We See Ourselves Reflected In Our Friends

The best insight I read from the book Urban Tribes:

Because we see ourselves reflected in our friends and they see themselves reflected in us, everyone has a stake in seeing the best in each other. "My friends are creative/wonderful/loving/smart" was the text. The subtext was: "Because they are my friends, I am also creative/wonderful/loving/smart."

This is related to the concept that people often attribute your attributions of others to yourself. For example, when you say, "John is really smart and interesting," people subconsciously think you are really smart and interesting, too. It goes both ways – so don’t talk bad about other people!

5 Responses to We See Ourselves Reflected In Our Friends

  1. @”This is related to the concept that people often attribute your attributions of others to yourself.”

    “It goes both ways – so don’t talk bad about other people!”

    If Joe Mechanic screws up the tranny one of my Ford-Lehman 120’s through negligence, I reserve the right to tell my friends, so that they may avoid a similar tragic experience.

    I don’t expect that I’ll be judged a ‘bad’ guy for telling them Joe is a shitty mechanic.

  2. Shefaly says:

    Too simplistic… I am friends with people who are very different from me in their personalities, styles of expression, politics, attitudes and priorities. What we do have in common are our values. But even those do not manifest in clear ways that can be captured in common yet bland adjectives such as ‘nice’, ‘smart’ etc. So ‘talking someone up’ is very subjective – what appears generous to me may not be generous in your book; what spells reliable to me may not sound like a big deal at all to you. Some may see plain-speaking people as rude, others may see them as honest. Some may see a friend who asks questions as interested and concerned, others see them as nosy. ‘Talking bad’ is clearly a subjective notion too.

  3. Krishna says:

    Creativity, Wondrousness, Lovability etc., cited in that quote are all values indeed. If they are admittedly common, an appreciative mirroring that leads to defining friendship is a given.

  4. gregory says:

    “This is related to the concept that people often attribute your attributions of others to yourself.”

    I agree with this. I have an aquantence who deliberately talks about other smart people he knows and compliments them on their intelligence when talking about them in order to get other people to think he is intelligent.

    However, I believe you can over do this if you focus on one person too much, or are always talking about ‘who you know’.

    I’d love to find out more about little tips like this.

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