by LaTonya Wilkins
In the last couple of months, I have found myself ingrained in a couple of conversations about favoritism. One was with a friend who recently left a job because her leaders “played favorites” and another changed her social circle because of it. We have all been in situations where two or more people seem to click better than others in a group. One person always seems to say the right thing to the boss, the teacher or client. These instances are particularly troublesome when they involve a person in a position of power.
Victims of favoritism experience constant emotional turmoil. Feelings start with anxiety, peak at anger and recede to apathy. When you are a victim of favoritism, you are trapped, right?
Well, maybe not. These behaviors may be explained by examining human nature. According to blended psychological theories, the primary drivers of interpersonal attraction are perceived similarity, social awards and familiarity. People are innately more interested in others who are seem similar to them or those who will provide them with some sort of mutual social benefit. Remember the phrase “birds of a feather flock together?” It’s aligned with interpersonal psychology.
So, next time you are in a situation that looks and smells like favoritism, think again. Perhaps you just don’t fit in or can revisit the basics of human attraction. Remember that:
1) Some people just click better than others. Maybe you just need to accept that you will “fit” in some ways but not others.
2) The person may seem “favorited” because they have skills or experiences that are more relevant at that time. Imagine that. Maybe someone just is more useful or relevant than you are at a given time. Once a favorite, not necessarily always a favorite.
3) It doesn’t help if you become jealous or vindictive. These behaviors are just distracting.
I know there are some situations that are just plain unethical but, in many cases, thinking bigger can help you gain insight into the reality of a situation that would otherwise seem problematic.
I would love to hear your thoughts as well.