Have you ever played ‘what chocolate are you’ with friends? Actually, maybe it was just one of our made-up night bus journey games. Here’s what you do; think of a box of chocs, Quality Street or Roses for example (if you’re British) and decide which chocolate you are. Then you ask your fellow game players to tell you what they think you are. It’s not as interesting as spin the bottle as drinking games go but it certainly gives you an insight into how you are perceived by others. This of course is just for interest’s sake but could come in handy before a job interview, meeting the in-laws or the ex-wife/husband of your new partner. I, for example at college age thought I was a caramel; hard, a bit chewy but soft after a while – if your teeth are loosening you might want to give me a miss. However the majority of my friends at the time thought I was a cracknell. Still not sure what they meant by that but I don’t think it’s flattering.
In general we waste way too much time concerned about what other people think of us but it’s just so hard not to. I wholly admire people who really don’t care what others think but I am of the opinion that there is always an Achilles heel e.g. personally they don’t care but professionally they are sensitive as hell. In fact I would go so far as to say that not caring at all could come across as arrogance. It’s a shame really because if none of us gave a toss, people would not spend so much on clothes, haircuts, cars and gadgets etc. but then the global economy would really be paddle-less and up the creek.
There are 3 stages as I see it: As a youth you care a lot what others think of you. How many of you only listened to a certain band/followed a particular football team/wore a ra-ra skirt because your friends did? Come on, own up. Simple Minds/Manchester United/yes; stage 2 middle age, luckily the stage I am approaching, means beginning to care less and less, we drop some of the façade and start to be a more genuine representation of ourselves, less likely to make choices based purely on others opinions. These days I have no shame of my love of crap music, my complete lack of interest in football (who knew?) and my inability to follow fashion, although I do still worry way to much about what random people think of me personally. I am confident that eventually this will fade in time too because the third stage is old age, and I have observed that many old people really don’t care about what other people think of them at all. For some the pendulum swings so far the other way that it takes ‘keeping it real’ to a whole new level. Although it must be freeing to not care at all there are certainly downsides to that if you’re on the receiving end.
All things considered I know I could become a strawberry cream if I needed to, just as long as it’s not for too long. But actually a cracknell is just an acquired taste and some people think them quite delicious. Now go on, have a play.