How Do You Categorize People?

Answer: You don’t.

This is a topic that has really been on my mind lately, and I’ve been meaning to blog about it for some time, but I’ve been super busy. Have no fear though, today is the day.

I like to use the term “categorize” opposed to “labeling,” but they’re essentially the same concept. It’s like it’s built into the human brain to immediately decide who someone is when we meet them. Actually, not even when we meet them, it’s more like when we see them.

Let me give you an example here in order to let you inside my brain thoughts:

You’re walking to class mid-September, and you see a girl wearing jeans, the classic riding boots, a nice sweater, and a scarf. (Possibly carrying Starbucks pumpkin spice latte, but we won’t go there.) Immediately, probably without even realizing it, you saw her and labeled/categorized her as a “preppy white girl” or something along those lines.

But do you really know if that’s what she is like? You literally know absolutely nothing about her, yet you categorize her as something that she may not even be. Maybe she likes heavy metal, skateboarding, and playing video games. (Aka stuff that is definitely not “preppy white girl.”) There’s no category for that.

I had this revelation while I was shopping for clothes for this fall (sorry dad). I went to the mall and thought to myself, “Okay, I need to find my style, but what the hell is my style.” I don’t even think that I have a certain style. I just wear whatever I want whenever I want and go about my day. One day I’ll wear a bright-colored dress, high pony tail, and sandals; and the next day I might wear skinny jeans, vans, and a plain white tee shirt. I’m a fashion catastrophe, I know. But my point is that I fit into different “categories” every single day, and that’s just based upon my appearance.

When it comes to what’s on the inside, I don’t even think that there are categories to fulfill that. So many people go through so many events throughout their lifetime. Those events shape them into the person that they are today, and I guarantee that there are not two people in this entire world that would fall under the same category.

There is my point.

No two people would fall under the same category, so why have categories? Why label someone when you literally know NOTHING about him or her. Even if you are best friends, then there are still parts of a person that you may not know. You can’t just look at someone and suddenly know who they are. It’s literally impossible.

Next time you see that “preppy white girl” or anyone else for that matter, think twice about what you’re categorizing them as. You don’t know anything about the person you are looking at. Talk to them. Get to know them. Go outside your comfort zone.

Labels are an annoying man-made concept that is completely irrelevant, so don’t focus on labels, focus on the person. You might meet someone truly remarkable.

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