How Do We Assign Value To People In Our Lives?

How Do We Assign Value To People In Our Lives?

Why do we value some people over others?
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Recently, I have been seeing news stories and having experiences in my own life that have raised an important question: how do we assign value to things and people in our lives? Now, I’m not asking that like we’re having a garage sale and trying to decide whether or not to sell our fine china or keep it, but I’m thinking more in the realm of social relationships. What really sparked this question for me was reading about someone in Arizona who had left their dog out on their porch in 114 degree heat to die. I was heartbroken that anyone could do such an inhumane and cruel thing to such a kind-hearted animal, and I was relieved that the owner was arrested, however, I got to thinking that my reaction would not have been the same for every living creature. I am arachnophobic, so, naturally, I would love to see any spider dead rather than alive, but there’s the problem. I have placed more value on a dog than a spider, but why? Is it because of their physical size, their role in my everyday life, or something more than that? Does this relate to how we view different people?

When considering the different people in my life, I thought of my family, friends, coworkers, and acquaintances. Are we just uninterested in the people who we don’t talk to as much? How did we get to that point? What if they tried to talk to us more? Would we respond positively? All of these questions have gone unanswered even after quite a bit of thinking because relationships are extremely complex. Still, the topic of assigning value to people in our lives remains relevant because it in itself answers many questions about why we act the way we do toward everyone.

If we’re on a bus and there is a girl sitting behind us, we’re not going to bother to turn around and talk to her, but if it is someone you graduated high school with, you’re probably more likely to smile, say hello, and maybe have a conversation. Throw a long-time friend or family member into the mix and you’d probably go back and sit with them. Is this a social thing? Yes. Finally, an answer to something, but what is it about conversing with a stranger that is so frightening to humans? Are we just too afraid of what the other person might think of us, or do we just not care about them? We don’t have the time or energy to care for everyone, so how do we choose who we give that time and energy to? Some people go out of their way to have conversations with strangers to brighten their day, and others will use as little energy as they can while in the presence of others. Is the answer to this that we assign value to people based on their prospective worth to us in our daily lives? My thought is that we will likely never see the stranger again in our lives, so we just don’t think the seemingly mundane interaction is worth our time.

Here’s where this whole thing becomes more complicated than comparing strangers to good friends and family. What about when we place lower values on people we know well? Did this person do something that impacted you negatively? Were you just too lazy to carry on the relationship with them? What changed their value? Many people have estranged family members and friends with whom they no longer interact, but there are deeper reasons why people push away from those that they know better than just passing them and smiling on the sidewalk. Could it be that they are a bad person? Maybe, but probably not. We all assign different values to different people, and that is just part of being human.

This article is meant to provoke deeper thoughts than what you’re having for dinner tonight. I don’t have an answer to any of the questions I’ve raised here, but I hope everyone will think about the people they care about most, then wonder why they feel inclined to spend time with them and talk to them more than others, and why those other people are less of a priority (and maybe make a change for the better along the way!). Unfortunately, time cannot be distributed equally between everyone in our lives, so we must choose who we give it to and appreciate that which is given to us by others.
Cover Image Credit: Kate McIndoe

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A Senior's Last Week Of High School

The bittersweet end.
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Well, this is it. This is what we've worked so hard the last four years - who am I kidding - basically what seems like our whole lives for. This is the very last week we will set foot as a student in our high school's hallways. As most schools are getting ready to set their seniors free at last, it all begins to set in - the excitement, the anxiousness, and also the sentiment and nostalgia.

For seniors, the years since our first day as a freshman at the bottom of the high school totem pole have seemed endless, but as we look back on these last few weeks, we realize that this year in particular has gone by extraordinarily fast. It was just yesterday that we were sitting in our classrooms for the very first time, going to our 'last first' practice, and getting our first taste of the (very real) "senioritis". With all that's going on in our lives right now, from sports and clubs, finals, and the sought after graduation ceremony, it's hard to really sit down and think about how our lives are all about to become drastically different. For some it's moving out, and for some it's just the thought of not seeing your best friend on the way to fourth period English; either way, the feels are real. We are all in a tug of war with the emotions going on inside of us; everything is changing - we're ready, but we're not.

THE GOOD. Our lives are about to begin! There is a constant whirlwind of excitement. Senior awards, getting out of school early, parties, and of course Graduation. We are about to be thrust into a world of all new things and new people. Calling our own shots and having the freedom we have so desperately desired since the teenage years began is right around the corner. Maybe the best part is being able to use these new things surrounding you to grow and open your mind and even your heart to ideas you never could before. We get the chance to sink or swim, become our own person, and really begin to find ourselves.

Things we don't even know yet are in the works with new people we haven't even met yet. These friendships we find will be the ones to last us a lifetime. The adventures we experience will transform into the advice we tell our own children and will become the old tales we pass down to our grandkids when they come to visit on the weekends. We will probably hate the all night study sessions, the intensity of finals week, and the overpowering stress and panic of school in general, just like we did in high school... But it will all be worth it for the memories we make that will outlive the stress of that paper due in that class you absolutely hate. As we leave high school, remember what all the parents, teachers, coaches, and mentors are telling you - this are the best times of our lives!

THE BAD. The sentimental emotions are setting in. We're crying, siblings are tearing up, and parents are full-out bawling. On that first day, we never expected the school year to speed by the way it did. Suddenly everything is coming to an end. Our favorite teachers aren't going to be down the hall anymore, our best friends probably won't share a class with us, we won't be coming home to eat dinner with our families...

We all said we wanted to get out of this place, we couldn't wait, we were ready to be on our own; we all said we wouldn't be "so emotional" when the time came, but yet here we are, wishing we could play one more football game with our team or taking the time to make sure we remember the class we liked the most or the person that has made us laugh even when we were so stressed we could cry these past few years. Take the time to hug your parents these last few months. Memorize the facial expressions of your little sister or brother. Remember the sound of your dad coming home from work. These little things we take for granted every day will soon just be the things we tell our college roommate when they ask about where we're from. As much as we've wanted to get out of our house and our school, we never thought it would break our heart as much as it did. We are all beginning to realize that everything we have is about to be gone.

Growing up is scary, but it can also be fun. As we take the last few steps in the hallways of our school, take it all in. Remember, it's okay to be happy; it's okay to be totally excited. But also remember it's okay to be sad. It's okay to be sentimental. It's okay to be scared, too. It's okay to feel all these confusing emotions that we are feeling. The best thing about the bittersweet end to our high school years is that we are finally slowing down our busy lives enough to remember the happy memories.

Try not to get annoyed when your mom starts showing your baby pictures to everyone she sees, or when your dad starts getting aggravated when you talk about moving out and into your new dorm. They're coping with the same emotions we are. Walk through the halls remembering the classes you loved and the classes you hated. Think of the all great times that have happened in our high school years and the friends that have been made that will never be forgotten. We all say we hated school, but we really didn't. Everything is about to change; that's a happy thing, and a sad thing. We all just have to embrace it! We're ready, but we're not...

Cover Image Credit: Facebook

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It Is OK To Have Guy Friends That Are Literally Just Guy Friends

Some of my best friends are guys and sometimes they are better friends than girls are.

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Lately, I have come to the realization that some of my guy friends are better then some girls I call my "friends". Ever since middle school, I have always had many guy friends that have always been just guy friends, and nothing more. Some girls had a problem with it back then and they still do now, maybe because they are jealous, or maybe because they feel left out. However, I decided a long time ago to keep those guy friends for reasons like...

1. They Don't Take Things So Seriously

You can always joke around with them, and they will joke around with you right back. You can be as nice as you want or as mean as you want to them, and they will always take it as joke. I think that sometimes girls have a difficult time deciphering between when you are being serious or when you are joking. Most of my guys friends tend to not things too seriously at least 75% of the time.

2. They Are Always Honest

When I need a blatantly honest opinion I always ask my guy friends (and my mom). I do this because guys do not really care about whether or not their response will make you mad. Also, guys do not think about if their answer will benefit them personally or not before they answer.

3. They Genuinely Listen To You

Not all the time. But when I am upset, they are always the ones most concerned. Some of my guy friends take over the "big brother" role when it comes to some situations. My guy friends always listen to my problems or just the same old rants I give all the time because if something is wrong, or something has hurt me, they want to know, in order for them to try and fix it.

I am not trying to say that my girl friends are not my best friends either, and I really do have the best best friend. But sometimes, it just feels good to hangout with my guy friends. Guy friends, that I have never had a romantic relationship or feelings for and they have not had for me. These guys have always been there, and for that I am grateful.

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