I had a thought; why do we date? It’s getting to know the other person in depth and to see if the two of you can connect and click well together.
So why don’t we do that with friends? Think about it, one on one quality time with your best friend (even of the same gender) is always about getting to know him or her, know what’s going on with their lives and to reinforce the connection you have. I’m thinking I could turn this into a new project. I should go and have one on one quality time with my friends. I already do this with my best friend, Song, on a semi-regular basis, so why not expand it a little? Besides, it’ll also act as a secondary filtering tool to help me see if that friend and I really could be close.
Obviously, it’s because I want to spend time with them. I don’t want superficial friendships, so the friends I do keep have to have a connection with me. So the first reason I want to do this is to strengthen and maintain the close friendships I already have.
Taking a look back now on the close friends I have, the close friends I’ve lost, and the friends I wish were closer, I really wonder how it all happened (or didn’t happen, in the last case). This project will be partly a research project to help me understand myself better as well. What makes us best friends? What is it that separates just friends and best friends? Perhaps actually extracting a clear list of traits will help me pick future friends more carefully.
Another thing I’ve noticed about myself is that sometimes I tend to dominate a conversation, especially when I get too passionate about what I’m talking about, or if I have a series of follow up jokes to deliver. I’m aware of it and I do catch myself, but by then it’s too late to “un-dominate”. All I can do is pull on the reins and then people ask me if I’m okay because I’ve suddenly gone quiet. My point is, I need to learn to listen just for the sake of listening, not listen to reply. Right now, I tend to listen in order to have time to formulate a reply, or recall a quote or joke correctly. It’s difficult for me to do it right now, because my mind works at light speed, drawing connections to puns and quotes, going off on tangents and just wandering. I don’t want to be the guy who always has to have the last word, because that’s really immature. I have learnt the hard way that most people don’t think like I do or at the same speed as I do.
I guess I owe my friends an apology for each time I’ve been overly zealous when I speak.
I also realize that this friend date project can be used as a confidence building exercise. I have several friends on Facebook that I’m not close to but I wish we were. I haven’t spoken to them for quite a while, apart from random funny comments I leave on their photos and status updates. This could be the perfect excuse to connect with them as well as reconnect with old friends I’ve lost touch with.
I want to learn how to be able to talk to people even though I barely know anything about them. I think it’s called building rapport, so I guess the best way is to throw myself in the deep end. Heck, this isn’t even the deepest end yet; that’s talking to a total stranger anywhere and at anytime. If I’m able to talk to friends I’m not close to that I barely know, I should be able to move on to striking up a conversation with anyone.
Lastly, I’m also writing a fictional story about mind reading and I need different characters. As a side effect of this project, I’m hoping to gain insight into how different people think and, more importantly, why they think differently. I need to model my characters off real people, or perhaps draw different traits together to create a new character.
One thing I’m looking for are quirks that make a person unique. For example, my main character will have a really sweet tooth as a side effect of using his mental abilities to often. To normal people, it’ll just be a quirk. So if I can identify quirks my friends have and invent interesting reasons for them, I think my characters will be more relatable.
Well, we’ll see how this goes. I’ll do my best to talk to one person a week or two, so I’ll probably do another post in a few months’ time, reflecting on this project.
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.”