Skip to main content

White lies or skewed perception?

Scrubs isn't just one way I'm wasting time this week, now that I'm done with finals. It also got me thinking about a discussion I was in a couple of days ago.

Ask most people about something their going through or own or have recently experienced, for example: "How's the job going?", "How's the school that you went to?", "How're things?", and most times even if things aren't going well, you'll get "Great!"

Now, there's one theory which is
  • The person just doesn't know you well/doesn't feel like talking to you, and "great" results in a shorter conversation than "oh, not so great."
I'm guilty of using this once in a while. But let's say you know the person well, the response is still more negative than the experience is in the person's mind. Why is it?

My initial take on it was
  • People think that their experiences are a reflection on them, and hence always want to paint a much more positive picture especially to strangers. For example, even for something small like reading a book, I really think often people say it was "great" even if they think it wasn't, because they're genuinely worried that if they say it was bad, it reflects badly on them. People somehow think that they will be perceived as stupid (for not understanding/appreciating the book) or just pitied (because they wasted their time on the book.) The same applies to a bunch of things, especially those that are of more consequence.
    • The sad part is can you blame people for thinking this way? Haven't we all been guilty of judging too quickly? And erring that judgement on the negative side?
A friend put forth another theory, when we were discussing how people tend to exaggerate their experience at an internship or at business school
  • Maybe we genuinely believe that whatever we're talking about is actually that great (because we're associated with it), but just that we haven't experienced the best parts of it. However, we think its our responsibility to still present the best face possible, rather than the one we know.
And finally, there is the Scrubs theory that JD put forth in his closing monologue
  • Maybe because admitting we failed, or we're hurting, or something was unsuccessful, makes us feel vulnerable and that is something we all want to avoid.


Popular posts from this blog

Yup - humans still lack humanity

Every once in a while, I'm reminded that humans can be completely lacking in humanity.

My wife had the following experience yesterday on her ride back home. She got on the train and found a seat. The train was unusually crowded and it looked a lot of people had to stand for a long ride. An elderly Asian gentleman carrying a few things in both hands, was looking for spot, started to complain smilingly about the train being so full and stood in the aisle at the back of the carriage some seats away from her.

She expected someone closer to gentleman in the aisle (lots of younger people on the train) to give him their seat.

No one did.

The train started, and it was clear the man was having a lot of trouble standing up. Then at the next stop there was actually an announcement saying the train was full so please give up your seats to people who needed them.

Still nobody moved.

My wife got up walked to the end of the train and asked the gentleman to go over to her seat. She still couldn&#…

Whimsy when I changed my profile picture...

I changed by profile picture at work.

Later in the day, two people on my team had changed their profile pictures to these.. :-)

It made my day!

I changed my profile pic again today. Let's see how fast anyone catches on this time. :-)

Everyone's struggle is real... at the very least to them

A couple of weeks ago, while in line waiting to pick up some food I'd just ordered, I overheard two conversations - I don't make a habit of this, but it's hard to not hear things when you leave your phone behind. :-/
My first reactions as I heard both of these conversations was annoyance at the protagonist in one and admiration for the other. Both conversations stayed with me for a while, but it took me some time to realize that was unfair on my part to be annoyed at the person that I was annoyed at.

So about these conversations:
The first was between someone working there and a friend. She was sympathizing with her friend who'd be starting a new job leaving this place. "Oh, it's minimum wage again?", she said with concern in her voice. "Yes, but it's fine", said her friend. The job was closer to where she lived so she thought she'd make about the same and she might get home a little earlier to her daughter some evenings though the hours…