Author, Dolly Alderton first coined the ’how easy are you to get on with’ scale in her Sunday Times column. Writer, Alex Noel discusses this and advises some self-reflection in the light of what the Bible says


Source: Alamy

Once the warm glow of Christmas has cooled and the leftovers are all but gone, it’s inevitable that our thoughts turn in earnest to the new year. Beyond January 1st lies the reality of starting to navigate next year. What could I be doing differently and what should I stop doing altogether? Accompanying it will very likely be some honest self-reflection, which is rarely complete without recalling a few awkward or cringe-worthy moments from the year just gone. Whether you’re into making resolutions or not, you’re probably determining to become a better person in some way. 

One thing that is unlikely to change for me anytime soon is my near-weekly tendency to grab the Sunday Times Style section and leaf through its colourful pages. Once I’ve established the newest trends, I’ll inevitably find myself on the back page reading Dolly Alderton’s latest agony aunt advice. In a recent column, she posed a question by way of answering a reader’s love life dilemma. It made me laugh out loud. And then it made me really think. Conscious of the discomfort it might cause, and careful not to offend her reader; Dolly cautiously asked the question (in question):

So, “…how easy are you to get on with, on a scale of Claudia Winkleman to Katie Hopkins”?

So, “…how easy are you to get on with, on a scale of Claudia Winkleman to Katie Hopkins”?

If you’re not already familiar; Claudia Winkleman, with trademark fringe, hosts Strictly Come Dancing (alongside Tess Daly) and The Traitors on BBC1. She’s a popular presenter - well on her way to becoming a national treasure. Keenly interested in people, she appears lively, friendly and lovable, even a bit ditzy. By contrast Katie Hopkins is more divisive; often cited as brash, opinionated and controversial. She was suspended from Twitter (when it was Twitter) and has found herself the subject of several legal proceedings. Perhaps more of an acquired taste than universally appreciated. Considering where I might sit on this scale of personality type and likability (we’re not talking politics here) I began to feel rather uncomfortable.

But I suspect I’m somewhere in the middle - maybe between a Mel and a Sue.

So, where do you sit on this scale? And does it matter? In some ways I’d hope I was more of a Claudia than a Katie. But I suspect I’m somewhere in the middle - maybe between a Mel and a Sue. I’m curious about people, love having fun and prefer harmony to arguments. At the same time I’m open about sharing my point of view, readily assert myself and will challenge things when I feel I need to. I aim to be diplomatic but I’ve not always been elegant in the way I’ve handled things. A tendency towards being direct has largely benefitted my relationships, but it’s also been costly for me at times.

Words and interactions can feel entirely different depending on what’s driving them. This new year, what if we were to dig beneath any wistful hopes for self-improvement and really appraise ourselves? Getting ruthless about our own characters. Is my friendliness always sincere? Is my honesty always loving? What’s motivating me? Of course, some things just speak for themselves.

The Bible says ‘out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks’ (Luke 6); and that we can ‘judge a tree by its fruit’ (Matt 7). So while being easy to get on with - the effect we have on others and their perception of us, is important. What matters most is what our hearts and lives are producing. In 2024 let’s make sure that it’s really good.