The Difference Between You and Me
“Friends, you and me… you brought another friend.
.. and then there were three…
we started our group… our circle of friends…
and like that circle… there is no beginning or end.” This quote by Eleanor Roosevelt seems to capture the essence of groups.
In my eyes a group is a bunch of friends who hang out together. It’s as simple as that. There are probably more than 100 groups at our school. I’m not talking about Preps, Jocks, Nerds, and Goths because they may be what some adults see but that’s not how it is. When I walk through the halls, lunchroom, and classrooms I see a huge variety of people who like to hang out with each other. The group I spend my time with is hugely varied and I couldn’t possibly put a label on us because we don’t need to be labeled and we fit in too many categories to get smashed into one.
A lot of us get good grades but then again we have people who are failing classes; those who don’t care about looks, and those who obsess over hair and clothes; outspoken, shy; artistic, musical, writers; those who are athletic and those who would rather read all day, even those who like both! Those who wear bright colors and those who stick to black and gray. The open and emotional and the closed off and emotionless. We are complete opposites and yet fit well together. That’s how I see it, because truthfully, I believe everyone is unique in their own way and like to spend time with other people who are unique in ways that help people relate to each other. Is there a reason people are categorized? Yes, I believe so.
It’s to try and fit people into a tight little box of who they are and what they can do. Who says all football players are stupid? Who says all popular guys are football players anyway? And who came up with the idea that cheerleaders are airheads and nerds have no social lives? It’s completely stereotypical to say those things. What about people who wear black, does that immediately make them Goth or emo? And does that mean every person from African-American descent is a gangsta’ from the ‘hoods? That’s what we try to do, decide what someone’s personality is, depending on what sports they play and where they buy their clothes. I hear a lot of talk about breaking barriers and letting social status and groups fade away but it’s already happening every single day. I’m friends with loads of people who my more narrow-minded friends would call preps, but I don’t see how they are any different from me or any other person. Yeah, some people may have Abercrombie across their chest but that doesn’t mean that they are super rich or better than anyone else, they just like those kinds of clothes.
Yes, money makes a difference but only because people choose to see others, rather than know them. If I see someone who looks really weird and has not-so-great clothes on, I probably won’t walk right up and introduce myself. I notice that it’s harder to get to know people when you only see what’s on the outside. I find myself judging others because of their clothes or their hair, and I’m sure that people do that all the time. The point where people get to actually know each other is usually when you are assigned a seat near someone that you don’t know.
That way, you’re forced to talk to the person you never really thought was much like you, but then you usually realize that they are really funny, cool, or someone you never want to talk to again. So even though first impressions are usually very stereotypical, most unpopular people can usually break the stereotypes if they aren’t too shy to talk to others. That’s really the only way to get rid of stereotypes is to get out there and talk to others. You may realize that they are much different than their outer appearance. It’s funny how cute guys can be jerks or do really bad stuff, while boys who aren’t the best looking are sometimes really sweet. Appearance is huge but doesn’t identify a person or who they can be friends with.
In The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton, Cherry and Ponyboy talk about how they both see the sunset from different parts of town, and I think it’s the same way now. Sometimes you get people who are so closed off from other groups that they don’t realize everyone sees the same sunset, while you get others who can relate well to other groups, and try to see the sunsets. I believe that there are a lot of Ponyboys in the world, the ones who see themselves in others, the ones who try to understand the ways that groups work, and see that behind all the drama and fights, we’re all the same in many ways. We all have family problems, some kids have parents who are into drugs or are way too overprotective.
Some parents are abusive while others are caring and nurturing with minor flaws. Nobody has a perfect life. Like Cherry says, “Things are rough all over.” It’s odd to see that teens really think that more popular people have it all, because nobody really does. The thing to remember about being in groups and judging other ones is that sunsets are always there; sometimes they’re beautifully painted across the sky, turning every cloud pink and orange hues.
Those are the ones you have to be locked in your house with all the blinds down not to see. But other times you can hardly see the sun through thick rain clouds. Sunsets don’t care who you are, what you wear, how you act on the outside, or your grades, because they’re there every evening no matter what you’re going through personally. Okay, I’m not really talking about sunsets; I’m talking about things that everyone can relate to, things that we all deal with. Many people try to reject the fact that we all go through the same things and we all feel the same ways.
If we could look a little closer to see that inside we’re more the same than we are different, then I bet people will stop thinking they need to categorize and judge. In the end, it’s ourselves who we are really judging.