Socially Speaking

Nope, nothing. Tons of random thoughts. Let’s just get them all out, shall we?

Well, let me start with Facebook. I’ve got a bone to pick with it. It’s taken over a lot of communication. People don’t feel like they have to talk in person or on the phone anymore, because they’ve left a message on our “wall”. Many of us are guilty of it, even people to whom we’re close. Yes, we’re still socialising, but do all our interactions have to be so damn public? If anyone can see what we’re talking to each other about, there’s nothing personal, per se, anymore. If we’re informed of major events in a friend’s life via such a platform, then how does that person remain a close friend? I mean, the update could be visible to just about any of their 500-odd friends. (I am aware of the new somewhat controlling and somewhat out of control privacy settings on Facebook, thank you for asking.)

It’s helping the world become smaller, but we’re losing something valuable. Where’s that moment when we sit face-to-face or, at worst, actually hear the other person’s voice? How do we hear the cynical tone, the feverish excitement, the hearty laughter, the silly giggles? If we can see them but don’t, aren’t we missing the expressions silently asking for support, the little smile appearing despite their skeptic words, a wistful look, the sparkle in their eyes? Can we still successfully catch up, build a relationship or reinforce one? I think something will often be missing. It isn’t the same. Despite any arguments we may make, it just isn’t.

Friendships and relationships become diluted because we let these social networking websites take over. We let  them become a substitute for real communication, a real heart-to-heart. We assume we’re “in touch” because we let each other see our status updates or share songs we’re listening to or publicise our relationship statuses which are likely to become a breeding ground for drama. With the amount of information which is shared on sites such as this or Twitter, much of it could be shared inadvertently. (I can swear that I could follow the controversial life of a girl I barely know via her status and relationship updates over the period of about a year. I would give you details to support this, but I don’t think that would be appropriate.) With the amount of interest we have in other people’s lives, I also firmly believe that Facebook brings out the voyeurs in us. This isn’t helped by the fact that there is now a live news feed on the home page. Doesn’t this somehow let people know that we are active at this present moment on Facebook? Isn’t that sort of akin to appearing online even if we aren’t “Available to Chat”?

What did we do before these websites started playing such an important role in our lives? We didn’t try to summarise our thoughts into 140 characters and we didn’t need to let every random person befriending us virtually know that we’re in a complicated or an open relationship. If something bothered us, we sought out our friends and talked to them, instead of posting our latest mood swing for everyone to see. Where we’d have had a decent, sensible conversation which might actually help the situation, now we write, “I’m in a bad mood, y’all. Keep away.” And then we get a ton of “Awwww”s and when someone asks, “What’s wrong?” we say, “I kinda don’t want to talk about it.” It’s a little personal, right? Well, maybe we shouldn’t have shared it with every random person whose friend request we’ve accepted. But now Facebook lets you group your friends in any way you please: Close Friends, Family, Acquaintances and you can create your own groups too. So don’t ever call or even text your friends again, use Facebook to do that dirty work for you.

Now, speaking of people accepting friend requests from random strangers, why in the world are people so damn keen on making new friends through the internet? Maybe we should talk about that someday. On Facebook. Or we can just tweet it or something, right? It’s high time; I should really get on Twitter and learn #7habitsofhighlyeffectivetweeters or something to that effect. Then we’d really be talking.

 

Points to Ponder ~ Essence

I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.

– Maya Angelou

Maintain Safe Distance

I lost a friend once. I had asked her for advice related to a guy who was a little younger than me and wanted me to be his girlfriend. She told me to not go for it. The guy was very sweet and good to me–my reasons actually are immaterial to anyone else, or they should be–so I still did, and she stopped talking to me, saying, “If you didn’t want to take my advice, why did you ask me?!” Aren’t we free to make our decisions even if the entire world tells us to act otherwise? Are we obliged to do what someone else says we should just because we asked them what they think of it? What about the people who offer their opinions, unsolicited, and don’t stop voicing them? Or those who cannot stop talking about the cracks they see in your relationships? Their perspective on it is that of an outsider.

The truth is no one really knows a relationship besides the people inside it. Have you ever wondered why that couple that always seems to argue still stays together? Or why your favourite couple, the one you thought was so strong, is breaking up? You’ll never really know. And even if you know, maybe you won’t understand. Only the people forming the relationship will know the true reasons they don’t let go of each other or can’t stand each other anymore. Only they will be able to understand why they’re inseparable or why they’re separating. Maybe you will never understand the emotional chemistry between them, or the reasons they’re drawn to each other, or the lack thereof. There’s isn’t much sense in analysing relationships you aren’t a part of. It’s very likely that nothing will come of it. You won’t discover the truth behind it and all you will have is speculation.

Then again, why are you so interested in their life? And if you are curious enough about their reasons, talk to the involved people about it. Perhaps this is a family member you’re trying really hard to understand, to know what to think and what to make of their activities. If it’s bothering you and affecting your life, talk to them. Otherwise, leave it alone. You have to let them take care of their relationship their own way. There are feelings and pasts and histories and emotions which cannot be explained to you. There are fine, intricate details which you cannot see, and which maybe even they aren’t consciously aware of. Let go of their relationship. Don’t try to understand it. You aren’t a part of it, so you probably won’t. Remember, with respect to that relationship, you are an outsider.

But if it’s a friend, then at what point must you, as a friend, draw the line? At what point do you cross it? Is it when you keep telling them the person they’re in a relationship with isn’t worth it? Or is it when you have a million opinions on how your friend should spend time with the person? There’s no denying that sometimes that reality check is needed. Sometimes the people involved are in so deep that they cannot see their dysfunctional relationship for what it is. But sometimes, if you’re a true friend, you’ll see that they are happy with what they share. It’s so easy to judge them by what it looks like to you who’s on the sidelines. But you don’t know their story. A friend summarised it in six easy words last night: You won’t understand, you weren’t there.

No More Masquerade

This Saturday I thought I’d do dinner with a friend. A male friend. The problem with some male friends is that they don’t seem to understand the meaning of the word “friend” and they don’t seem to want to respect that relationship. Unfortunately for me, I learned that a little late. You see, when a girl knows that a guy has feelings for her and cannot shake them, she should keep her distance from him. Otherwise tricky situations can erupt.

I discovered that there are guys who on the surface say that they want to be friends even if you aren’t romantically interested in them but don’t understand what being a friend means. I wish I’d firmly enlightened them: It means that you do not try to kiss the girl who just wants to be friends with you. It means that when you ask for a hug goodbye and she obliges, you do not hold on to her, pressing her into you. At such moments, again, you do not try to kiss said girl. You do not try to hold hands with her. You do not try to behave in such a way, in public, that makes people think you’re her boyfriend. If someone implies that she’s your girlfriend, you correct them. You do not move in for a kiss every time you’re together. And last but not the least, you, of all people, you do not criticise the guy she’s seeing or her relationship with him. You, Pseudo-Friend, do not have the right to do that.

Here’s what else you don’t have the right to do: Get drunk at her place on an entire bottle of rum and make a move on her. Talk about her behind her back like a little coward. Refuse to accept the fact that she doesn’t find you attractive and isn’t attracted to you. Pursuant to this, continue to disrespect her wishes to remain a mere friend, then take advantage of the fact that she spares your feelings and doesn’t swiftly end your friendship. Try to stop her from seeing a guy she actually likes. Try to get in the way of her relationship. Tell her she should spend on dinner with you, but not on meeting that other guy. Refuse to acknowledge the enormity of your mistake and the repercussions that follow. Justify your irrational behaviour to common friends, leaving out the parts where you messed up.

I’m sorry, but how are you supposed to feel attracted to a guy who only praises your superficial qualities, making it abundantly clear that that’s the reason he wants to be with you? How do you like a guy who isn’t the least bit interested in your interests, your passions and your life? Or, a guy who tells you he’s taking you out for dinner and only when the bill shows up does he tell you that you’re paying for yourself? No, more importantly, how does a guy expect you to feel attracted to him or to like him given these points, especially when there’s no physical attraction either, and then refuse to understand it?

This Saturday I learned that I was fooling myself, giving Pseudo-Friend the benefit of the doubt, thinking he’ll finally learn, he’ll finally accept it and be just a friend. I should have learned this lesson a while ago, but I ignored the track record he’d created. I ignored the fact that he did not respect the friendship and did not want to preserve it. I didn’t realise that some people don’t learn from nice firmness. Some people require harsher treatment. Don’t let them get you to a point where you’re seething with rage. They aren’t even worth that anger. Calm down, take a breather. It was time to part ways long ago. Better late than never.

Manoeuvre

A pot of ink, with it a quill
Maybe, I think, that is what will
Satisfy my dear little heart
And help create a piece of art
For I just cannot seem to find,
To say that which is on my mind,
Any words, none at all, to write
Though I do try with all my might
Then I take a moment, stop, think:
Possibly it isn’t the ink,
Maybe I am trying too hard,
I may need to let down my guard,
Maybe it’s then the words will flow;
It’s a thought, I don’t really know
It’s prose I truly wish to craft
(Each wish is now a mere draft)
Is this writer’s-prosaic-block,
No sand, no grav’l, but walls of rock?
Maybe I should just get away
Enjoy a sunny autumn day
Then, maybe, upon my return
Out the imprisoned thoughts will churn..

 

~ Karishma

Pitter-Patter, Pitter-Patter

It seems as though the rain has extinguished the sun’s fire, but the day must still be made the most of, and it’s good for:

  • Sipping on warm coffee or hot tea, whichever’s your chosen source of caffeine, whilst gazing at the downpour or the misty drizzle, as the case may be.
  • Organising bookshelves, lending some method to the currently haphazard madness.
  • Reading said books. Perhaps while sipping on the aforementioned coffee or tea (or maybe enjoying some wine) and looking up every once in a while to watch the rain pattering down, if only to make sure it still is.
  • Writing silly two- or three- or four-liners, like so:

Spurred on by a furious sheet of water
Suspended from the merciful heavens,
As if saying, “Remain, plan, don’t wander!”
To coax, thunder storms, roars, deafens.

  • Putting a pen to paper and just letting the words flow;
  • Letting prose turn into poetry, and poetry, into lyrical prose.
  • Unpacking outfits suitable to autumn weather. This, obviously, varies depending on the time of year and approaching season, if any.
  • Cleaning, polishing every shoe. That will take the better part of the damp day.
  • Fluffing pillows and cushions. (Just kidding.)
  • Baking some chocolatey goodness.
  • Sprucing up the insides of one’s living quarters, then
  • Curling up on a comfy couch (It’ll be much more satisfying when done in that order.) and
  • –ooh! Hot chocolate!–
  • Listening to jazz while doing any and all of the above.
  • Slipping on a pair of gorgeous, brightly-coloured rain boots, grabbing a large, dome-shaped, transparent umbrella and stepping out, if feeling particularly adventurous.
  • Planning the next trip, whether a simple weekend getaway or a long, elaborate birthday gift to oneself.
  • Making lists, such as this one. I might try working on “100 Things to do Before I Die” on the next rainy day or “25 Things That Drive Me Up the Wall.”

L’Astre du Jour Fait Boum!

Leaves, against dull skies of grey
Gleam tangerine, russet and gold,
Say, “Dreams must be set underway–”
Lo–poof! voila!et behold!

A warm, cozy cup of un café au lait
Maybe on a pretty little terrace:
Five dreary, wintry months to wait
For, perhaps, one month in Paris..

 

– Karishma