Friday, June 20, 2008

Re: Craig's comment about treating social situations like exams (Personal Entry)

This note is only viewable to the GaiDai students and anyone else on the Japan network.

The night of the (initial) writing of this entry

(I have now started writing this because 2 Melatonin pills later, I am still wide awake. If I'm gaining a tolerance to what's supposed to be a NATURAL sleep hormone, I may need no more than 5 hours of sleep a day. That would be nice, considering that I'd get more stuff done.

But then again, I believe I'm still sleeping the same amount as before regardless, but not at the right times. Therefore, it is probable that more than one hormone works to make me fall asleep. If I find any other bottle of sleeping pills of those other hormones, I shall see if taking those will ALSO build an immunity to them. If they don't, they'll help me fall asleep when I need to. If they do, then I'll eventually need less and less sleep as a result.)

Why I interact socially like I'm in a social exam

Craig told me face-to-face that I appear to approach any social situation like I'm approaching a "big (pl)ucking exam."

Now I must tell you why.

Friendships are way too fragile. Many are, anyway.

Friendships and potential friendships with anybody are way the pluck too fragile! Friendships are made, but also broken just as easily (and often even more easily than they're made.) Friendships getting broken hurt me A WHOLE MOTHERPLUCKING BUNCH. I never forget betrayals, no matter how much alcohol I drink. (They destroy brain cells still, but not the ones you WANT to destroy. Another way of saying that you want to destroy the brain cells that hold these bad memories is "to (attempt to) drown your grief." I won't even consider that option because some people have been at it for over 20 years and still feel as much pain as on the 1st day of it as soon as they're sober again.)

Once bitten, twice shy way too many buddhaforsaken times!

Even one betrayal is too much. I've been betrayed too much- reasons vary and I still don't know why for some betrayals, but perhaps because I wasn't careful enough in my social interactions with these people. I don't want these mistakes to happen again, so that's why I become more careful after each time I get betrayed, so that's why I now appear to approach nearly every interaction like an exam.

Make-or-break too often

Too many social situations are make-or-break. If I even give off as much as one wrong body gesture inadvertently (e.g. awkward lean) or screw up the delivery once (e.g. the cadence sounds awkward and weirds someone out), then even though most people won't start despising me right away (or at all), the few who will may often not feel like despising at first, but these wrong moves stick out in their head the most and cause them to fester into not liking me anymore.

In too many cases (IMHO), no amount of new friends can replace the hurt of one lost one

It's been proven in myself time and again that some betrayals are so harrowing, no amount of new friends can ease the pain of losing one. There was an example of one girl a year below me - Jeanessa Lindura (name changed.) I thought she had a more pleasant disposition. She apparently forgot it upon high school graduation. Going into her situation will require a whole 'nother blog entry, so I won't here. Her betrayal happened at ~255 friends (back in March/April of '07.) I still very much feel that pain over 130 friends later.

That was the greatest I've ever felt (either ever, or in quite a long time). There are smaller pains of other past betrayals but I've let slid several of them, though some still hurt me to this day. For the biggest betrayal, I plan to go to a grief counselor about it soon after I return to Kansas. Even though grief counselors are normally for the loved ones of those who passed on, I hope any of whom that are available in my area will also take grieving cases not involving death.

Just about everyone I talk to at the GaiDai and elsewhere are all potential betrayal cases, so I feel a confuciuscondemned compelling to be careful interacting with most anyone I meet, lest I suffer a repeat of the same cruel situation!

Didn't I say people were like a walking social minefield?

This was on another note entry. Or maybe I meant that interacting with people is like navigating a minefield. If something is obvious (like using a universally off-putting pick-up line), that's like seeing a big mine-mound in plain sight. You know a mine is buried under there.

But there are other things that I still don't know is wrong until it's too late. Other people may make innocent mistakes like that too but they usually see these mines better than I can, thus make fewer mistakes than I. They have the equivalent of the latest, 3-month old Ground-Penetrating Radar goggles. Mine are probably 5 years old, so it won't detect the more "subtle" mines. Still, the "subtle" mines pack a walloping punch, if you know what I mean. That's also why I feel compelled to be careful in my dialogs with others.

...but I'd rather learn from someone else's mistakes thus spare myself the pain.

But if I don't trek forth on such krishnaforsaken minefields, I won't learn how to detect the more subtle mines, so to speak. André Sleevehardy (name changed) once told me that I "had to (pl)uck up" in order to learn anything. It's good to learn from my mistakes, but if they're so painful, I'd rather learn from other peoples' mistakes plus the mistakes made by the characters of any fictional literary work. (Societal Example: The launch of SkyNet in the "Terminator" films causing AI robots to betray us & attempt to wipe us all out is a fictional mistake our society has since learned from. Now we know to be more careful in developing Artificial Intelligence, lest they betray us!)

That's why I must find opportunities to observe as much as I can - movies, TV shows, stories & videos on the Internet, and of course simply watch other people interact. From there, I can potentially learn from a lot of others' mistakes, and eventually not feel like I'm at an exam anymore.

That brings me to a point about learning from social mistakes on TV

Garrett told me to watch episodes of Evangelion in order to learn vital parts of social interaction from the main character(s) there, but I'll have to wait until I return to the US to rent one with English dubs and/or subtitles. (The ones at the local video store(s) do not have any dubs or subtitles of any kind. The domestic Anime producers are inconsiderate of any Gaijin. At least when we make OUR DVDs for TV shows and films, we offer dubs and/or subtitles in other languages, most commonly Spanish and French.)

However, Craig did tell me that there was a new version of Evangelion out this year. Since it's so brand-new, it might have English dubs or subtitles, so I'll be sure to look into them.


In the adult world, approaching social situations like exams will never work/bode well. That is also why I plan on graduating college only when I feel ready for adulthood. I don't care how long that will take at this juncture, but I'll keep improving.

I'll go to great pains to improve my situation with this by taking relevant classes:

(possibly) SPCH320: Theory in Human Communication
(certainly) SPCH322: Interpersonal Communication
(if this isn't Sign Language) SPCH323: Nonverbal Communication
SPCH325: Argument And Debate
SPCH526: Persuasion
SPCH542: Relational Communication

(and others as seen necessary to my social development.)

In any of the above classes, if I get any less than an "A," I'll retake them until I get an "A" in there. (Yes, I'll still retake the class even if I get a "B" because polishing my social interaction skills is too paramount of a concern and goal to accept any less than the best marks there.)

I believe I've said all that I needed to, so I must be off to bed now.

Addendum: 6-22-2008 - Being Sensitive

I should have also mentioned that I am a more sensitive guy than you're used to. Even though I'm definitely less sensitive than I was when I was 13, I'm still progressing down to being as sensitive as a man out of college.

(If you think sensitivity is a good thing, there is such a thing as "having too much of a good thing." That was the case at age 13, and some might say that's the case now. It is best to have sensitivity in moderation- not too much nor too little.)

Therefore, thanks to my level of sensitivity, that's probably also why I approach social interactions like exams, because when someone hurts my feelings, it often hurts me more than it hurts other people you know.

(To put it in an analogy, anyone with a light skin tone gets sunburnt faster than with a darker tone. Therefore, they feel more pain quicker. In an inner way, I'm like a pale person and social hardships are like the pain from the sunburn.)

This makes me feel more compelled to be more careful than other people when interacting with them. But when my sensitivity recedes is when I'll loosen up even more. (Fortunately, other factors mentioned in this note will help me loosen up a bit before this factor does.)

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