That’s The Way It Goes…

I don’t know if its just me or does everyone gets hassled by a small, inconsequential incident, worthy of 100% ignorance, as it plays havoc on the mind?

It just happened with me.

Just a couple of days back, I met this girl who was a colleague in an organization I worked sometime back. Not that we were thick friends or something, but meeting her has made a big impression in my mind and left me with questions that perhaps, I will not get answers to. I guess I don’t wish to try getting answers either.

This girl was (is?) academically intelligent and smart, but appeared recluse and socially awkward when we worked at this firm. She sported a couple of tattoos that showed and probably more that didn’t. In short, she was straight out of a Murakami story – unusual, aloof, and with a definite air of mystery surrounding her.  My team had a view that she is either an alcoholic or is high on some substance. I didn’t believe so, as I didn’t know how people are supposed to behave or look like when they are high. How naive, you’d say.

Anyway, I never had a real conversation with her (to form my opinion about her) and interactions were limited to work. She was just there, existing in her space and I was too busy minding my own work. Then I had to move on and join a different organization.

Then we met again, some 7 years later and she was completely transformed! She definitely didn’t look stoned – in fact, she has assumed this aura of intelligence and experience. I had hard time believing that she was indeed who she was. So, I went ahead and said hello, and made some small talk about past, present etc. The social awkwardness,  recluse nature is still there. She has changed jobs, a 180 degree shift I’d say, to a job that requires you to stay among people, behave much more socially than the previous role she was working in. The appearance has become what we assume or term as normal.

Since the meeting, I have two thoughts in my mind –

  1. I wish I could have known her better to register or recognize the personality change that has taken place.
  2. Is this life? Turning into what is acceptable or normal as per the set rules of society? From very far, I like her previous self better than the renewed, more acceptable self. I would have been much happier if she would have continued to remain the same.

But then who remains same? We all change, the moment changes and things that are today, will never be same in future. Why do I strive for normalcy, when I know its simply not possible.

Things will change. That’s the way it goes.

Advertisements

Whose Life is it Anyway? ‘Virtual’ly Social or Socially Virtual…

Q: Why are you on Social Networking sites?

A: Social networking is cool. it’s hip. It’s ‘with the times’.

Q: Those are its characteristics; good. But, why are you on these sites?

A: It let’s me stay in touch with people. I can tell my friends about my life. Plus, everyone on it, dude!!!

If you ever have/had this conversation with your conscience/or someone, read on…If you are not moved, definitely read on!

That’s what everybody around me says when I ask them – why did you join this? Because, everyone is on it! Worse, I asked myself, and got the same answer!

I have had it. I have made peace with ‘Active’ Social Networking. I define ‘Active’ social networking as something in which I post intimate details of my life on a periodic/intermittent, but frequent basis (ex. Facebook, twitter etc.). I will continue with ‘passive forms’ of networking like linkedin, blogging etc., where neither I expose my life to ‘virtual unknowns’ nor get exposed to things like “IPL weekend photos”, “Honeymoon pics”, “Crazy Status Messages and tweets” and long comment chains!!

Why I did so?

#1 Disillusioned with looking at pictures people post/status message/chain of comments or update and open their life to a stranger like me. Same goes for them.

#2 Amount of time I spend on these sites in office, and in home.

#3 Intrusion of privacy (I do) by checking individual profiles often visibly/invisibly (I felt ashamed!).

#4 Too much Unnecessary Information…overload actually!

#5 Out of 300 odd friends I have/had (?), I follow not more than 5 of  them…

#6 Looking at amazing pictures people post, I am tempted to spend my money on expensive SLRs and exotic travel..moerover, all these m.xxx.com sites and ‘forever’, ’24X7 online’ and ‘on-the-go’ social networking means buying an expensive phone and service…(for me 2G is good enough)

#7 Birthday wishes from random people. People who used to phone, now do it on my wall/via tweet/scrap me. I hate ‘just-for-the-sake’ wishes and double hate people who need to be reminded of my birthday via calendar programs in Facebook.

#8 ‘so-called’ cool apps (like forecast, astrology, tag etc.)/ stupid communities, groups and causes I joined/became a fan off…After which my profiles were spammed with all junk info!!!

# 9 I became lazy (all the time on laptop).. on second thoughts, I still am lazy…:)

#10 Most important – Too little time with ‘real’ people in my life…

I was an addict and I didn’t go to ‘AA‘ to get rid of my addiction. I just gave it a thought.  And I was clear! Enough is enough. If I want a ‘social’ tag, I will keep in contact with core set of people that I would like to talk to, in any manner possible. I have a good plan on my mobile, which is cheap. I am also powered by the Email and Indian Post.

I am happy, peaceful, talking to and spending time with people, reading books and thinking these days. There is no sudden urge or need to connect, belong, communicate, exhibit, entertain, intrude, watch, spy, sell, promote, follow or simply waste time. I think of writing more often. I feel good in office and in home.

I am not a social activist fighting for ‘save the snail mail’ or ‘down-with-technology’ campaigns. Nor I suggest you to do the same. I would just request you to give a good, deep thought to being ‘virtual’ly social or socially virtual’…

P.S> Those of you thinking about thoughts like ‘do-in-moderation’ and ‘do-a-balancing-act’ etc., contact me at once! I would like to be your disciple and learn the dying art. Who knows,  I may walk the alleys of Facebook again…

Hey Boy! Your Best Friend is a Girl? Never Mind, You’re not Alone….

Need to share something exciting?? Looking for a shoulder to cry?? Want to confess, share or simply bitch? If you’re a guy or a girl, there are high chances that shoulder extended is that of a person from opposite gender. Rules of the game are simple for boys and girl alike. You want to have fun, enjoy, hangout etc. you may do it with your gang of boys or girls. The moment you feel the need to talk “Serious” issues impacting your life, you go to a best friend, most probably not the same as your gender. This is also referred to as ‘Platonic Relationship‘. According to wikipedia,

Platonic love, in its modern popular sense, is a non-sexual affectionate relationship. A simple example of Platonic relationships is a deep, non-sexual friendship, not subject to gender pairings and including close relatives.

What intrigues me about platonic relationships are two things – why we do it? and i-kid-you-not, what are the best practices to follow? 🙂 simply put, why boys and girls gel more and what steps to follow to keep it just that – platonic. Making whole affair spicy is the popular belief that best friends make best of lovers. Indeed, I am available to testify that anyday ;).. So how and why do we get along with opposite sex so much? Here are my top reasons:

## They are better listeners than similar gender friends…afterall which guy would be interested in knowing what’s happening in other lad’s life??

## Cos they listen better, they empathize better…hence are closer to heart…

## There is huge curiousity about the other sex…Whats in their mind, how they react to situations, how to impress them, or simply what works and what not…completely unchartered territory to be explored..

## Some Insider tips, advices or suggestions on how to go about winning someone over…

## There is no competition… with same sex, you are always bound to be comapred on appearance, intelligence or skills…no such competition with opposite sex :)…

## Attention never seems to cease from the opposite sex…Get loads of it all the time…:)

## You can shamelessly ask for any number of favors…and get your work done…

## You can simply bitch or complain about anyone under the sun…even about the one you love…on a serious note, there are some things you dont even share with your someone special, no holds barred here…:)

People have thier own opinions on platonic relationships…Some argue that a guy and a girl can never be ‘just’ friends…while others are of view that people can be friends without getting the angle of love and sex involved in their relationship. Fair enough, both sides put their arguments in a manner which do not have a right/wrong answer as relationships come with lot of  subjectivity involved. Even though it is good to have friends, there has to be priorities defined on how do you want to treat people in your life. There is a whole lot of effort required along with great restraint from both the parties involved. Here’s what I think are the things we shouldn’t forget if we are in a platonic relationship,

** Draw your limits on what to share and how much to share. I guess there should be check on few things personal, which you would rather prefer sharing with someone special…

** Don’t believe just because your comfortable talking to your friend, you would turn to them in every situation…be wary, especially in emotional situations….The support extended at these situation brings you closer to anyone in record time!!

** Be focussed. Don’t create if’s and but’s scenarios with your best friend in mind…trust me, its gonna be disastrous, and you would probably end up on losing side..

** Flirt, but again, need to show some restraint. The love emnates from the flirting and becomes too much to handle…

** Never ever give priority to you friend over your love… You would be doing great injustice to them. Always remember your love has the first right on you…

** Never compare the two – your friend and your love. Both are individuals, bound to be different. Respect the same. period.

** Being protective is good. But only if  its your love interest. Don’t try to be protective and poke your nose too much in their affairs. Alongside, don’t take or force your decisions on them. You ain’t god controlling the life of mortals…

** Its good to be available for help sought by your friends…but on expense of your own life, personal engagements etc.,  No way!. if you draw a line for yourself, make sure your friends do that too.

 I understand, we are all humans, always ready to err. Don’t do this, do that, may never help. I suppose, what I have written is tending towards ideal or perfect. But, all of this would make sense if you try and see your friendship being in your lover’s shoes. How you would feel about the relationship then? I am sure the limits, focus and priorities would come by themselves, without any great effort. Afterall, what if your friend has a love and they start keeping tab on the relationship with you. Exactly! sooner or later that has to happen.

However, if you/your friend fail to do all this, get ready to propose your friend…A good, strong relationship is in store for you…;)

 

What Matters to You: ‘X’ Factor or ‘Stay’ Factor?

We all live in a world where first impression matters the most…After all, we all lead busy, non stop lives where we come across so many individuals on day-to-day basis…People who have pleasant faces, dress appropriately, talk assertively leaving everyone around them mesmerized or simply making a statement where they appear away from ordinary or bohemian… These are the people who we remember or give a ‘second look’ to…all thanks to the first impression…popularly known as  ‘X’ factor….

A research done by Janine Willis and Alexander Todorov of Princeton university concludes that it takes 100 millisecond of exposure time to form on opinion about someone we come across. The research asked the participants to judge random people’s pictures on 5 parameters (attractiveness, likeability, trustworthiness, competence, and aggressiveness) and concluded that if we increase the exposure (from 100 millisecond to 500/1000 millisecond) of these pictures, some of the judgement made earlier were strengthened.  The research concluded with a statement – however, increased exposure time led to more differentiated person impressions.

Impressions don’t last forever, but they last long…That’s how we form relationships – On first impressions. But can they be sustained on X factor alone? I believe – No. You need much more than just X factor – a ‘Stay’ factor  – which goes beyond X factor and comprised of all the parameters which are necessary to sustain and grow a relationship. While X factor is known in milliseconds, Stay factor requires honest effort to know a person. So, X factor is peripheral and concerned about physical appearances, Stay factor is more about heart and soul and can only be known via more interactions.

In reality, we are too smitten by the X factor that by the time we realize its not working out, its too late to concentrate on Stay factor. People see the sheen only and forget what lies beneath. Reasons to do that can be many – personal achievement or ego boost, social status, peer pressure or simply a prejudiced, hollow thought process, where stereotypes rule! We all fall prey and get attracted to people with X factor…others, we simply give them a miss!! (That is why some people prefer socializing on internet, as they are not judged by appearances but by stuff they have inside)

X factor is good support for judgement, but it should not be taken as  ‘end-all, be-all’ for forming an opinion about someone. But, things that X factor comprises (read looks), play so much on our mind, that we forget the rest and our opinions are already positive about that person. We try to perceive actions of that person only through one angle – X factor. We ignore few important things in the process such as attitude and basic nature of the person, the very foundation of a person. ‘Taken for granted’ is the biggest by product of relationships sustained on just X factor. It takes time to let the effect sink in, and when it does we eject ourselves. All ready for an Encore….

However, the sooner you transition from X factor to Stay factor, better for you and the relationship. Try and work on weak areas while strengthening the strong and compatible ones. Now that you have put foot in the door, its time to make a good, solid foundation for your relationship. How do we achieve all this? Talk, meet, hangout, enjoy, have good/bad time and then talk some more…

X factor is completely in line with principles of Natural Selection, so its beyond our control. We ought to get attracted to people who possess it. period. But, look around, people with whom you are with for many many years, did they exhibit X factor the first time they met you? or did you give them ample time to strike a chord and made an effort to understand each other? Relationship that you sustain over long period of time have the solid foundation of Stay factor. You want them to Stay. In the bargain, you are ready to make amends and adjustments necessary.  If you have done all this,  you have realized the power and significance of Stay factor!!

For the sake of recessionary world economy,  Its not bad though, chasing/developing X factor… it saves time!!

Increasing Influence of Friends…

Have you ever done something about which you were really not sure, but you nonetheless did that because your “friend” said so?? If yes, read on for my take on this…

Friends have become more important than ever… I am sure, in previous generations, friends would have been important too… But today, as I look around, friends play much important role in our lives than parents or siblings. Almost all of us have that one close friend whom we entrust our life’s secret with, go to get support or opinions, and sometimes even let him take a decision for us !!!

As humans, whosoever we get close to, we let them overpower some portion of our personalities. That is why we get happy/sad with whatever they do with/without respect to us. So far, I guess parents and siblings (by virtue of their age/relationship) had the maximum influence on us. But as we grow up, we try to decide and develop an attitude for people around us and what role they should play in our life. Mostly, we are in awe of our friends (who we idolize because of their skill, intelligence of position in our peer group) rather than anyone else. Moreover, we have instant tuning with our friends as they are going through the same phase as us vis-a-vis our parents or siblings.  That explains why it becomes easy for friends to dictate somethings that we do in life.

But when we see in retrospect, we often rue the fact that we let somebody else decide for us or we were blindly following whatever friends were doing. No two person think alike or react same to situations. I have people around me – who studied a particular course as their friend convinced them that this would be the best thing possible for them; who changed jobs just because his friends made him believe the other job was best proposition; Did Alcohol/smoking because his friends said he would not want to be left out of  ‘it’ people…There are so many things we do and regret later… Many a times, I have been influenced by my friends (and I regret that..) and I have also influenced my friends (I am sure they regret it too ;)… )

If it is so normal, why even bother about it… a decision here and there…does it matter?? Afterall, we decided to take the decision and go forward…Aren’t we equally guilty?? I would say ‘No’…and we should absolve ourselves from any guilt that we have on any decision which changed the course of our lives… Especially, those decision which we took in impressionable age (This age can be anything based on your maturity)…

I say so because, no one has right of pushing us into something for which we were not sure…irrespective of whether they knew the consequence or not, majority of guilt lies with people who pushed us...

As there is no ‘undo’ button in life….people…stand up and take your decisions…take opinions, consult every quarter…but decide on your own…and ‘Mavens‘ …please refrain from pushing people to take proxy decisions…

P.S> Sometimes, friends help us take good decisions as well…But frankly, it is coincidence or just fate, bad decision have more bearing on your life than those good one….:)

Bad or good, please take your own decisions….

The Act of Moving On…

Think about it – how many times you have been advised or you have advised others to move on in life over some situation… I guess zillion times…But, how many times you or your friends moved on from that particular situation..?? I can safely guess…very few or even none…we still hold the grudge/pain/anguish/guilt/helplessness close to our heart as it would be a dear friend….

Why on earth we can’t move on…What is that ‘thing’ that just doesn’t let go of the memories…why do we ‘thrive’ in the state of abeyance?? What is so ‘sexy’ about feeling/being miserable??

In the instances where I/people around me did not move on, I discovered that this whole process starts with some common thoughts that don’t let you move on:

– How can this happen to me?

– I have the poorest luck in this whole world!

– I am being victimised!

– God is unfair to me…

– I did whatever needed to be done…still..

– How can he/she get what I deserve!

– I have lost…

– I am useless/ugly/incapable/loser…

– I never got what I wanted in life…

– How can he/she not like me…

– Only If I was born somewhere else…

– He/She cheated me..played with my trust/faith…

and so on.. if you take a closer look at these statements, all of them are externally controlled (meaning you can’t change any of these or have control over..)…shifting the blame on someone else (read fate mostly)…which is quite human thing to do…and as B*Witched says “Won’t blame it on myself, Just blame it on the weatherman”

Now, the combination of these thoughts and the fact that we can’t do much about it..puts us in endless circles…and we feel comfy in the miserable situation that we are in… we start liking it and think of us as one hapless, unlucky human being upon which great injustice has been done…adding the extra attention and care that you get from your friends just makes being in this state more attractive…

At certain level, all of us have low confidence on our abilities to act well in some situations that demand a lot from you…When we don’t move on..this is exactly what happens…We face difficulty (sometimes we not at all try!!) in doing things in which we faced failure…we fear the unknown…and make that unknown in our minds as defeat..because memories from the past haunt us all the time…….Loosely, this combines with our resistance to accept changes…and makes the whole moving on process complex…

To move on, it depends upon personal capacities and will power…it is not at all an easy thing….It is a mind game which (among many things) depends on how experienced, mature and objective thinker you are..

One thing that surely works is keeping yourself busy…it goes a long way in diverting your mind from endless calculations, assertions and designs that you make in your mind… in unsuccessful relationships, I guess snapping/avoiding all sort of interfaces and communication works the best…people argue it can’t be done in a day….but I have seen lot of people doing avoidance gradually instead of a snap decision and failing miserably at it…They just can’t move on from there…One more ingredient making relationships and life unfathomable…

If only humans were objective like computers…but then, would such a beautiful world exist?

Mathematics of Friendship: Friends on The Time Line

We have surely heard about the ‘chemistry’ between friends… Biology also finds its place in some friendships ;)…but how about maths in friendship… As they say we are ‘calculative’ as a person, we add/subtract/divide friends, look at various permutations and combinations while deciding on who to propose or whom to accept proposal from, love to multiply our chat sessions and so on…there is sure some maths involved somewhere…:)

On a serious note, one thing I have observed/felt is that friendship is indeed a function of time. This means, over a period of time, dynamics of our relationships change…

Communication is the key in any relationship…When we are young, and we have all the time on our disposal, we stay in touch through physical meetings (hang outs!!), phone calls, SMS, FB/Orkut, emails …whichever way possible…then we start getting busy in our lives…the hang outs become less…even the phone calls drop…

And it goes on… we get married, have kids and become engrossed in our lives…In other terms, our priorities shift…this lack of communication creates a gap of sorts between our friends and us…sadly,  sometime it is never filled…It starts with us hesitating to call or get in touch with that friend…How will I explain the reason for not getting in touch for so long – is what we think and if we don’t find any appropriate answer/excuse or sufficient guts to face the situation, we end up not calling that person…

One argument in favor of not staying in touch is that…we need to understand that people get on with their lives as we do…and the rules of the game are rewritten… a phone call/email/or a SMS (on birthdays/festivals that too) every six months constitutes staying in touch…

This is mostly true for all cases except, where you have friends studying and working/or staying in same places.

Generally, this approach works out pretty well…I would not say that forget your old friends, keep in touch with them as well…But, I feel in life, relationships teach you more than anyone else…Therefore, Its very important to meet new people, hear their experiences, their perspectives and understand their individualities…more and more people you meet, more open and tolerant you become to different opinions and ideas…eventually, you may  start respecting the heterogeneity that exists among us humans…. a key in holistic development of a person….

Coming back to friends, we always tend to have a close set of friends (probably not more than 1, 2 or 3; usually friends made in formative years, college, first job etc.) which we consider closest and would go to for any kind of support or need. These are the friends you would not want to forget and get out of touch with. Small efforts to be in touch…here and there…. would go a long way in creating an unbreakable, long lasting bond.

“Out of sight, out of mind” is a dangerous philosophy to follow, because, the same thing can be used against you as well. You may not realize its danger initially, but when you are in need and have no one to share, that’s when it would hit you hard! To help avoid this thinking,  Messengers and Social Networking websites are helping people create new set of rules for their friendship and help them communicate…

Crux is… you can’t ignore the importance of friends…and in the age of internet, you CAN stay in touch if you WANT to stay in touch….