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Thursday, May 12, 2005

Popularity or Respect?

David from ALTG asked an interesting question. Given the choice, would you prefer to be liked or respected?

I immediately said I would rather be liked.
Other people said they didn't care whether people liked them and that they just worked on liking and respecting themselves. Those other answers are cool answers. They seem like the right answers. In comparison my answer seems shallow.

Why is it that I automatically think that wanting people to like me is the wrong answer? Why does it seem that I shouldn't care what other people think? Maybe it's my regular diet of self-help books/dogma.

Through some lucky fluke (because it certainly wasn't the self-help books), I don't have to work on liking and respecting myself. I have always liked and respected myself. It is harder for me to like and respect other people. But that's irrelevant to the question.

I would choose popularity over respect because:

  1. I value popularity more than respect.
  2. Not being liked makes my struggle with loneliness even more difficult.
  3. I can't control my popularity.

I Value Popularity More Than Respect
I think the answer to the question depends on your values. I place a very low value on whether other people think highly of me or not. This could be because I have never been in a situation where I did not feel respected. Always having and endless supply of something tends to make you value it less.

I have never really been in a situation where people did not like me. I definitely don't fit in, and I find it very hard to meet people I would want to be close to, but I am not unpopular. People seem to look after me and I don't recall ever being actively disliked. Bob would say this is because I have lived a very sheltered life. Maybe he is right. Nonetheless,
for me popularity and respect are intertwined.

I think I would always choose being liked over being respected. Living in a world where no one liked me would be very lonely and loneliness is something I struggle enough with even when there are people who like me. There is no point in making the loneliness thing harder than it already is.

I Can't Control My Popularity
I tend to think of respect from others as something I can control to a certain extent. I perceive respect as having something to do with the way I behave, the things I say, my attitude. Conversely, I don't believe I have any real control over whether people like me.


I Can't Like Someone I Don't Respect
Having spent all this time thinking and changing my mind, and rewriting this, I have just realised that I always respect the people I like. If I don't respect them, then there is no way that I will like them. For me, liking someone and respecting someone are intertwined.

How are people going to like me if they don't respect me? Can other people actually like someone they don't respect?

i wish i could say i would rather be respected, and in some spheres i can say that but mostly i'd rather be liked. whatever that says about me, its probably true. at least i know it.
Can you like people you don't respect?
I think respect takes a while to build, whereas you can like someone immediately.

But if you don't build respect for a person over the time you know them, then I think its hard to maintain a liking for them.

"Like" is probably a more emotive thing than anything, but respect is your minds assessment of that persons character relative to whatever values you hold important.

And clearly ones emotional reaction to a person can be influenced by a changing intellectual assessment of them.

But also clearly there are people who don't weight intellectual assessment as strongly as others.

There are many aspects to consider.
I guess it is one of those impossible questions that is different for everyone and includes many different factors.

IS respect an intellectual assessment>

AL: I don't think you answered the original question. I am curious about your answer.

I addressed your question back on my blog posting. For me, personally, it is possible to like someone (at least superficially) without respecting him or her. I don't have to find someone's intellect or philosophy or good works particularly notable in order to enjoy his or her company. *However*, if I find someone's ideas truly repellent, then I'd have a hard time enjoying said person's company.

On another note, is it possible to invent a pronoun which can be used instead of writing "him or her" when the gender of the subject is unknown?
Ahhh...I guess I have a different standard/definition for "like". I don't like most people. Social acquaintances tend to be people I don't dislike.

I must also have a different standard/definition for "respect". I don't associate respect soley with intellect/accomplishments.

Anyway, my answer is still I'd rather be liked superficially than respected superficially.
You can invent whatever you like! Although, I'd be surprised if someone hadn't already invented such a pronoun.

I think I recall reading something on polyamory.org about gender neutral pronouns...
The anonymous person was me. It is late.
Here it is. The Gender Neutral Pronoun FAQ:

It says something that (1) you read this originally on polyamory.org, and (2) you chose to reveal that you read this originally on polyamory.org.

Just sayin...


I know. I surprise myself! I find interesting things in the strangest places.

Although now I'm wondering if I should have browsed the site fully before admitting that I had been there. I'll have to go back and look :)
BTW, what does it say?
I'd have to know a lot more about you before I knew what it said in any detail. I just know it says something interesting.
i definitely can't like people i don't respect. and that turns out badly usually.
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