I go out outside of my social class. This is what i learned


For my part, as someone who has lived a privileged life, I hardly ever have conversations about money with my friends and family. For him, that’s almost always what the conversation turns around.

At first, that put me off. I felt uncomfortable with the constant focus on money, especially when I didn’t have any. I knew I was making judgments, but I couldn’t help but feel what I was feeling. I wasn’t sure I wanted to keep seeing him as I didn’t think we had much in common.

Then I started to notice something else about him.

Scott had this silent understanding of what was going on around him, especially when situations were shady or uncomfortable. He had been through so many situations in life that his social skills were pretty sharp. He knew when someone was lying or had an ulterior motive, and he knew when to stand up for himself because he had been doing it all his life.

Still, I judged him for not knowing what certain words mean. So as not to have a huge vocabulary. Not to know who were certain authors, certain historical figures. I thought I knew all about him based on the things I had noticed were different between him and me.

Really, I didn’t even try to get to know him. But in doing so, I realized that I had done what I thought I had avoided: putting people in boxes.

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Scott was one of the first people I met to apologize, uninvited, when he was wrong. He grew up taking care of his little sisters and he knows more about childcare and babies than I do. He’s completely independent financially at 23, which neither I nor anyone I attended college with could tell for himself.

I had a degree, but Scott had something you can’t learn in the classroom.

Under the cloud of social class and level of education hides a person’s true being. It seems pretty obvious, and I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t see any further when I first met Scott. There is so much more to a person than their vocabulary or academic knowledge, and it is impossible to judge intelligence by these things.

Scott was forced to drop out of high school at the age of 15 so his father could take him away to be with a woman he was dating. Scott hasn’t been to school since.

You can never really know someone unless you try. With Scott, I learned this firsthand. I thought I knew everything about him based on his looks, behavior, language, and interests.

I didn’t see him as an equal – I saw him as someone from a different social class, and therefore someone who would be difficult to be serious with due to our radically different interests. It’s even embarrassing to admit that I had thought of it that way.

I’ve been with Scott for about six months. I can honestly say I’m excited for the next thing I learn about him.

Main image is an archive image from Getty.

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