I would like to introduce an idea that I call “The Rank”. Most of us have been a part of this in some way.
I learned about “The Rank” in high school (actually, I probably saw it in junior high but in high school is when I started calling it “The Rank”.). It’s basically the category you fall into when someone wants to hang out. There are 4 categories, at least in my book:
1) The cool guys
2) The not-so-cool guys
3) The cool girls
4) The not-so-cool girls
Guess which category I fell into? Definitely #4. Which meant that when I was at a party or a social gathering of some sort, other girls would go hang out with #1-3 before I was graced with their presence.
I’m pretty sure this exists in some form today as well. I’m in my 30s but I definitely feel like there are people still out there that judge you based on who they think you are socially and hang out with you based on that. I don’t know what number I count as anymore but I think I definitely care less.
So why does “The Rank” exist? Is it because we want to up our social standing by association? If I hang out with someone of the opposite sex who is “cool”, will it make me “cool” too? Maybe yet again, we are talking about validation. Validation that proves that we are important because the better people want to hang out with me, whatever better means. My own importance gives me a reason for being here on this earth.
I definitely am more discriminating in my friendships now but occasionally, someone sneaks by me. I believe that they will be a good friend and we manage to maintain that friendship until someone “cooler” or more worthy comes along and that person disappears, never to be heard of again. It happens. The worst is when they don’t even realize that they are doing that. It’s possible that we are all doing this in some form without realizing it.
How do we tear down “The Rank”? In American society, you’re told to be nice to the nerds and geeks in high school because they will end up being your boss one day. How do we address this in our society where it’s not necessarily our nerdiness that put us in category #4 but something else entirely? What is it about us that categorizes us to begin with? How do we stop people from judging us without even knowing us?
In addition to that, what the hell are we being judged on anyways? Especially in our 30s. Is it how much money we make, how we have maintained ourselves, what our spouse does (or if we even have a spouse)? I actually find it interesting that this ranking still does somewhat exist at this age. What deems me worthy to be able to hang out with you?