Category Archives: Social Encounters

The bad friend

The bad friend

I am a bad friend.

All her friends have always said so.

When she was nine, her best friend told her she was a bad friend because she wore glasses.

When she was 12, a friend told her she was bad because her braces and mouth retainer made her breath smell.

When she was 15, she was a bad friend for standing up for her boyfriend.

When she was 18, she was a bad friend for not being friends with a girl she hadn’t spoken to in two years.

When she was 21, she was a bad friend for not saying hello to a friend of a friend who really needed people to be nice to her.

When she was 24, she was a bad friend for not keeping in contact for the few weeks she went home to help her dad recover from heart surgery.

When she was 27, she wasn’t a bad friend because she had given up on having friends.

When she was 30 she was a bad friend for always calling another friend in the evening after a few drinks.

At least she’s got a few years before someone blames her for trying to be friends with them.

On Money

On Money

Greed.  That word, that sinful word.  It’s meaning is out of style, like the idea that college is the key to success.  Everyone knows it, yet people keep throwing money at it.  Appealing to a persons sense of greed is the best way to scam money out of them.  They know that greed is bad and their self flagulative instincts don’t want a lashing!

There is nothing wrong with wanting money.  It is the only tangible proof that I existed during all those hours of modern day slavery, modern day “show up and do what we tell you, or else!”  It is slavery, because I go through all of this in life to get by and then, at the end, I am faced with a green image of me in the mirror.   An image telling me that I shouldn’t have wanted this because now I am greedy.

It isn’t the afterlife that will haunt you.  Christians got it wrong, they want to ignore too much.  There is much more going on.  They want you to stay in the bubble of purity where you won’t feel the harshness since you will have done no so-called wrong.  Feel it, for is exists.  I have greed, I have hunger, I want more because I don’t have enough.  If I tried to hide it it would show up in some other way, probably on my hips.  If I had enough, and still wanted more, then the more negative connotation could apply, but, most people I know are not there, yet they are referred to as greedy.  This is a problem because they feel that they are asking for too much, yet they have not asked for enough because they fear being labeled as greedy.

Don’t be greedy, give!  Get our numbers high!

The mirror trap

The mirror trap

There you are, chatting about the past.  Answering honestly questions about how you perceived things happening.  Suddenly the questioner doesn’t like how you saw things and begins to argue that it didn’t happen that way.  They see the most negative extreme of what you said and you meant something judgmentally void of right and wrong.  In an attempt to keep clarifying, you realize that it is going nowhere and just as you are about to give up on the conversation, they throw shit at you: “Well it isn’t like you never did something stupid?”

Suddenly your eyes narrow, your throat wells up and you’re pissed.  “We weren’t talking about me, sooo what does that have to do with what we were talking about?” you ask.

“I’m just saying….”  the other party continues looking smug.

I try to retrace the conversation aloud with the person to figure out where I missed a turn but they are so dead set on putting me down that they refuse to map out the logic.  My mind races to map it out alone before the emotion wells up enough to take away my voice.

step one: she asked my opinion

step two: I gave it to her, she seemed fine until I said that one thing

step three: I kept clarifying and she couldn’t see that what I said was just a neutral observation.

step four: the tables turned and now I am under fire.

step five: escape!

In reality I said something she didn’t agree with and instead of staying on topic, she was offended and responded with a verbal jab.  I guess what I thought to be truthful common knowledge actually wasn’t.  I so unknowingly offended her first and she fought fire with fire.

Moral of the story: don’t use examples that include the person you are talking to… use examples about other people instead.  If they are still offended by that, then just don’t answer their questions anymore.

 

On Getting to Know Someone

On Getting to Know Someone

There is a certain point in the getting-to-know-people stage where they are becoming more and more predictable..and you are aware of this.  Suddenly that surprising phone call is no longer out of the blue, that invitation to hang out has a known end, and those mannerism speak for themselves.  Yep, you’ve just learned their personality.  You’ve got it down.  Now what?

In comes repetition and overlaying experiences.  You mix and mingle until, whoops!  You found out what you don’t like about them.  Oh dear, what a loss, you’re high has just fallen and suddenly all those fun memories have an hazy glow that keeps you from remembering that they were once considered cool.  Suddenly they aren’t cool at all.

Oh no! It isn’t that you realized what you don’t like about the person, you realized that you don’t like the person.  Oh a huge difference.  It is so big and potentially painful to the other party that you couldn’t bare to tell them.  So you keep going, keep answering the phone and hanging out.  After all you know you don’t like them, shouldn’t they too be figuring out that they don’t like you too?  Why is it taking so long?  How do I say no?  Why do they argue every time I say no?  How do I get out of this?  Oh god, I’m going to have to see the person soon and I have nothing to say, nothing I want to say and I don’t even feel like smiling.

Every time you are faced with the person, that first thing that you didn’t like about them becomes them.  It is there, walking by your desk, chatting in your ear, sending lines it text.  The person is no longer the person, they are everything that you do not like about them walking on two legs and they know it.  They must know that no one would ever like all of this.  How could they not know?  This is common sense to me, people don’t treat others so rudely and expect to be liked do they?  I learned this in preschool and they are still behaving this way?  Do people not know what a disgusted facial expression means?  Do they not know what it means to wear such an expression all the time?  They don’t. They don’t know.  Because they don’t know what you know.

But wait, sometimes things go the other way.  Sometimes you realize what you don’t like about someone and they never do it again.  Life just goes on and no one seems to notice.  You were waiting for them to do that annoying thing again and they didn’t.  You even held back to give them extra space to say that annoying word and nothing, there was silence.  or even better, they said something that you liked instead.  How wonderful this person is.

Then it continues for a long time and you realize that this person is stable.  They may do things that you don’t like but not every time and if it is a problem, they don’t hang their souls on the issue, they just do something else.  Ahhh, I see, this person is dynamic.  Those are my types of friends.  Shape shifters who don’t always operate on cue and enjoy having a deep pockets of happy social games to play.  You can still toss a nasty social pitch their way as a test, but you’ll notice that they deflect it with ease.  Instead of saying “you bitch!” they say, “I don’t play that game, but I like you so try another.”

Between the two extremes there ly the, well, inliers.  Those who stay in the gray.  You know enough about them that you know you don’t need to know any more about them.  They get a little annoying sometimes because you can never seem to get to know them enough to know whether you like them or not.  Which, in itself, is probably what you don’t like about them that they keep doing over and over so they really fall into the negative.  But give them a chance because sometimes it is just the situation that drives their behavior.

On feeling like I’ve done something wrong

On feeling like I’ve done something wrong

There are just so many rules in social life to follow… too many rules!  I know them all so well that I am aware of many many opportunities to to break them, but I don’t break them on the world stage.  Instead I break them in my mind.  I play out the entire scene for my own amusement and often detriment.  Generally the penalty for breaking social rules is embarrassment.  If perchance you happen to not get embarrassed then people go out of their way to explain why you should be embarrassed while giving you those looks meant to teach children to behave and conform.  Having broken many social rules, I am conditioned to be highly aware of rules, so aware that I automatically leave social gatherings with a feeling that I did something wrong.  It is an automatic response that typically lasts until I finish reviewing the event for validation of the feeling.  On a good day this feeling doesn’t bother me, but if I have been stressed, hungover, or not feel particularly well, my ability to deflect irrational thoughts decreases and I become unable to shake it off.  Dwelling in these irrational thoughts only makes me feel worse.  Awareness of what is going on helps but doesn’t fully cure my episode of despair.  All I can do is hope that my general sense of well-being returns to brighten my day.

On being allergic to people

On being allergic to people

As social beings, we are naturally inclined to react to other people.  Growing up, we are conditioned on how to behave towards people as well as how to read the basics of communication, yet there is still so much for which our vocabulary is heavily insufficient to explain.  Often people apply all the right rules and following all the social back and forths only to be further away from others than they were when they were strangers.  In all manner of capacity, the cultural social cues should have been enough, but more often than not, they fail us.  In all honesty, human connection is one of the least understood aspects of life, cognitively speaking.  There is no explanation for subtleties affecting why certain people are great friends yet others can’t stand the mere mention of one anothers’ names.  In reality it isn’t the social banter that it important, it is how others make you feel.  There are some of us who are quite sensitive to how other people affect us, meaning our internal reaction to someone’s presence drives whether or not we bother to make contact or continue on with mindless social exercises.  There are many different ways that people make me feel.  Some more pleasant than others.  One feeling in particular is horribly annoying: the allergic reaction.

Like any allergy, it take a few interactions with a person to realize that I am allergic to them.  Once the allergy is full blown, my immune system switches my brain into self preservation mode.  All energy goes into getting as far away from the person as possible.  My vision narrows so that my brain can focus solely on escape routes as well as be unable to make clear eye contact.  My vocal cords tighten to only allow out desperate cries for freedom.  My sinuses tighten so my nervous system can be ready to produce tears in case I really need to show someone how serious I am.  I instinctively want to curl up into a ball by hugging my knees to keep the individual from thinking that I am open to their presence.

I know this is an allergic reaction because once the allergen is gone, I feel relieved that I am able to act normal again.  Like any in any other allergy situation, the best thing for my health is to avoid the allergens, so I do…and guess what?!?!? I’ve been allergy symptom free! 🙂

How you know a relationship is dying part IV

How you know a relationship is dying part IV

You feel confident when in certain situations, but when specific people are around you feel the need to compete for the friendship.  Your “friend” encourages this by naturally not making social concessions/offering agreed upon reassurance towards you.  When confronted your friend acts like they didn’t notice because they do it on purpose as their way of controlling you.  Confused you assume it is just in your mind, so you try to ignore it.  It happens again when the “better” friend is around.

Suddenly you realize that there is a hierarchy and the needs of the friends higher on the list are met before yours.  Often the needs of higher friends is that your “friend” be cold to their lower friends.  This modern day Machiavellianism is how friends exert dominance other each other for their own negative, controlling self indulgence.

On status anxiety

On status anxiety

The world is apparently flattening yet all over I still sense a need in people to cling to old forms of social class structures.  Top schools, top jobs, top companies, top designers, top top top top top.  Are we working for money or recognition?  If someone pays you a salary, you are working class.  If you live paycheck to pay check, regardless of income amount, you are broke.  If your net worth is negative, you are broke.

The standard of living gives people a false sense of social standing.  The ability to talk and act “up” also give a false sense of where they stand.  People aren’t competing against each other, people are competing against what others claim to have or be doing.  There is a big difference, especially if you encounter a habitual exaggerator who defines themselves by their dreams not by their actual accomplishments.  But anyway, why the need to compete after the contest is over?  After the good school, good work experience, good standard of living, etc.  At what point does the competitive drive just allow everyone to kick back and simply enjoy the fruits?

i guess I just want the competitive people to shut up.  It is the noise coming out of their mouth, infecting my ears that irritates me.  For some reason my brain finds meaning in it, fearful meaning.  Perhaps my sensitivity to words is just flaring up again.  The words hit at my insecurity about no being smart enough or good enough.  So whenever I hear the competitive chatter, it gets to me.  I don’t like being taunted, teased, or put down.  Words have meaning and I respect them.  Therefore I don’t use them aggressively unless I mean to, but that doesn’t mean I should expect everyone else to follow my same doctrine.

Harnessing my own insecurity would help.  If I accepted that I am perfectly fine and capable, then I could move on.  I could fill in the empty space were my old insecurity sat with something better that doesn’t listen for fearful confirmation.  I could replace it with confidence and the ability to not need to second guess myself.

Crush

Crush

Crush always likes to slam into me like a 30 foot tsunami.  I just don’t know what hit me and I don’t see him coming (no pun intended).  His desperation for a home is a result of my desperation for autonomy.  I say he is “desperate” because his fancy takes such a wide variation of forms, so wide that I couldn’t possibly choose just one.  I love them all (all meaning foreign ones, domestics are just pass times).  He makes me love the way they speak, the words they say, the tone they use, the stuff I would normally shun, the actions they so easily express without asking…I love it all.  I want to take it home with me.  Nurture it and live off it to the point where I am completely dependent on it.

Sadly crush doesn’t stay in one place for long.  His constant shifts sadden me.  But in my deepest, darkest despair over what I can’t have there is always a little light checking in.  He feeds me attention when I least expect it.  He actually gives me hope…. but I think it is just crush in friend’s clothing…

Powerlessness

Powerlessness

How does it feel to be a slave in a world so full of beauty?  Do you feel grateful to your silent and invisible master for allowing you feel the touches, smell the scents, see the sights, taste the flavors, sense the unknowns?  Is it really better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all?  Would you not be happier in a box where at least you know what everything means?  Have you not noticed that no one wants to talk about it for too long?  Have you counted how many times the subject has been dropped?  When you speak of it, have you not seen the look in their eye that tells you they think you are mad for talking that way in this situation?  Do you really think you are the crazy one?