The Outsiders Questions and Answers
by S. E. Hinton

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What was it about Ponyboy that made people confide in him (Cherry, Johnny, Randy) ?

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Tim Mbiti eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Ponyboy is a character with a sentimental predisposition, which makes it easy for people to perceive his human side. Most of the other greasers are "hard" and have a difficult time accessing their true emotions. For instance, after Dally’s death, one can tell Two Bit is hurt, but he hides his emotions by diverting his attention to his switchblade, which Dally borrowed at the hospital. He acknowledges his pain but avoids responding and reacting to it. 

Ponyboy’s feelings, on the other hand, show right through, and it is his ability to express himself that makes him a good confidant. He can easily show compassion, and although he does not talk much, he provides introspective responses when consulted. His conversation with Randy demonstrates that he can view issues from another individual’s perspective and at least try to understand their circumstances. Thus, not only is he a good listener, but he also displays restraint and wisdom for his age.

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Kristen Lentz eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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Ponyboy becomes the confidante of several characters throughout the novel, and one of the reasons why is that he proves himself to be a good listener.  He does not interrupt of challenge the other person's story but simply listens.  He pays attention to both the person and their story, making the speaker feel more comfortable.  His sympathetic attitude is dissembling; it helps people relax around him because they can tell that he truly cares about what they have to say.  Even though he may disagree with them from time to time, Ponyboy's good-hearted attitude keeps his own opinions and anger in check most of the time (he does get angry with Cherry when she will not visit Johnny in the hospital, but even then he apologizes).

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fortuneangel | Student

I believe that it is Ponyboy's attitude that makes people confide in him. As stated in the book, Ponyboy is "gold," meaning he is innocent. He looks at the bright side of things and always tries to help others when needed. Ponyboy is young but is knoweldgable to the point that he has his life and can do what he wants with it. That's what I think is the reason so many people confide with him. Others might not agree but this is my perspective. It is also why I love his character greatly.