…but it was time for a new poll. The last minute entries changed the results rather dramatically. On the head of the post Who Are You?, the poll asked How do you describe yourself most often? The web results were not much different than the in person interviews, except where “Other” was concerned.
Hello. My name is…
Almost half of voters (48%) identify themselves by name when meeting someone new. The caveats which accompanied this choice were many.
- Depends on what they know about me already
- They do not want to hear my life story.
- I want to know about them before I share anything they will not like.
- I’d rather them not know anything about me.
- They cannot talk about me if all they know is my name.
- Better they see my actions before they decide (who I am).
Overwhelmingly, most of those who chose this answer felt it was impolite to volunteer anything other than their name. Some for fear of offending the acquaintance. Some for shame over what may be used to identify them later in other conversations.
I have character.
Whether the characteristic was honesty, generosity or patience, 19% of those surveyed identify themselves by how they want other people to perceive them. One person said, “If they think I am honest, when they see some of the things I do, they will think about why before they judge.”
Higher Power Or Not
7% of voters identify themselves by their spiritual standing. Some were Children of God, Muslim and atheist. These people believe the influence of their spiritual status truly defines who they are and how they act. They want others see their beliefs through their actions and identify those actions with their higher power.
Another 7% felt like anonymity was the best policy. One person said, “I would rather not ever meet anybody else, ever.” Another said, “What is the point? Somebody will tell them about me and then they will think I am a liar anyway.” While these statements sound different, are they really?
Occupation or Lack Thereof
4% each describe themselves by either their occupation or employment status. The ones most likely to choose occupation as a descriptor were those with at least an 8-year collegiate education. Those most likely to choose employment status were retired. What does that say about the pollsters?
I am an Elephant (or Donkey).
The 4% who chose to identify themselves by their politics were an interesting lot. Their immersion in politics was varied from office holder to activist, but all centered on platform. They were all seeking like-minded people and chose to avoid most opponents to their politics. Is this telling?
Wife and Mother
Of the 7% who chose familial status as their descriptor, most were women. Men were less likely to consider their positions in the family as indicative of who they are.
All of the 15% who chose other filled in the blank with what they use in place of all of the above. To say the answers were sad is a gross understatement. Only one answer could have been considered uplifting, which was “depends who and why they are asking”. Most of the answers contained profanity and the rest indicated a less than desirable social or personal status.
What does it all mean?
The driving force behind introducing (or not) ourselves in one manner or another was to avoid judgment or temper future judgment by our self-declared characteristics. As a society, are we so quick to judge those who come before us based solely on what we see at the moment?
If you missed the poll, scroll to the bottom to answer. Updated results will be posted next week.
Based on the results of the survey, give your opinion on the following statements:
- How we introduce ourselves is unimportant because others will undermine our introduction.
- Judgment is inevitable, so stating my side first is important.
- Self-esteem is an endangered species.
© Red Dwyer 2011
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