Most of us define ourselves by the ways we differ from others.  More accurately, by the ways we think we differ from others.  A lot of the time we are just wrong about ourselves and especially about how we compare with others.

Here is a good test of how well-calibrated is your self-perception.  Do you like your friends’ friends?  Since your friends like you (presumably) and also like their other friends, it follows that you are likely to be more similar to your friends’ friends than you are to your friends.  And so how you feel about them says a lot about how you really feel about yourself, and its often different than how you tell yourself you feel about yourself.

(This trick doesn’t work for SO’s SO.  Because your SO’s past SO is likely to be very different from you since she learned from her mistake.  And if its your SO’s current (other) SO, then for obvious reasons you are probably not able to make a levelheaded judgment about whether you like him.)

It has some surprising implications.  If you are someone who tends to feel superior to others, then you should like your friends’ friends, in fact you should on average feel inferior to them.  If you don’t then you are mistaken about your superiority, at least according to the standard you apply.  And if you are someone who tends to feel inferior, and you find that you like your friends’ friends, then you are probably not as bad as you think.

Now tell me what it means when your friends’ friends don’t like you.