Thursday, October 22, 2009

"You come away with a great little story...

...of a mess of a dreamer with the nerve to adore you." Cold As You by Taylor Swift.

Jolly Berry and I were discussing life and people and philosophy the other day. We were talking about how you can't know how people perceive you, and how that's probably a good thing. :P

We especially were discussing nerds--having been called nerd more than once in my life, and Jolly has too, and how our strata of society seems to comprise mainly of nerds, and how nerds come in so many flavours. There are computer nerds, literary nerds, philosophical nerds, religious nerds, outdoorsy nerds, law nerds, fantasy nerds...the list goes on and on. Their similarities lie in that they are all in their own little world, oblivious to the rest of the universe going on around then and focused wholly on their particular fetish. (Note: the usage of the term "nerd" for the remainder of this email is NOT to be read as a derogatory label. It's merely a title for a certain segment of society that we are all aware exists and some of us proudly cling to the fringes. I use that term for lack of a better one and for simplicity sake.)

We also noticed how nerds may or my not notice when people do not like to be around them--and when they DO notice, it usually is blamed on the other person having problems (which, people being sinful, they generally DO have problems) and the nerd rarely considers his peculiar take on the world to be changeable or problematic or, indeed, to blame at all in such an instance.

I could broaden this to the entire world and all types of people, because this is what we do, isn't it, as people? We all think it's the other person's problem, primarily, or a "personality conflict" or we simply ignore and move on when people don't like us/are mean to us/ignore us. This is more broadly applicable, clearly, but let's stick with the nerd discussion for today.

We concluded that you can tell what kind of person you are (whether you are a nerd, as you suspect, or possibly some other type of person) by your friends. We discussed several instances of this, and were reminded of why cliques exist--they are the natural outworking of social interaction by people with similar skill sets, interest, social skills, and resources (at some point I want to discuss the clique "system" as compared to the indian caste system, but that discussion is saved for a later date.) Then we wondered if we have such a clear-cut social group and label that we could apply to our selves.

I can tell Jolly all day long that she is not a nerd, and she can do likewise to me, and we can be telling the truth--as far as we see it--but since we are close friends it is highly likely that we are similar enough that we are "in our own worlds" somewhat congruously, and therefore unable to get a clear picture of who/what we are (this is getting convoluted, but stay with me).

Further exploring this idea, we took an acquaintance, totally and indisputably a nerd with some rather pointed issues in social interaction, and considered their closest friends. Also all nerds, with varying degrees of social skills. ("Are we like that?" we wonder.) This acquaintance behaves toward many of the people as one would act towards an enemy. I wondered to Jolly if this person hated us personally, or if s/he honestly was incapable of ordinary interaction with normal people. Either way, we decided it was tragic--either s/he misses out on the pleasure of Jolly's and my company, or s/he lacks fundamental human relations skills.

Though, there we were defining normality by ourselves, which is somewhat a defeat of this whole exercise. We then considered how possibly you can tell what kind of person you are (what strata you fall into) by your enemies. This seemed to make a sort of sense--I personally have a limited pool of people who I would consider my enemies--and I would like to be friends with all of them. To put it another way, I would happily reconcile (and have tried to) with both of them (yeah, I can pretty much think of two people who would probably like me to drop dead) and we were previously friends, with a history of good interaction to build back on whenever we ARE reconciled. Jolly was much in the same boat.

When we looked at HOW they became an "enemy," we discovered that they became our enemy through what we considered unavoidably necessary actions on our part, with full communication as to our reasoning to them, and with their actions or words cutting off the friendship, never ourselves. This seemed promising in terms of our discussion of finding "our label."

If our only enemies were very specific cases and we drew our friends from among many groups, did that mean that we could, indeed, consider ourselves normal? Probably not--since that's a pretty unusual social pattern...which would make us abnormal...but anyhow, this is when the discussion went on to other things.

But briefly, about becoming enemies (and men and women). You've heard the quote, "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned." It's interesting to note that, while women loathe to be scorned and bring down fire and brimstone on a man who scorns her, a man will often have a similar reaction--but not to a girl who has turned him down. Men seem to take this anger out on a woman who he assumes will turn him down and so he never actually makes any attempt.

We saw this pattern over and over again in guys who never asked us out--possibly never even consciously intended to--but who seemed to perceive somehow that they would never be accepted, and therefore started treating us with their reaction to our assumed scorn.

Take this a step further. People project their reactions onto other people. Men realize that they act a certain way when they assume rejection, so they may anticipate that reaction from a woman who they have not actually turned down/scorned, but who they (the men) would assume they (the women) would assume they (the men) would scorn. In point of fact, women rarely assume they will be scorned (we know better) and when we DO, we react rather differently--up to a point, anyhow.

Again, I know it's convoluted...but this actually happened. Try to follow.

Jolly and I realized that in one of our (former) friendships we now had a situation where the guy knew he would have reacted to scorn in a certain way, and so his projected reaction led to preventative measures based on an assumption about an anticipated rejection never sought or given resulting in a backlash from an event that never happened and was never intended by either party involved.

What can you even DO with something like that?

Anyhow, that's the things going on in Rurajura lately. :)

Isn't it ironic?

1 comment:

~Holly said...

Wow. That was cleverly captured.

I like the Rurajura. :-)