they do because of who they are.

I thought of this because I noticed a friend of mine exhibiting what I see as annoying Facebook behavior, giving an account of all her evening's events in terms of inside jokes and posting vague indirect statuses directed at a certain unnamed person (like "You're ruining my life. I hope you realize how annoying you are.") I usually hide these people from my wall, but until tonight, I realized how often she posts these kinds of statuses. I hadn't noticed. If it was someone else that I liked less, I would have noticed a long time ago. With her I just say "well she doesn't go out that much, so I'm glad she's having fun" or "I know who that status is directed to and he deserves to be told off." Why do I make excuses for her and no one else?

This is just a superficial example of making excuses for your in-group. It's silly, but it brings up a bigger issue. How far will it go? When you focus more on who someone is than what that someone does, you're blinded to the truth of their actions. How much is excusable and how much are you just choosing to ignore?

Bullying, drugs, cheating, stealing...things people go along with because their friends are doing them. Things they would find deplorable in another circumstance, but excusable when that circumstance involves their own friends.Lip rings look stupid, even on your best friend. Picking on the weird kid iis mean, even if your boyfriend does it.

Your friends could be bad people and you never realize because you're too busy trying to justify their actions. In reality though, their actions aren't defined by who they are. Who they are is defined by their actions, and even more important, their intentions. I think once you know someone's intentions, you know all you need to know about them.

I think people need to stick to their principles no matter who they're dealing with.



  1. I see what you're saying. It happens in debate ALL of the time. The worst offenders are those who frequently compete at the national level. Even when certain person loudly insulted everyone present at this year's debate party, no one stood up to him because he was our vice president. I didn't say anything because I figured "Oh well, I'll never see him again". I missed a golden opportunity to stand up to him. :-(

  2. You're so insightful Juliana XD
    I just realized that I do that too; make excuses for people I like more. And I hate those statuses aimed towards someone indirectly they're annoying.