I was thinking about friendships, and I realize that I tend to like people who are like me. That’s because we have things in common. If I’m in a group of people, and they’re all talking about American Idol – they know all the contestants’ names and call in and vote a dozen times – but I don’t give a flying rip about the show (and I’m just using American Idol as an example, you can substitute any show, like Dancing with the Stars, Survivor, Jerry Springer – it’s all the same difference). If you don’t watch the show, it’s probably because you’ve tried to sit through one episode and you concluded that it was pretty dumb. And if they watch it, then it stands to reason that they’re dumb, too.
Humans have an immense capacity for thinking everyone else is stupid. Women demonstrate this repeatedly. A woman will say, “I can’t believe she did that!” Frequently the woman will lean over and put her hand to the side of her face so the public won’t be able to hear her catty comments. What she’s really saying is, “She’s so bizarre, I just want to take her and shake some sense into her.”
Women always want to shake some sense into somebody. We think we can fix people. We start with our husbands, which doesn’t get very far, so we have children and enjoy a small measure of success while they’re helpless, but around age two the battles start and escalate until they reach their teens and we concede the war.
So women go to work on their friends, but they have to be careful if they want to actually keep the friend. “I really liked your hair short,” is the kind of subtle comment they’ll make to try and get you to change. Or, “why don’t you try yoga, I hear that’s a really good way to get in shape – I’ll sign up with you.”
If you migrate toward people more like you, there’s less to fix and, consequently, less irritation. For instance, people choose the Republican Party because they want to hold onto their money and buy gas-guzzlers and McMansions to show they have succeeded in life. People choose the Democratic Party because they feel guilty about succeeding in life and want to share some of their wealth with those less fortunate. You’ll choose the group that makes you feel most comfortable, and set about criticizing the other group and try to convert them as much as possible.
Sometimes I wonder where I’m going with these tangents. But one thing I’m certain about, even within my own circle of friends who are a lot like me, I can still find things about them that I wish they’d do differently. And everyone I know is like that. I have one friend who thinks women should never be caught shoeless without a fresh pedicure. After she has people over in the summer, all she can talk about is how so and so’s feet looked so bad and how she can’t believe they go around in flip flops with those yellowish looking toenails. I have a relative who talks incessantly about how other people act so inappropriately, yet she has the social graces of a baboon.
And then there’s me, who wishes I could do a makeover on everyone. I’d have the negative people shut up, the mousey people stand up, the unhealthy people slim down, the mean people beat down, the prices at my favorite stores marked down, and my income jacked up. That’s how I’d make the world a better place. But in the meantime, I’m going to try and accept people just the way they are because, God love ‘em, they weren’t lucky enough to be born like me. And I’m pretty positive that everyone else thinks they’re just right, because it doesn’t seem like anyone I know has ever changed for the better, no matter how much good advice I give them.