I recently watched The Breakfast Club for the first time (and yes, I realize it’s been the staple high-school film for the last 30 years and therefore I must live under a rock). For those of you who still haven’t seen it, the movie is about a group of high-school students- each from different cliques- who are forced to spend a Saturday together in detention. In only one day, they are able to overcome social, economic, and emotional boundaries and become a close group of friends.
While watching the film I began thinking about how we experience similar “detentions” everyday in real life: in an airplane we sit next to strangers we probably won’t say a word to; at our jobs we have to work alongside people we would normally never associate with; and on juries we have to make vital decisions with a group of people who come from drastically different walks of life. It’s amazing we are able to accomplish anything when we have to spend our time with people who have nothing in common with us!
Or don’t they? In The Breakfast Club, the group originally feels the same way, but once they actually spend time together, they discover that they’re all ultimately the same. In their essay, the gang writes to their teacher,
You see us as you want to see us…In the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. But what we found out is that each one of us is a brain…and an athlete…and a basket case… a princess…and a criminal.
As we get older, it’s easy to become like their teacher and build up our prejudices about people, to place them in “convenient definitions.” After seeing the movie, I realized that I often put up my own invisible barriers and feel like I can’t possibly understand some people, or that they can’t possibly understand me. But that’s not true. In reality, I have at least something in common with everyone.
For example, most people assume I’m an average young female- I love hair, clothes, and makeup and I spend a lot of my time shopping or cooking. However, what most people don’t know is that I’m also a huge nerd! I’m a video game fanatic with a fascination for sci-fi and fantasy genres of literature, movies, and games. In the past, I’ve been afraid to share that part of me because I was afraid people would judge me. However, while most people are surprised when they find out about my dark “nerdy side,” they actually love that I’m slightly quirky and then share their nerdy side as well. You’d be surprised how many girls are video-game rock stars!
Nobody fits in any single cookie-cutter “role,” which is good because then we truly would have no way to relate to each other. There are two important lessons in The Breakfast Club: (1) you need to look hard at yourself and realize that you are many things and fit into multiple roles and (2) you should never assume you know someone. So the next time you are forced to spend time with a stranger or an annoying coworker, talk to them and find the link that you can bond over. You just might find your next Halo buddy.
Questions for Thought
Has someone you thought you knew ever surprised you? Have you ever made an unlikely friend?