Birds of A Feather

Approx 1 min read

“I hate my friends!”

Well then, you hate yourself. Birds of a feather flock together. That ain’t no smooth rhyming joke; that’s a fact, a truth, a reality. Unlike family you choose your friends. Why then would you choose someone who will antagonise you? Quick answer: you wouldn’t – at least not instinctively.

You don’t like the things your friends do? Here’s a tip, change the way you behave first. You wouldn’t have become friends if there weren’t similarities.

“No, but we’re different.”

Sure you are. We are all fearfully and wonderfully made but even then there are ideas and behaviours that we latch on to. Others who latch on to those become our friends – the people who we look for in a crowd… and unless you’re crazy, you don’t go looking for conflict in a crowd – you go looking for comfort, and one thing that makes comfort comfort is familiarity. 

In short – why are you drawn to be friends with the people you are friends with? Because there is a sense of familiarity between them and yourself. A sense of… belonging. Now use that knowledge as you will.

Stay awesome!

See you tomorrow.

We Are Not In This Together

If you were a teen or younger during the late 2000s you probably know of the famous High School Musical song. It’s full of youthful enthusiasm and pubescent fever but if we’re honest with ourselves the message is errant. We are not in this together. Before you pick up your pitchforks I’ll let you know I’m not afraid of sharp objects… just please make sure the prongs aren’t rusty, tetanus ain’t pretty. Human beings need a social life – that’s a given, however the assumption that numbers = completion is mistaken. Each genuine relationship formed requires some form of investment. The word investment means ‘taking something out of you’. Unless you are a deity, the amount of ‘something’ you possess to give is limited. When that pressure makes you reach breaking point you’ll probably become stressed (coz that is what stress means).

Good news! You don’t get stressed by an investment that you know pays you back! I’m not saying do things for people because you know they will pay you back, but I am saying that you don’t want to prioritise people and place them on a pedestal with responsibilities and expectations they will not fulfil. Doing so opens you up to a world of hurt. My suggestion? Spend time analysing people’s characters assessing their traits and measuring them up to the traits you would want in a close friend. Come to the realisation that once you make a decision, you own it – therefore be ok with the consequences of the negative traits you choose to overlook. Then approach those quality people and let them know where you wanna place them in your hierarchy of life – when you are both in the know of what you expect from each other you become accountable for how you behave and you don’t experience the conflict of expectations and reality misaligned. What about those other people in your life that it wouldn’t be so wise to invest all of your time in? You can keep ’em as acquaintances.

See you tomorrow for ‘Standing Alone’.

What Lovely Weather We Have Today

Conversation go to number 1:

What lovely weather we have today.

Yes – nobody likes that as an opening line but it’s so passive and pc (politically correct) that one with no originality or boldness has to go for it. After all it’s very difficult to be mad at someone who says such a noncommittal statement, right?

Hello there. My name is Ayanda.

In the mind of the person hearing that I feel there may be a resounding:

So…? What does that have to do with me?

Or an even more heartbreaking:

Ok?

A simple name introduction is unique in that everybody has a name catered just to them (unless you’re a John Smith) and hearing it should trigger some form of thought or emotional reaction. Telling someone your name also puts you out there as you’ve already exposed a huge part of who you are and offered it up for a possible rejection. During the exchange, even though it’s fairly simple, all this should be going on in the back of the pair’s mind. The initiator should know that once you’ve given your name you’ve handed the receiver the keys/control of where this conversation may go. They are absolutely entitled to shut down the conversation at this point and there is very little room for you to manoeuvre thereof unless you have something else to say which is particularly unique and original to your character.

Hello there! (Notice the change? Exclamation mark denoting excitement because I am naturally excited as an individual.)

My name is Ayanda. It means “one who goes telling people his name”. In some dialects it means “one who wants to know your name”.

Clearly that is not what the name means but that sentence is a genuine representation of myself. I would say something just as corny in daily conversation. If you were to spend time with me I would probably try to make you laugh with jokes of a similar structure. It is a trademark of who I am and such a sentence would remain consistent with the character they saw over time if we were to meet again. This is very important because conflict arises when expectation and reality are incompatible. So let’s say I’d read some clever quips to share on a first meeting or I channel a different persona for an interview; the people on the receiving end will feel deceived, cheated and cross when they discover that you aren’t the contents the packaging advertised. Do keep that in mind.

My name is Ayanda. It means “one who goes telling people his name”. In some dialects it means “one who wants to know your name”.

The way you would respond to that would also let me know quite a lot about how any future interactions would go. The person on the receiving end could do one of many things:

  1. State that that can’t possibly be what my name means. (I’d have to explain my humour all the time.)
  2. Do the above with added laughter (One of my favourite brand of people. We would get along for who doesn’t like someone who laughs at their jokes?)
  3. Ignore. (Entitled to do so as well. Probably wouldn’t get along.)
  4. Roll their eyes. (I find that more impressive than ignore. Depending on the vibe from the encounter it’s split between go home or press on.)
  5. Return with a joke of their own or oblige and share their own name. (Probably just ahead of 2 on my list of favourites.)
  6. Explicitly tell you the joke is lame. (Love their honesty. Also feel challenged to prove my humour has merit.)

There are numerous responses but much more options than the statement “what lovely weather we have today” can ever offer.

So the next time you want to talk to someone new, try something different but original to you. I guess that’s the moral of the story.