We all have groups of friends; more often than not, life inconsistencies and human duality force us to keep those groups segregated in order to avoid conflict. We put on some filters and conform to the group dynamic every day.
Some examples of friend groups in my life: professional, church, conservative, liberal, parent, non-parent, happy hour, book club, family, ex-family, high school, college, camp counselors, grown ups. I think there is a whole FB thing that can keep these people separated so you don’t accidentally post a status everyone can see about how you hated high school and if you could go back armed, that vote for homecoming queen might have played out a little differently. Who’s giving the swirly now, Biff? That toilet smells nice, right?
There are usually catch phrases and etiquette rules within each group. One of my favorite catch phrases happens within our relaxed, chill group of friends (Happy Hour). When evaluating the group that shows up for a function, we have LU and NLU.
LU: Like Us. NLU: Not Like Us.
I can walk in and casually ask for direction about how to conduct myself with the founder of this phrase by saying, “Are they LU or NLU?”
NLU–drinking a beer with your dinner while your child plays happily on the playground is frowned upon. You should be in that sandbox getting sandy taco with them. No excuses. LU–Start a tab and enjoy some adult time too. Win/Win.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could just be yourself within any group though?
Some completely absurd examples of truths I would like to lay out to these different groups–maybe in the form of a FB status:
- Professional: (Mortgage Group) Remember when we all made insane amounts of money obtaining sub-prime loans for people with horrible credit, talked that elderly couple into refinancing a stable 30 year mortgage to an ARM and just put that 5 -year adjustment out of your mind because it wasn’t your problem? Just pushing the paperwork on some of those loans made me ill, and you paid me $25 a file when you made no less than $2000 on each loan and called it a no-cost refi. How much do we all suck?
- High School: You hated me in high school, and I hated you; why are you sending me a friend request? Oh, you want to see if I got fat? I did (pregnancy, hello), but you won’t find pictures of the girl who ate Rachelle here. Sorry.
- Camp Counselor: We were in charge of children and they gave us every other night off as teenagers. Heee!
- College: I can never run for a political office thanks to some of you. Shhhh…
- Ex-Family: You are correct, I was an awful wife. And he was a giant wiener. Let’s get that 50/50 blame in perspective. Or just continue to avoid each other. Either way.
- Church: I have my doubts. We can’t talk about that without being judgy and self-righteous.
- Book Club (and church): I’m a schizophrenic reader. This month I have read: Fifty Shades of Grey (all three of them), Blue Like Jazz, Mere Christianity, Cinder, Along for the Ride, and a book by Tucker Max with one blog post about sex and poop. I’m currently reading Let’s Pretend this Never Happened, Of Mice and Men, and Maternal Desire. It’s weird. Trying to organize my bookshelves, real and digital, makes me laugh.
- Conservative: I’m a liberal.
- Liberal: I’m still pretty conservative. I was raised conservative, and those ideas die hard–some never completely go away. Actually, I don’t really fit into any of it. Our political system blows. I didn’t vote for Obama.
- Parents: Sometimes, I serve dirty floor snacks to my daughter because I’m too lazy to cut new fruit that never fell out of the bowl and never had dog hair on it. I brush the dog hair off…obviously.
Whether you call it proper social filtering or hypocrisy, we all have these different sides to us, and I’m sure everyone has days when they would like to just speak freely with everyone. For those people, I’d encourage you start a blog and say whatever you want to say whenever you want to say it. It’s pretty awesome. Or join Twitter anonymously and spout some deep, dark thoughts like you have Tourette’s.
While it is nice to be in your LU groups as much as possible, it’s important to keep those NLU groups going too.
It’s how we grow and question our ideas and behavior.
Do you have any fun group phrases?
What would you say to your groups if you didn’t have to filter?