Do you ever feel a bit Joey? It’s only the first 1 min 10 secs of this clip that are relevant here…
For those of you who didn’t watch the clip – it’s from Friends, and it’s the one where the encyclopedia salesman asks Joey if his friends ever have conversations where he nods along but doesn’t really know what they’re talking about. Then we see Joey flashing back to several situations where his friends are talking and he has no clue what it’s about. He wants to join in, but he can’t.
When I watched that episode, I laughed, but I also had to acknowledge that I quite often feel a bit Joey. And I’m hoping you’re all going to reassure me that you do too.
It could be in a work meeting, or a class. It could be in a social setting – maybe somebody brings up a current political issue and it feels like EVERYONE around you is fully informed about it; they’re discussing, they’re debating, you’re vaguely aware of what it’s about, but certainly don’t know enough to add anything intelligent to the discussion. You sit there nodding and smiling/frowning in what seems like appropriate places, thinking “Please nobody ask me what I think about this!” Or the discussion could be about music, and EVERYONE is talking about bands that you’ve never heard of. Or books that you’ve never read. Or films that you’ve never seen. Or places that you couldn’t begin to find on a map. EVERYONE else knows all about these things apart from you.
This happens to me on blogs sometimes too. I’ll read a blog post, and be quite impressed at how knowledgeable the writer is about something, and then I’ll read the comments, and discover that ALL the commenters are equally knowledgeable; they’re all making good points and adding interesting things into the discussion, and I have NOTHING.
Whatever the situation, and whatever the discussion, we’ve all experienced times where we feel like everyone around us is more intelligent or knowledgeable or informed than us. I think I’m fairly safe here in assuming that everyone does feel like that SOMETIMES. But the real crux of the matter here is – do we feel like this situation happens to us more often than it happens to other people? I’m going to be brave here, and say that yes, for me, I feel like overall this happens to me more often than it happens to other people. But I don’t actually know whether it does or not.
I’m working to rationalise it a bit here – I consider myself to be reasonably intelligent (stop laughing at the back there!), and I know that there are probably many times where I am one of the ones who is knowledgeable about a topic and is fully engaged with the discussion, and I just don’t notice the quieter ones who might be sitting there clueless. Or maybe in group discussions, there are others who are much better at pretending they know what’s going on than I am, so I assume that more people understand than really do. And maybe when I read a blog post where all the commenters seem more clued in than me, I need to remember that for every one who comments, there might be five like me who don’t really understand the issue enough to comment; but of course I don’t see those ones.
Even though I can rationalise it in those ways, I still keep coming back to the slightly niggly feeling that it happens to me more often than it happens to others.
What about you? How often do you feel a bit Joey?