Restrictive Reputations

Rigid Labels Limit Change


Reputation meter withdifferent emotions. Measuring gauge indicator vector illustration. Black arrow in coloured chart background.

Stephanie Kontopanos, Assistant Editor

No offense to adults, but it seems like every person over the age of 30 sees social media as the biggest evil- one that acts as an outlet for others to fit us into a box. Although I can see that point of view, I can name another limitation that’s worse: reputation.

Unlike social media, which can be deleted at any point in time, a reputation is much more difficult to clean away. It seems like a person can change so much, but people will only look at their previous versions. The concept of reputation isn’t always meant to be hurtful, but it puts a label on someone. Throughout our lifetime, we’re changing. We’re learning more about ourselves. Especially during our teenage years, when we’re hardly the same person we were a week ago, any “labels” we have shouldn’t be permanent. Reputations also exist on a smaller scale in the form of roles in the friend group. True friends never intend to be discouraging to each other, but when you’ve been known as the “mom friend” for the longest time, and you’re ready to start having some more fun, the rigid role your friends have subconsciously put you in doesn’t help you develop into your ideal self.

It’s difficult to get rid of the mentality that leads us to judge people based on their reputation. It’s simply deductive reasoning, after all. However, at a stage in our lives when we’re learning about life and the role we play in it, it’s more than likely that we’ll betray deductive reasoning, and decide we want to change. So if your irresponsible friend actually gives you decent advice one day, or the quiet girl in your science class introduces herself to you, embrace the changes they want to make for themselves, and help them become the person they want to be.