Sunday, November 19, 2006

Do we really know ourselves?

One thing I took away from my studies in psychology is that what people say and what they actually do can be two completely different things. One example is spaghetti sauce. In this video, Malcolm Gladwell explains that for decades, there were two main kinds of sauce, both thin. In all the different studies and focus groups ever done, no one had ever really seemed interested in thick sauce. In fact, the decidedly didn't want it.

To make a long story short, over 50% (I believe) of the pasta sauce market is now thick sauce. It's not that our tastes have changed, it's just that we didn't know what we really wanted. What we said we wanted was different from what we actually wanted.

So I've been thinking, if we could somehow qualify the results, who could give a better description of me: my friends, or myself? I think I know myself pretty well, but then again, there are probably a bunch of little lies that I've been telling myself for so long that they've settled in as "truth".

A good friend of mine recently told me that she would be likely to break up with a boyfriend if her friends and family didn't like him. This astonished me at the time, because I have definitely run across plenty of situations in my life where the friends and family did not like the significant other. Then I became intrigued at what a mature point of view she had. I'm pretty sure that most people would stay with a significant other, despite what the others in their life thought. Her view was that her friends and family were more important than a boyfriend.

But could there be another reason? Do our friends and family know us better than we know ourselves? Might they be better at picking a mate for us? It's hard to say for sure, but I'm willing to believe it's true.

Maybe instead of looking within to find out who you are, it's worth asking around instead?

1 comment:

Tillie said...

I agree; if you want an accurate assessment of the quality of person you are, take a good look at the friends you've accumulated. I believe each friend of mine reflects a trait I have, and is probably why we connected in the first place.