When you meet someone, what are the first things that you notice? The physical features, the clothes, the grooming and the arrangement of such — whether tidy and neat or messy and disheveled. After talking with a person, you will come to conclude whether or not he or she is interesting within the first 30 seconds of communication.
That’s all it takes — just 30 seconds for you to decide whether this person is worth your time or not. This is what we do when we meet new people. Within the first minute of conversation with a stranger we decide whether this person is interesting or not and if building a relationship with said person will bear fruit. This lies heavily upon the person’s social status.
Conversations between strangers tend to begin with: “How do you know so and so?” and “What do you do for a living?” We have to be honest with ourselves and accept that the only reason that we talk to another person is because we believe that we can get something out of them.
It may be nothing more than a person to kill some time with and to practice your social skills on, but it more often than not is because you are either sexually attracted to that person or because they hold a status that you either admire or wish to aspire to yourself. Say what you will, but human beings are egocentric and are always trying to move on up in the world.
The concept of status is an interesting one in itself — it is something that only holds value because we as people deem it important. The higher the status, the more power we confer to the person; power is what has tempted countless over the centuries. The higher the status one holds, the more likely we believe the person to be intelligent, strong, diligent and to hold some sort of knowledge or secret that we ourselves have been kept blind to.
We enjoy mingling with those with status in hopes that some of that fortune and success will rub off on us. The truth is that hanging around such an elevated crowd most often does increase your own fortunes — even if only opening your eyes to a world that has been kept outside your means.
We all wish to hold some sort of status, to be successful. It is the one way that in this capitalist world we can say that we did right. It is the one way that we can say that we are survivors and more importantly, that we are winners. Holding a higher status than someone else gives us a feeling of empowerment and importance. It makes us believe that we should be looked up to by those below us on the status ladder and respected for holding such a status.
Holding a high status makes us feel noticed; it makes us feel as if we have a place and a purpose. Add these intense feeling of self-righteousness to the financial wealth that most often accompanies higher status and it is no wonder why we all want it for ourselves — or in the very least to be in the presence of someone holding it. We admire those who hold a high social status.
Such a way of thinking has its downsides. It is more than just a way of thinking; it is a way of viewing the world and the people in it. People have more intrinsic value than can be grasped solely from the status they hold. In fact, the most valuable qualities a person has usually aren’t reflected in their social status and their financial prosperity.
There is much value in human interaction itself — in friendship and love — that gets overlooked when we first come to meet someone new. If you only spend 30 seconds talking to a person, you never get past their Rolodex of success stories and entrepreneurial endeavors. You may find out about the projects they are undertaking or even their vacation plans, but it is not possible to figure out if a more meaningful relationship could possibly take fruit within the first 2 minutes of introduction.
In order to discern whether or not a person has value past the status they hold, we must not drop the conversation as soon as we realize they work in retail. It is not the status a person holds at the moment that matters — it’s the status, or lack of, that they wish to hold in the future. The wants and dreams of a person, as well as their personality and character, are what really matter.
Nevertheless, there are times that we feel that we do not need another friend, that we do not need to talk to a person that cannot help us along our way to success and to a higher social status. But then you have to stop and think… is there ever a time that we could not use another friend? Is it not a shame to miss out on the opportunity of creating a relationship that could possibly last for years and help you in areas that social status cannot touch?
Every person deserves to be given a chance, no matter his status. Giving up on a conversation for the reason of not believing that our status could benefit from the act is stupid. There is more to human interaction than the hopes of attaining higher levels of social praise. Thinking otherwise is simply ignorant.