Wednesday, November 15, 2006

I am a writer.

[Quote of the post] Idealists have to be right; perfectionists only have to be perfect.
[Song of the post] Stand Out - A Disney Movie

Woah. I have blogged o_O. After such a long time too. I promise to blog about FPS Melbourne and IBA soon, but right now I'm trying to get rid of excess thoughts from recent events which has... um... I dunno; destablized my life? Lost me some friends and won some enemies I think.

Recently there's been a bit of... commotion. Stuff to do with best friends and insecurities and relationships, among other things. I've needed somewhere to throw out all my thoughts about this, and well, here it is.

I want to remind people that I am not a psychologist. I am a writer and these are just some thoughts and observations made up by the horribly conspiricist think-tank which is my brain. Also, names aren't going to be mentioned here. It's not worth it.

Right, let's begin. Firstly, there's a lot of people who consider me as their best friend. I'm not sure if they've been doing so for a long time or that it's only appearing now, but I know that a lot more people want me to be their best friend. It's kinda weird; for the past seven years I have never had a best friend, yet alone have people who want me to be theirs; and now best friends are popping up all over the place like I'm some celebrity or something.

I don't know why; maybe it's because puberty is starting to kick in. Like Artemis Fowl said, "Puberty is a wonderful thing." Or something like that. I only read that book once. (I'm technically not even done yet.) Someone else said that these people are behaving the way they are because they just realized that their family isn't going to have any descendants at the rate they're going. Which I think is slightly more harsh. But there you go.

It's at this age that teenagers start developing, or at least, revealing, their insecurities, their feelings, their true colours. And, because we're all rich and gifted, we worry about our relationships. We start thinking about our friends; observing, thinking, assuming, then concluding. Sometimes wrongly. But we make mistakes because we're just human. Sure. Aren't we all.

We're rich and gifted. Gifted. "GEP students aren't always smarter than the others. They just think differently." When you're trained in scientific and logical reasoning, and are deprived in areas like music and art *ahemstupidibcuricculum* and creative thinking, you start to infer. Logically. Based on unfound assumptions. Based on worst-case scenarios. Which brings your conclusions further and further from the truth. And then when people act on these assumption-conclusions, without thinking of the other possibilities, everything crashes.

I feel slightly honoured and puzzled that people want me as their best friend. I guess that just goes to show that people don't know me that well. I'm not a whole, pure person on the inside. I just care for people a lot. And that's what makes me best friend material? Just because I sit with you, listen to you, care for you; that makes me a best friend?

A lot of times, poeple are just out to make you feel guilty. Most humans are very self-centred; they want people to do or act or think or be what they want. It's a survival thing; I don't blame them. Another thing; people are manipulative. They only hear what they want to hear. And to do that they ask certain questions to get people to say what they want to hear. The next two paragraphs are from, who quotes Daniel Gilbert, Harvard College Professor of Psychology at Harvard University. I think it's a great quote, and it really captures what I'm trying to say.

"... Of course, other people ... are the richest source of information about the wisdom of our decisions, the extent of our abilities, and the effervescence of our personalities. Our tendency to expose ourselves to information that supports our favored conclusions is especially powerful when it comes to choosing the company we keep. ... [W]e spend countless hours carefully arranging our lives to ensure that we are surrounded by people who like us, and people who are like us. It isn't surprising then that when we turn to the folks we know for advice and opinions, they tend to confirm our favored conclusions--either because they share them or because they don't want to hurt our feelings by telling us otherwise. Should people in our lives occasionally fail to tell us what we want to hear, we have some clever ways of helping them.

"For example, studies reveal that people have a penchant for asking questions that are subtly engineered to manipulate the answers they receive. A question such as 'Am I the best lover you've ever had?' is dangerous because it has only one answer that can make us truly happy, but a question such as 'What do you like best about my lovemaking?' is brilliant because it has only one answer that can truly make us miserable. Studies show that people intuitively lean toward asking the questions that are most likely to elicit the answers they want to hear. ... In short, we derive support for our preferred conclusions by listening to the words that we put in the mouths of people who have already been preselected for their willingness to say what we want to hear.

I've got to admit that I'm a victim to this too. Nevertheless, it's causing a lot of relationship problems between certain people, because the answers aren't what the questioners expect to hear. Talk about suicide, asking subtle questions, saying stuff then overlooking them: these are all ways of extracting sympathy from the person you converse with. Words are also one of the post potent weapons in this conflict. When people don't know how to use words properly, or use the wrong word, or get misunderstood, that's where all the explosions and conflicts begin.

I think it's the Singaporean "kiasu" mentality that keeps people gunning for a "best" friend. Singaporeans want to have the best of everything: best grades, best car, best game, best movie, etc. So why not best friend? Is there something about "best" that incites a certain feeling in our people? Americans don't have problems with best friends. Neither do the Australians or Britons. I don't know much about China; I don't watch their movies.

Look: bottom line is, I can't be everybody's best friend. It undermines the meaning of "best". But I can be a friend. That's about all that I'm good at. Please don't take that away from me. There are other forms of friends I can be to you: close, great, good. It doesn't have to be "best". Just like your exam results.

Another thing: forcing other people to figure out your feelings or your meanings isn't going to help you a lot. Speaking in a cryptic way, swerving around the subject, saying something then saying, "never mind", in the hopes that the person will figure you out and solve all your problems: it doesn't work that way. Not with me anyway. Some people are just lazy to figure out what you are trying to say. If you do it repeatedly for a long time, people are going to get irritated. People are just going to think that you can keep your secrets; if you don't want to tell me, I'm not a good enough friend. Same reasoning as, "if you don't listen to me and don't pay attention to me, you're not a good enough friend". It works the same way: it doesn't.

I'm not asking people to change who you are based on my advice. I'm not even giving advice. I'm making observations and conclusions, which could be outrageously wrong because I don't have all the information. I'm a scientist too, and am somehow stuck with the theory of causality: cause and effect. "When you've been in the business as long as I have, you stop believing in coincidences." --V for Vendetta. People generally act in the same way, but that doesn't mean that they cannot and will not change.

I am not a psychologist. I am not a psychaiatrist. I am an observer and a writer; I see and make note. This is not advice or a hint to tell you that I don't like you. These are notes, observations, conclusions. They may not be right; I'd be surprised if they were. I'm just making links between facts; just like a scientist.

The world really is weird. You have all these writers, artists, film directors, storytellers, essentially dictating to the world what people should be like, should behave like, should be living like. And it's not like they're trying to control your life. They're suggesting. Giving a strong hint.

Why don't people stop and listen instead of just hearing.