Understanding others you might dislike

  • By Chloe Kincaid
  • Monday, October 6, 2014 10:05am
  • NewsSchools

In the animated TV show Young Justice, a character named Bart Allen is introduced. At first, he seems like a fast-talking, annoying, and slightly disrespectful time-traveling tourist from the future. Sure, he’s slightly likable, in a comic-relief sort of way, but no one is rooting for him. toward the end of the episode, I was hoping he’d be retired so that the regular plotlines of the show could continue. However, when the story delves deeper into Bart’s backstory, I changed my mind. It shows him in the future, where there is no hope for humanity. Everything is in chaos. Bart is hurrying to finish wiring a time machine. He talks to a friend about his upcoming mission to the ‘past’; to fix all of the disasters before they ever begin. In this flashback to the future, Bart Allen is a young hero who has been involved in a war. He’s determined and responsible, which is radically different from how he is seen when we first meet him. When Bart leaves the future, he departs from his friend in a very bittersweet way. He can never come back to the world he grew up in and the people that he knows, but, (as he puts it) “Does this look like a future worth returning to?”

This made me immediately more interested in Bart. I realized that the overexcited tourist persona is just a ruse so that the superheroes of our time will not guess his mission (and potentially mess up the time stream further). And, suddenly, I was glad of this new addition to the show. I wanted to see him develop and get to know the other characters. I hoped that he would succeed.

And what changed my opinion? Simply understanding his motives.

Everyone has had to suffer through annoying people in their life. Some people just really get on your nerves. And that’s normal. But it doesn’t have to be a fact of life. There is a simple way to stop someone from getting under your skin: get to know them. You have to understand their motives.

This technique started for me when I was assigned to be year-long science partners with one of those people that pushed my buttons. I think that she similarly disliked me. We had to be forced to get to know each other. After weeks of sitting at the same small table and having to work together, we both warmed up, and our relationship got better. I got to know her, and I finally grasped what made her tick. By the end of the year, I enjoyed being her partner.

I thought a lot about what made the difference in this situation, and I eventually came to the conclusion that the moment I stopped disapproving of her was when I actually learned her backstory. When I understood her motives, I was able to appreciate her unique personality.

Since then, I have made an effort to get to know people that annoy me instead of avoiding them. Though this doesn’t (usually) end in a blossoming friendship, it does result in tolerance, and in this world of imperfect humans, what more could we ask for?

Chloe Kincaid is a sophomore at Soldotna High School.

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