Today in class, my English teacher made us write three letters giving bad news to three different audiences. The topic I chose was receiving an F on a project for school, which resulted in an F in the class. The three audiences were had were: one of our parents, our best friend, and a missing sock or empty grapevine. It got me thinking how we actually react so differently to different people.
Over the summer, I was called out by a relative about the way I act with family and the way I act with friends. “It’s like day and night,” he said. Well, it’s true. The bitterness I have for my family members can be surprising to the personality I have around my friends. Although I’m trying to fix my temper while at home, it makes you really doubt yourself as a person. Which side is the real you? The side at home or the side in public?
Many people are thinking, “Of course it’s the side at home. What you do in private reveals who you are.” Well, that may be true, but my feelings and reactions out in public are genuine. I’m not faking the laughter, the kindness, or the energy when I’m out with friends. Your two sides coexist together. One is not more real than the other. Any side of you that you express yourself with, that’s you, even if it’s only a little part of you that exists. Where does the audience tie in? I’ve found three personal criteria that would affect how I would act. The level of respect, authority, and relationship.
Respect: It’s simple. If you don’t respect someone, you have bitterness towards them. When the person or group of people has loss your respect, you can’t seem to be able to look at them in any positive light. All you see is the negative things that have made you lose faith in them. When you lose respect, you lose trust. You can’t trust them anymore and you can’t see the things they do as something you would. When I wrote my letters, the level of respect for a missing sock was way lower than the level of respect I had for my best friend. Therefore, my letter to the sock included much yelling, demanding, and exclamation marks.
Authority: Whether or not you like them, they still contain some type of authority. This actually comes before respect. Although I may not have respect for some family members, they have authority over me and I am aware of that. My letter to my Father was written in a way to please him and ease his emotions because he has the authority to completely ruin my life. If that missing sock had authority over me, I would’ve been a bit more careful with my temper.
Relationship: Your level of relationship determines the casual tone. My letter to my best friend was short, simple, and friendly. Writing to someone you don’t know, let’s say a mysterious robot that wants to hire you, required you to be extremely careful with what you write. You would probably have an increasing amount of background information and simple enough to not have to lead them on into some further conversation. A letter to a friend usually would involve openings to responses like “How are you?” “What are you going to do next summer?” You probably wouldn’t spell check if you were writing a letter to a friend either.
There are several more things that would come into play when facing certain people, but the concept of different levels bringing out different emotions are still the same. Whether or not you notice it, you don’t act the same around people you meet. However, that’s a part of observations, a key thing to making people happy. You observe and you have a mental little profile of each person. You see the boy you like walking in the hall and your brain tells you, “Omg, Zac Efron. He thinks it’s cute when girls twirl their hair.” So off you go laughing and twirling your hair in front of him. But I don’t see you doing that while talking to your Chemistry teacher. Sometimes, we don’t really notice how much your audience really affects how you react. Next time, stop yourself and think “If this was my mother telling me this, how would I react?”