See Finish: 7 Tips To Counter Contempt Through Familiarity And Maintain Respect In Your Relationships7 min read

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Back in the day, there was this girl in our neighbourhood who turned heads. She became the “ass-pirations” of most dudes at the time. Long story short, she was the talk of the town. And she loved spending time with me.

The company of her and her crew was delightful. They swarmed around me, much like kids drawn to a new toy.  However, her friends’ conduct raised some red flags for me. Their words cut my defences and left me emotionally bruised and battered.

Their specific criticisms about my lack of “street smarts” went straight for my insecurities. It felt like an attempt to establish their dominance and control, which was both frustrating and hurtful. 

When we were alone, she had a remarkable ability to clear the air. She says, “That’s just how they are when we’re together”.

However, you know what they say: “Show me your friend and I’ll tell you who you are”. It didn’t take long before she started tossing those condescending remarks when we were alone too. It was infuriating. And, until recently, I could think of only one explanation for all these: See Finish.

What Is “See Finish”?

According to the folks at Urbandictionary.com, “See Finish” is “a situation where two or more people have become too familiar that the boundary of respect or tolerance is pushed or totally shattered”.

Although the term is well known in the alleys, An artist named Dapo Turburna and his 2020 hit track “See Finish” featuring Mayorkun best expresses the term’s veracity.

The chorus is basically a cautionary tale:

“No let them see you finish,

Dem go finish your biscuit,

Finish your sweet,

Shakara don end ooo.”

Translation: Watch how much you reveal about yourself. Don’t get too familiar with people. Once they know all your goodies (your biscuit and sweet), you become yesterday’s news. (Shakara don end)

And if they catch wind of your weaknesses, brace yourself – You’re about as valuable as a rusty tool.

Though we (Nigerians) have put our own spin on it, behavioural scientists call it “contempt through familiarity.” If you know what those words mean individually, you can easily connect the dots.

Contempt basically means despising someone so much, you feel superior and disgusted. For example, the disdainful glance a student gives their roommate for their messy habits.

Familiarity is being well-acquainted with someone to the level where you’re comfortable around them, recognise their behaviour, and drop your formalities. For example, a child being blasé about their parents’ love as they grow up.

So, the phrase “contempt through familiarity” describes the situation of losing respect for someone or something as you become more familiar with them. 

I think this is because familiarity leads to an increased awareness of their flaws and imperfections. Familiarity can breed complacency, which makes it easier to take things for granted and overlook the positive aspects of the relationship.

Dangers of See Finish: How Contempt Through Familiarity Harms Our Relationships

I did a bit of sleuthing, just to make sure this wasn’t one of our local trends. Turns out, studies show that becoming familiar with someone or something to the point of losing respect for them is a legit problem, and guess what? It’s not just a Nigeria problem; it’s a global issue.

“See finish” is like a silent relationship assassin. It sneaks in and messes up connections. The worst part? We’re often oblivious to it happening right under our noses.

Contempt is no joke. Clinical psychologist and author John Gottman threw it in the ring with the big guns – defensiveness, stonewalling, and criticism – and dubbed it the heavyweight champion of relationship killers.

Now, let me hit you with a snippet from Malcolm Gladwell’s “Blink,” where he spills the beans, straight from Gottman’s mouth, on just how serious this emotion can get.

“You would think that criticism would be the worst,”
Gottman says, “because criticism is a global condemnation of a
person’s character. Yet contempt is qualitatively different from
criticism. With criticism, I might say to my wife, ‘You never
listen, you are really selfish and insensitive.’ Well, she’s going
to respond defensively to that. That’s not very good for our
problem-solving and interaction. But if I speak from a superior
plane, that’s far more damaging, and contempt is any statement
made from a higher level. A lot of the time it’s an insult: ‘You
are a bitch. You’re a scum.’ It’s trying to put that person on a
lower plane than you. It’s hierarchical.”

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7 Tips To Counter ‘See Finish’ (Contempt Through Familiarity)

Relationships and friendships come with their share of differences and conflicts. But there are folks out there who will stick with you, amidst your flaws and all. I’m not just throwing words around; studies back this up.

But hey, if you want to avert those around you from the act of “see finish” or prevent yourself from dishing it out, here are some steps on how to deal with it like a pro:

Spot the Disrespect: 

First things first, you have to recognize when someone’s crossing the line. Pay attention to those hurtful comments, belittling actions, or anything else that makes you feel like you’re being disrespected. We’re naturals at this. So this shouldn’t be too hard, right?

Choose Your Moment: 

Don’t try to have this conversation when you’re both fuming; neither of y’all will get your point across. Instead, find a time when you can talk calmly and privately. A chill vibe makes for a more productive chat.

Use “I” Statements: 

Instead of pointing fingers and blaming the other person, focus on how their actions make you feel. Use “I” statements like, “I feel hurt when you make jokes about my appearance,” instead of saying, “You’re always making disrespectful jokes about me.”

This is an example of what Zen Buddhism and Western therapy call the Acceptance-Commitment Therapy (ACT). It helps in acknowledging, accepting and taking responsibility for your emotions.

Hear Them Out: 

After you’ve poured your heart out, give them a chance to explain their side of the story. Listen without interrupting. Maybe they didn’t realise how their actions affected you, or maybe they have a different perspective.

Set Your Boundaries:

Once you’ve heard their side, it’s time to lay down the law. Tell them what behaviour you won’t tolerate and what the consequences will be if they keep it up. Be clear, firm, and consistent.

Enforce the Boundaries:

If they break the rules after you’ve set them, don’t let them slide. Enforce the consequences you laid out. It could mean walking away from the conversation, ending the relationship, or seeking further action.

Seek Help When Needed: 

Sometimes, these things can be tricky to navigate on your own. If you’re struggling, don’t hesitate to reach out for advice or professional help. A therapist can provide guidance and support as you work things out and develop skills that prevent things like this later on.

Conclusion: Don’t Let The Disrespect Continue

I used to think Relationships were all love and smiles but they feel now that I’m grown up. It shocks me how some people will go as far as rubbing your ego on the floor like a rag to protect and inflate theirs.

I guess the real question is, “Will you do something about it?”

I hope you find the right people who will like you completely, respect your boundaries, and make lifelong bonds with you.

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An easygoing person who likes reading, writing, dancing, and meditating. He also isn’t afraid to take things to the next level.

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