In or out?

Saturday was really random. Who else would write about Windows Messenger statuses?

Me.

Lol. So today I shall embark on a slightly more controversial topic.

The topic of social exclusion.

Which I have been guilty of as well in the past (and may unconsciously be still guilty of in which case I invite someone to inform me) .

Social exclusion sounds so bombastic. So in simpler terms, from my perspective, it refers to the formation of cliques, which in the process leaves out certain individuals. But of course, friendships are found on grounds of common interest most of the time, so what I’m refering to here is friendships that are never made despite the existence of common interests.

Why are these individuals left out? I believe the reason can lie with either party. It’s either person X is either very anti-social, unable to make friends, or is not perceived as nice by other people, an image which he might have created. On the other hand, it could be due to the fact that he’s not perceived as ‘in’. And this is what i wish to focus on.

“In’. If you’re not in then you’re out. What are the criteria that makes you an ‘in’ person rather than an ‘out’ person? I’m not sure myself but here are several I’ve thought of:
1) The cool factor. Some people are just more attractive physically than others.
2) The gain factor. You have something to gain by being friends with certain people.
3) The fun factor. Some people are just more fun. (and funny too)

I was wondering how prevalent this phenomenon is. To me there always seems to be a ‘loner’ in every social strata. But just on a personal level, how concern are we with being ‘in’?

I was thinking about this and realised that it’s quite like what I read about segregation in a book recently. Minor individual preferences can be augmented at the aggregate level. In other words, if you were only marginally concerned with being in the ‘in-group’, i.e. if there were 9 people, and as long as 5 of those people, including you, were ‘in’, the status quo would be maintained. But if that balance shifted, so there were only 4 ‘in’ people, this could just prompt a slight gravitation to a more ‘in’ group. So illustrating it, imagine a playing field of pixels. Taking the in people as blue pixels, and the out people as red pixels, the rules are as followed: pixels are only allowed to move to an empty square if the majority of the adjacent pixels are of a different colour. When this simulation was ran, in two moves, YES, TWO moves, a distinct segregation emerged.

Lol. That was a bit technical AND obscure. But what I’m trying to say is that even the slightest urge to be with the ‘in’ group, can result in many being left out. And what i wish to bring across is this: Don’t let the in-factor destroy potential friendships. Don’t let favoritism destroy the group harmony (or on a global scale, dont let the socially disadvantage be cast aside).

It is true that we’ll never be friends with everyone, and that we’ll be closer to those we have more in common with, but at the same time, don’t scorn the person who’s been left out.

And if you say this doesnt happen, I beg to differ. Next time you pick your team in sports, or when you are forced to leave your current circle of friends due to a change of state like entering college or uni or work, or when you leave on camp and choose your room mates, observe whether you end up in the ‘in group’ or get left on the ‘out pile’.

NOTE: Author acknowledges that although this does happen, it’s not always the case. Sometimes, we can get several groups of friends, where no single person is left out. IN that case, this does not apply. Also, the author’s thoughts are a bit patchy at the moment, so he apologises for any confusion in the reading.

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