Saturday, 25 October 2008

Identity, labels and food

Yesterday I went on the first of an 8 week "Condition Management Programme".
I knew how the day was going to be - been there done it loads of times over the years on various study courses, training things etc, but sometimes you just have to "play the game".
The first "activity" was "breaking the ice". I immediately said - oh, are we going to ask each other what animal we would choose to be ? To which I was told..no, no ! Its not that sort of thing !
Well it was that sort of thing, only we told our partners our fave food, film, who we would like to meet, where we would choose to be and then reported back our partners info. I know I am cynical about most things (and I really have done this stuff TOO many times) but still can't get over how others define us, or why we feel the need to define people.
By just chatting naturally, we could easily have broken the ice, I am sure, but now I am "Brenda who likes salad, would like to be in her back garden and would choose to meet Jesus if she could...." and my partner is (name) who likes the film "Sex in the City" and eats chilli and cheese.

Is this really what we want or need to know about people to appreciate them more as a person, or what ? Am I alone in feeling patronised with this kind of "getting to know each other" activity that is so prevalent these days in "team building" ? Perhaps this is my superior attitude coming out, and I should be known as "the know it all". (Apologies for the amount of inverted commas in this but I am using others labels!)

We are all labelled, to a certain extent as something or other in the minds of people we meet,on first contact. Labels certainly do "stick" (except those post it notes you get from The Pound Shop) but most of us do this in our heads and then change opinion or not as the case may be as we get to know each other more. Questioning each other on favourite foods is a little shallow .... and today I just don't feel like eating salad at all, I feel more liking having a vindaloo.