This I Believe

Kathryn - Hebron, Connecticut
Entered on May 9, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30

I believe that people of my generation have become so dependent on their friends that they forget what respect is. They are so interested in trying to fit into the relaxed group, the “cool ones” that they forget to respect others. They are not in this behavior suit to ease a situation with their light character, but just to benefit themselves. I know a group of people who think they know the world. They think they knew what it was like in the 60s, or 70s, and they try so hard to imitate that time period. “Everything’s cool man,” are the words of a friend. But as they take on this fake identification to try to fit in, they forget that since everything is cool for them, it might not be for others. It tears me up when people are more interested in their image than the feelings of others around them.

A small instance of this persona is one that occurred during my first year at college. You are expected to try and get along with your roommate to start the year off. Then you learn what kind of person they are, and try to work around their character traits and character flaws, as they do the same for you. But night after night, when you come home from a long day of classes and work, you get tired of finding ten people- at least- drinking beers and playing your Mario Kart. It’s fine while you’re gone because it’s your roommate’s room too, but when it lasts until four o’clock am, you get annoyed. Your roommate has never experienced anything like drinking and staying up late before, so you know it means a lot to her. And they probably would have never hung out with any of the people in your room during high school. But they offer your refrigerator to stock up cool drinks of others and your bed has suddenly turned into a coat closet. You know that your roommate has no idea how she is being used, that these people are not in the room for her company, but just because it’s an open room. The morning time brings red, sticky, spilled drink all over your refrigerator, everywhere and you brush it aside thinking that your roommate will clean it up. But by the next weekend, everything that was left by her friends still remains. This includes their miscellaneous clothing articles, pizza boxes which were ordered for late night munchies and drinks packed in your fridge so you don’t have any room for your own food. You don’t want to break it to her; you know that her image is far more important than your feelings. But it eats you up inside.

I try not to be naive. I open myself up, while caring for others; I am aware of my surroundings. Friends are an important factor in my life, and I always make sure they know how much I appreciate them. It is when kids nowadays take those closest to them for granted that I can’t stand. Part of a friendship requires effort and respect. If you are always worrying about your personal image in a group of friends, then you forget about the feelings of those around you. I believe that our society is failing to enforce the importance of feelings and instead, with a fast paced economy and business market, the image of a person seems to prevail in importance.

The simple things in life are forgotten with this image. People are trying so hard to live in the past and bring back memories that they just forget about the present. I find that ironic because it is only the present that can change due to our abilities. Why are we so worried about others’ histories, when we can be making our own? Embracing individuality is essential, and finding commonalities between people allows for the making of friendships. But we must not reduce ourselves to one or the other because being completely individualistic entails selfishness, and friendship or cliques entail image. We shouldn’t have to be uptight about who we are; we should be comfortable with it. I believe that we must not be entirely relaxed to the point where our respect for others is gone. Respect is a vitality to all generations. Let’s not ruin our history.