“I’m Not Here To Make Friends!”

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Reality-show villains – like Elise from HELL’S KITCHEN for example – sure have a hard time doing two things at once.

The Setup

Elise is a reality-show staple, the contestant who has gotten into fights with more or less everyone on her team but sees everyone else as the problem. Her main techinques are the classics, talking over rather than to other people, escalating arguments instead of resolving them, etc. Having been put up for elimination twice because her team finds her to be disruptive in the kitchen, she vows that, from here on out, she’s going to prove she’s a team player.

What Elise Says

But then, in previews for next week’s episode, Elise, during a confessional, says that she’s not here to make friends, she’s here to win!

Back Up And Tell It Right

Elise’s line which, in my completely unscientific survey, has been said on every single confessional-based competition reality-show ever produced, begs a very simple question: why do people have such a hard time both making friends AND winning? Why, for them, is it either one or the other but not both? Well, it’s not just reality-show contestants who find themselves unable to distinguish being nice from losing. Many people feel that conciliatory or kind gestures undercut their positions during conflict. If you’ve ever been in a fight with someone and told yourself that they need to call you first because you’re certainly not calling them, then you’ve experienced exactly this feeling, the notion that reaching out equates to giving something up. It doesn’t. Expressing a desire to resolve the conflict isn’t the same as sacrificing your core principles; admitting someone is important to you doesn’t mean you’ve just handed them all the power in the relationship. Real winning, on HELL’S KITCHEN or otherwise, means being able to integrate the various ways you interact with the world around you – being friendly AND winning – rather than feeling a need to compartmentalize them – being friendly OR winning.

Friends are good, Elise, though you might want to work on that rubbery lobster…