“What do you do for work?”
“Oh, I work in insurance" person B begins to respond, before attempting to wrangle the judgement they assume will be heading their way as soon as they stop talking "I know it's boring but the pay is pretty decent, and my boss is cool”. Crisis comms refers to this as ‘getting ahead of the story’. Jobs that aren't socially recognised as cool are treated like a scandal - something that requires explanation, justification.
My response to person B would be hasty, confused, eager to dispel what they think I might be thinking. "Yeah, ok, cool. But also, who cares. If it works for you, then it’s like, not a thing. And if it doesn’t, then you’re figuring things out. It’s fine. We all are. I literally used to cold call uber drivers and sell them cars for a living. It’s minor.”
Or in short: It doesn’t matter.
It might feel like it matters, especially for those of us who spend too much time playing status games, or like person B, are constantly subject to judgement from those that do. Having too high a preoccupation with whether a relationship will bear the right kind of fruit, and increase your place in the pecking order is…unadvisable. Status is your ranking in the social hierarchy, and a it’s zero-sum game - to win, someone else has to lose. Your place on the inner circle is contingent on someone else being booted out.
(I have played in the past, and reluctantly still do. I feel they are inescapable at times - and exist in every industry - though that’s probably because I’m still in the process of writing/earning-the-right-to-write the rules of my own game.)
And so I maintain - it doesn't matter. There’s no matter here - nothing to hold, or look at, or imbue with meaning. Just the endless reshuffling of whose in 1st place, and who is worth paying attention to.
But socials signals are a necessary part of how large groups of people communicate and form tribes, Shope. All relationships are transactional, Shope. What do you expect? I guess I expect more of us to be more drawn to the kind of of transaction that doesn’t feel like a finite land-grab. Something that feels a bit more, generative?