Recently I sensed a change of polarity with a bunch good people i enjoyed working with. From the usual friendly banter and sometimes sharing of serious personal experiences, I thought i’ve managed to clicked with these bunch of fellas.
From a positive mood, it has unexpectedly turned for an unexplained negative. All of a sudden, the interactions dropped, I was being left out of their conversation, suspecting out of deliberation, and surely out of convenience. It was a shift in group norm, and I was the one that is no longer in the norm. Long after it has happened i realised that i’ve been dropped from the group, I thought i was a member of.
This affected me socially, and my ego was bruised and hurt, as i thought i’ve always been socially skilled and diplomatically astute. Until this happen again that i realised that all my efforts to mends fences, build ties and make friends are all the ‘me’ doing. And at the end of the day the ‘me’ is the one left out in the rain.
It is really baffling to try and comprehend something that cannot be comprehended. One moment things were cordial, the next aloofness is the name of the game. As the caveat already pointed out, there is no reasons given.
Given that it had happened before, I made my social rules are simple, I am a friendly and open person, and given that i have my flaws, I might, at times unwittingly said stupid things and people might not be pleased about it. Then by all means tell me as i wouldn’t have the faintest idea i did that. I will unequivocally apologise, not that it mattered that I am wrong, or right, but someone’s feelings was hurt, by me. I thought that this rule is an admirable social compromise, and I can live with it. Be open, say sorry when a sorry is warranted. This blog is governed by that very rule, it was my first post, which signals how much i believe in it, only to realised that it was only ME who is playing by that rule.
Apparently this is not enough, when i realised that people takes my social interaction as a kind of contract, which i didn’t even know i signed, and neither knew that it has long expired. The expiration would means that i am no longer relevant in their lives. Admittedly, I am not the most happening guy in the gang. I rate myself as exciting as looking condensation on a Coke bottle. I certainly am not the trendiest, most suave chap around, but the least was i treated these people nicely, shared my resources generously, cheer them on when they are down. And when they’ve found the better part of the collaboration, it become so natural to leave me out.
Surely, I chided myself for reacting so shallow about it, but its something i cannot tolerate, being taken for a ride. I told myself “Come on! Stop thinking like a kid! Just because they don’t want to play with you now, doesn’t mean that they aren’t your friends!” Well, being older and having seen this happen more than once, has taught me that this is not a matter of child’s play.
So all the collaborative, diplomatic effort i put in to be a super nice guy, all came to naught. I am after all reverted to the status of a stranger, just another face on the street. The ‘Loser’ part of me cannot let go of those good times and effort that i made. Making these ‘friends’ is really like playing a game of charade. You’ve got the card ‘SUCKER’ planted to your forehead and you keep guessing that youa re the proverbial ‘John Wayne’, and everyone keeps laughing and laughing and you think that we are all in for a good laugh, when the reality is that they are laughing AT YOU.
So this is not the way to obtain peace. But having to be reject by a group norm again, signals to me that lasting peace and happiness cannot be sustained by pleasing other people, nor does it comes from being too much of a nice guy, being so friendly all the time, accommodating to other’s woes and whims all the same. DUH!
At the same time it is not about my selfish ‘me’. It is a very hard reality check for me, and the knee jerk reactions is to be spiteful and blame these so call ‘friends’ for undoing me as who i think i am, ditching me because i am no longer relevant to them. I want to thank them instead, because their shift away from me, force me out of my comfort zone, gave me back my freedom to make choices without have to chase after a group norm, and be given an impression that i mattered to the group.