Friday, 31 December 2010

Socialing and Me: Reflections on 2010

Well 2010 has come to an end and it has been a good and eventful year for me. There's certainly been a few difficult moments, and one or two outright bad days, but there's been many good days.
One key aspect of 2010 was attending organised socials, which involved interacting with various types of people I would otherwise be unlikely to come into contact with. Whilst this has been challenging and sometimes quite frustrating, I have certainly learnt a few things through this experience. Meeting some of those people has helped me confirm in my mind where I am most comfortable socially, and helped me know my social identity as to the kind of person I am.

This blog is not about politics and I will not say anything about my political persuasions here, but I am a very political person, and an 'issues' man. I've had quite a few letters printed in local papers since 2004 and this year I started doing some freelance writing on line and my articles are mainly on matters related to politics. They are not full of rhertoric and I work hard to ensure that everything I write is backed up with facts and evidence, quoting parts of documents etc. All serious stuff. I also listen to a number of U.S. based talk radio podcasts, which discuss various issues related to politics and current affairs. The hosts and guests speak in a straight-forward manner, continually backing up their opinions with facts.

With such influences as these, I find that my best conversations are those when I'm on a subject I know about and I may start to resemble an 'expert' of some sort being interviews on talk radio. This is where I am most at home socially. Of course I enjoy lighter conversations too, especially if the other people provide some social stimulation. Now I often find myself naturally comparing two very different people to each other, or two groups of people, for instance I find myself contrasting someone from organised socials to a talk radio host I listen to. I don't wish to be critical of anyone who knows me from organised socials, but of the people I've got to know a bit, I cannot imagine many of them being a very effective guest on a political/issues based talk radio programme (sincere apologise if any of you end up reading this and I'm wrong). Their conversations are not fact-orientated enough, and even when they are, their language by and large will be more like that of a football player, musician, a relationships coach, a housewife, or anything other than a professor or politician. (I don't like carer politicians by the way). I contrast the straight-forward interview with the more frivilous talk and banter that takes place in pubs.

Mixing in with different types of people and in not-so-comfortable situations is good for confirming your own identity and where you are most comfortable socially. One thing I have learnt is that it is good to prepare for social situations that might be uncomfortable and have a strategy set for any particular awkward moments that might arise.

There's an old female teacher from school who I have subsequently had dealings with, who even in a social setting comes across as formal and very business-like, and I think I am rather like her in that way. I am naturally a formal person, I don't exaggerate a story or situation like many young people do (that not a criticism), rather I try to give as accurate a picture as possible.
In short what I'm saying is attending organised socials, combined with listening to political talk radio podcasts, during 2010, has confirmed in my mind where my social identity lies, and whilst I want to be able to adapt to any social situation and there's always much to learn, I have a clearer idea of who I am socially, where my social home is, and I can take pride in my social identity. It reveals the things I am good at.
Another thing I have discovered this year is this. When you find yourself unsure as to how genuine someone's friendship towards you is (which has happened a number of times at organised socials when I witnessed certain people cooling towards me for no apparent reason), you begin to realise and it confirms in your mind who your real friends are. In my case it is with people outside the organised social scene.

With all that said I may well attend more organised socials at some stage in 2011, and still like to remain in touch with a number of people I met there this year. It all depends on circumstances.

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