Identity and Conversation Manipulation

I was recently asked about rivalry between Berkeley and Stanford.  The question was: are Berkeley students passionate about school pride.  Followed by, are you passionate about school pride.

Now there’s two answers to this question that jumped into my brain, and here’s how I worked through them:

Answer with the Truth: there are people who care about the rivalry, and there are people who don’t care.  I am someone who doesn’t care.  Conversation ends.

Answer with a Lie: Very passionate.  Of course I care, *Make conversation interesting by over-exaggerating school pride*

I answered with the truth, because the context of the question was “Stanford students are cool as a cucumber, whereas Berkeley students are dumb for spending frivolous energy on trivial pursuits,” and if I made the conversation interesting, I would attach to my identity the accusation that I am someone who frivolously pursue trivial things like over-exaggerating school pride.

I remain convinced that, for this particular instance, I made the right decision.  However, I cannot help but be bothered by the loss of potential for fun, because the rest of the conversation was not as engaging or fun as it could have been if we played around with school pride.


The hypocrisy within this whole situation is that everyone spends frivolous energy on trivial pursuits sometimes: that’s what having fun is.  All work and no play is not the way to go.  As such, why hide the “truth,” which is that I am someone who frivolously pursues trivial things, sometimes?  From what I know about human nature, and perception, and how people for identities of others, I know that the imprint of this interaction on overall identity will take more work to erode than if I wait for another opportunity to demonstrate fun.  At the same time, I suppose it is fair to look at it from the alternative point of view, which is that I am strongly signaling that I am no fun.  Seems like a lose lose situation.