As an international student, when I first came to Bryn Mawr campus, I felt nervous to talk to strangers and therefore had few friends at first time. Yusi, another international student from China, became the first friend I made here because we lived in the same dorm. During the orientation week, I spent most of the time with her and we shared many interests. However, after some weeks, she complained about her roommate A that A always slept very late and made a lot of noises even after she talked to A about it. After hearing from her about her roommate, I generated thoughts that A was not a caring person and was a little bit selfish. In the spring semester, A and I were in a same writing class. One time, when everyone discussed the topic enthusiastically in class, A suddenly stood up and said she was stomachache, with an angry look. Everyone including the professor was confused, which made me feel that she was really rude and I tended to dislike her more. However, when I chatted with another friend recently, she told me that A was really helpful and nice because A helped her find hotels and made arrangement of her tour in Shanghai. After this conversation, I thought I would change my view of A when I saw her next time, but the truth was when I saw her again I still thought she was a rude and selfish person: my view on her didn’t change.
For this experience I see how self-fulfilling prophecy works to impact thoughts. When my friend Yusi told me about her impression of A, such as not caring for her, since Yusi was my good friends and I trusted her a lot, I didn’t doubt whether Yusi described the true experience. Therefore, I formed expectation that A was a selfish person. When we were having discussion in class, since I have the expectation that A was selfish and rude, when she suddenly said she was stomachache and needed to go out, I didn’t realize that she was indeed having a serious stomachache and didn’t have the mood to talk with us. What I thought at that time was she really a rude person, just as Yusi said to me.
If I had been aware of social psychological research about this phenomenon during the event, I might try to keep a neutral attitude toward A, instead of making expectation according to only Yusi’s description. I might consider the possibility that Yusi described the whole situation from her aspect of view and maybe I would ask A herself to hear about how she described this situation.