The acid test …

If you have seen the movie “Finding Nemo”, there is a scene in the aquarium (at the dentists) in which the aquarium fish put Nemo through a test of courage – at the great Volcano (or something) before they induct him into their group …

Maybe what I am talking about here is not exactly the same thing, but the above example is the closest reference I could find.
I again don’t know whether this happens between different cultures, age groups, genders (with respect to groups of friends) or maybe we are just a plain weird bunch of people, but here is something I have noticed that happens in my group of friends …

I shall hence call it the acid test and this phenomenon is very peculiar because it performs a function completely different to what it would seem to many (in fact most) of the people witnessing the events …
I must admit, I realized the significance of it just sometime ago, and so have decided to put it in writing …

Here goes …

When we are with our own groups of friends, we put on a show for everybody.
We don’t behave in the same way when we are all alone, or are with our families (or a different group of friends) …
Everybody, has a persona which he or she tries to maintain – something which gives the person substance and more importantly, (probably) a reason why the person was admitted to the group in the first place.

We start relating to each person in our friends circle by their default behaviour.
For example, one of my good friends plays the part of a completely indifferent, ‘couldn’t care less’, ‘don’t give a rat’s ass about anything’ non conformist very well.
To someone meeting him for the first few times, he will come across as a person who couldn’t care less about anything or anybody – and you could not for the life of you extract any sympathy or help from the individual no matter what you try …
Over a period of years that we have gotten to know him well, we have learnt what a nice guy he is and no matter how much he will abuse you and make fun of you and act all haughty when somebody asks for help, he will eventually help the person – sometimes even going way out of his way to help them.

So, here is the acid test then.
When someone from a group, actually tries to do something good for a change – basically try to change an age old bad habit into something radically different, he is made fun off – by his good friends.
They will go to the extent of bugging you for days about it –

For e.g: “What happened to the I don’t care, I will not wake up before 11:00 am attitude?”
Or
“Weren’t you the one who said, reading is for nerds?”

Anyways, basically what happens is that when you are trying to do something good to yourself for your own sake (or possibly someone else’s), its your friends who come in your way and try to dissuade you from it – making fun of you and basically embarrassing you till you’ve had enough.

Now, if you are thinking that this is a really sorry thing to happen, and that the person with such friends has something wrong with his taste … you won’t be very wrong …

But then again, if you look closer, you will realize, that even though it is happening sub consciously, what your friends are achieving here is that they are making sure that whatever you are really doing, is something that you really want to do.
Going ahead and changing your character (or habits) is a difficult thing to do – not to mention majorly huge.

With all the nagging and laughing, you tend to think about the situation a bit more – and then you make up your mind.
Once you realize that this is exactly what you want to do, your friends automatically seem to shut up and nobody else’s opinion matters much anyways – so you go ahead and do it. And more often than not, you are successful.

If on the other hand, you succumb to your friends’ taunts and fun insults, you were not going to do the thing anyways (cause you were not enough mentally prepared) – and in the process save a lot of time by not going ahead with this …

So there !

However, the downside of this is that if you have a really bad group of friends, and either they always get the better of you or vice versa, the probability of you succeeding in changing a habit or yourself reduces drastically …

So basically, the moral of the story here is that it is always good to have good friends.
And no matter how much your friends taunt you, make fun of you or use your self consciousness to their advantage, its always a good thing to have friends who do all this :)

—————–
As an end note would like to mention that this is just something that I thought about …
Don’t know how much of it is psychologically correct, but would love to hear other opinions on the issue…

5 Comments

  1. hmmmm… weird post. But maybe its true what u r saying..

    just curious, does this post have to do something with ur good friend changing his morning habits ?

    Reply
  2. Hm. Not a weird post, so much as an interesting one. I can think of at least 3 possible views on this. Firstly, the persona. The persona is a mask. People adopt masks as away of working socially, as a defence mechanism. Sometimes, what you call the “acid test”, the mask is taken off and the person shows their substance. Secondly, people like to believe in the continuity of character–it gives certainty to a social group. As you say, X=the joker and will always act in this way. Continuity of character is a real pressure. So, if you want to maintain it: select an easy “false” identity. If you like: play the fool, not the counsellor–that is a heavy, stressful acting role. Thirdly, and this I think is closer to what you are saying. In Transactional Analyis, it is recognised that everyone plays games. These game come from three different “masks” (broadly): Parent,Child, Adult. A mask made out of Parent might take a controlling role. A mask made out of Child might follow a carefree role. Adult is the only authentic position. All other masks involve games and manipulation–they are about fitting in. When a person meets another person, in TA, adult-to- adult, all games stop. The response from others is to mock because they want the safe game to continue (exactly what you describe). They are uneasy because the mask has come off and they see something that is more truthful than their behaviour. In your not-so-weird post you are questionning social connections. The “acid-test” is living in Adult, trying to be genuine to one’s self and others. You would find TA very interesting, I think. What you are doing here is thinking about transactions: how people react to one another and why. Bravo!

    Reply
  3. agree with you. there are good things that happen if your friends keep bugging you about changing some of your habbits too you know. after all if it hadnt been for your constant nagging about me having gone into a shell not so long ago, i probably wouldnt have come out of it… just smething more for you to consider thats all. and to quote team indias captain-” advice to sabhi dete hain, the point is who you take it from” right?

    Reply

Leave a Reply