the writing and photography of Neil Kramer

Crowdsourcing Therapy #1

When you walk into a room — a party, a new office, an interview, a meeting, a dinner with friends — do you tend to (the majority of times):

1)  feel “better” than the others  (I’m smarter, saner, better-looking, richer, have better behaved kids, have more followers on Twitter),

2)  feel “less” than others (they’re smarter, richer, better-looking, better writers, have Dooce’s phone number, skinnier, have bigger penises)

3)  or feel that since everyone is different, you have a unique set of values and talents to offer, which makes you as interesting and sexy as everyone else, and if others don’t see it, there isn’t much you can do, and besides, we all drop dead eventually anyway, so at least we all have that in common?

I know many of us think #3.  But does anyone really FEEL #3?  And are #1 and #2 basically the two sides of the same coin?


  1. Jane

    None of the above, really, and sometimes all three depending on where I’m at and who I’m with. Mostly, I just busy myself looking for a corner to be by myself or with one other person that I feel a connection to — I’m all about small gatherings of two. I feel the same way at work in an office. I look for the most peaceful place to be.

  2. Peeved Michelle

    4) feel like we are all probably equal in status, and similar in other ways, since we are all attending the same party, meeting, dinner, etc.

  3. paintergirlny

    I’m with Jane. It depends on where you are. Like say the Plasma Donation Center. I kid, but mostly 3.

  4. Jen

    There’s the “what we hope will be our reaction”… then there’s the “real reaction we don’t like to admit to.”

    If I’m admitting to the truth… I usually feel like I’m smarter and in some ways better but everyone there will only judge me on outward appearances and will make assumptions and generalizations even as I assume things and generalize them.

    Ah the neurotic cycle is dizzying.

  5. Loukia

    It depends. Sometimes 1, sometimes 2. Does that make me sound awful?

  6. Finn

    Depends on the crowd, I guess. There are some places that I simply feel more “me” than others, which will elicit a #1 response; some where I feel more intimidated, which will get a #2; and fewest where I am 100% comfortable and truly feel #3.

  7. heather

    Occasionally a 2, but mostly a 3. I take myself way less seriously these days.

  8. Sandi

    I feel all three to various degrees. It definitely depends on the crowd. I agree that 1 and 2 are two sides to the same coin. Today I’m feeling very 2.

  9. Twenty Four At Heart

    Do people really care how many followers they have on Twitter? Because I don’t even KNOW how many I have … it is not something I ever think about. I’m shy. If there’s one or two people in a room when I walk in, I’ll survive. If it’s a massive BlogHer party with hundreds of people I’ll hide in a corner or look for you to save me. Big groups of strangers make me hyperventilate. It’s not a matter of feeling better or less than anyone either … it’s just who I am and what I feel comfortable or uncomfortable with.

  10. Titanium

    Hmmm… good question. I tend to stay outdoors and avoid the whole conundrum altogether.

  11. Sybil Law

    I really *do* feel #3, most of the time, but there are times where 1 and 2 fit, also.
    Just depends on where I am that day. Or PMS.

  12. Nina

    100% number 3.

  13. Shelli

    Sometimes I feel number 1 and sometimes number 2 and sometimes number 3. I’m neurotic like that.

  14. Lucy Cooper

    I think I agree with Finn on this one. I especially feel #2 response around those with advanced degrees-more so than material wealth. Exceptionally intelligent people dazzle/ intimidate me to the point that I smile stupidly and stammer. Then I spend the next hour cursing myself for not taking my education more seriously when I was young, single, and still on my parent’s tab.

  15. Michael

    Fascinating question.

    Without question, I am number 2, all the time, every time.

    I constantly look at, for example, the parents of my son’s friends as “adults”-when I know intellectually they are no more prepared for parenthood than I am. I constantly feel other people have it more together than I do.

  16. mommymae

    i honestly don’t think about it, neil. i just go to have a good time/be interviewed/work/etc.

  17. Miguelina

    The answer is usually #3. Nothing good comes from comparing yourself to others.

    The # of twitter followers thing made me laugh. He he

  18. Denise

    I must admit, I don’t think in those terms at all when hanging out with a group. If it’s new people, I just hope there’s someone I connect with so I am not sitting there being left out of the conversation.

  19. Emily

    Honestly? Sometimes 1. Sometimes 2. But both times I consciously reset myself and go to 3 so that I can just enjoy it. That’s what I’m hoping to do in a few weeks…

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