More Thanh Words

"My name is Thanh and I'm a Blogger". Now that I have admitted to that, I can say that I'm a stereotypical "geeky" Engineer who enjoys sci-fi books and movies and into all things technological. I also love music and have a passion for FOOD. I'm a social person and like to talk to people. I hate people who are fake or overly aggressive. If you're also into some serious discussion, with a pinch of sarcasm and a dash of real emotion, then please read on.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Pleasantly Surprised By Human Behaviour

I haven’t written a post about another one of my favourite topics for my blog in a while, human behaviour. Some events that occurred during the week have prompted me to write this. This post is quite long but I feel I need to write about the whole background for it to be effectively explained.

I was pleasantly surprised by what occurred with a friend, who I will call Yoda. My friend and I have this running Yoda joke where we refer to each other as Yoda depending on the subject matter. In terms of human behaviour, Yoda (as in my friend) is definitely the master and I’m the pupil. He is a bit older than me and generally has more experience to base his views on. I always listen to what he says about human behaviour and then digest it slowly to see if I agree. Sometimes I do, sometimes I don’t, but the process of thinking helps to clarify my own viewpoints on things. In other subject matters such as electronics, computers and technology, I’m the master and Yoda is the pupil. He is receptive to my advice on those topics and hence we have a two way exchange of information. That is definitely one way in which we are similar. We’re both open to different views and will at least listen to them without dismissing it straight away.

I had always perceived my relationship with Yoda as being more 80-20. From this I mean that I feel that I put in 80% of the effort to maintain the friendship while Yoda puts in 20%. This is what I used to think but started to change my mind a few months back, and especially after this last week, definitely that is not the case. I think it is 50-50 in terms of effort now. Even when I felt I was putting in 80% of the effort, I still felt this friendship was worth pursuing. I say this because I generally don’t have many friends who are older than me and give a different point of view. Through school, you tend to interact with people your own age just because of the way the schooling system works where people are grouped by age. Even at uni, most other students are more or less the same age. I think work is the only place where you can meet a lot of diverse people in terms of age and get to know them well since you see them a lot each day. I’m generally younger than all my work mates and so they all provide a more mature point of view for me. A few of them I know very well and will approach for advice and to tell them my problems. Usually with friends about the same age as me, they tend to approach me for advice, which I always happy to give since I love to have an opinion. But when I need some help, I have to seek others with more experience. I used to have another friend who was a bit older and sort of provided a big brother type role to me. However, that friend has since moved overseas and it’s just so much harder to discuss things over the internet and email. Hence, Yoda is now my surrogate big brother type friend. I don’t mean big brother as in we have to be best friends or fully involved in each others lives. I mean it in the sense that Yoda is someone who I can turn to when I want some advice or a more mature view on things. I can’t speak for Yoda, but I think I also provide a little brother aspect to his life. I provide a lot of enthusiasm towards things, a general enjoyment and carefree attitude to life that reminds him of his younger days and someone who he can also talk about a lot of topics.

In the past, where I felt I was putting more effort into this friendship, at times it made me feel a bit unsure whether I was banging my head into a wall. Was I trying to be friends with someone who didn’t want to be my friend? So a couple of months ago I asked Yoda why he doesn’t give any validation to our friendship. Couldn’t he occasionally say or do something that showed he thought I was a friend. I constantly call him a friend and ask him to go out and do things and generally contact him a lot. In return, he is happy to talk to me when I approach him but generally he’s not the one to approach me. Yoda’s response was that if I couldn’t tell this from his actions then I “didn’t really know him at all”. He said that we all act differently and that he had his way of doing things. I said that for him it may be clear, but for me I require more obvious comments and actions as I’m not good at reading subtle things. We also discussed why I needed this positive affirmation. I think it is a bit of insecurity. The younger you are, such as teenagers, you tend to need to hear how people are your friend or not. I don’t think I have fully grown out of that stage just yet. I’m not confident or comfortable enough with myself to think that I can treat someone like a good friend yet they don’t seem to reciprocate. As Yoda has said and I have read on many other websites “You get different things from different friends”. So even if Yoda doesn’t think I’m a friend, the fact that I gain something from him should be enough but its easier said than done. Humans are an egotistical breed and to feel that the other person is more important to you then you to them, well that doesn’t sit well with most people, myself included. Anyway we ended that discussion with Yoda more or less confirming that he did feel I was a friend but those direct words never came out of his mouth but it was the “You don’t know me if you think that” quote that implied it. He ended the discussion by saying that we all act in different ways, much like a river. If I don’t try to force him and put barriers to try and change the direction of the river, then things will flow even more freely.

So that conversation had taken place a couple of months ago. Since then I have noticed changes in Yoda. He is generally a very private person who doesn’t feel compelled to seek out others and talk to them. I am the total opposite and love to seek out people to talk to. I make several detours when I go to the toilet at work and find people to catch up what is happening. Of late, Yoda has dropped by my desk on his way to getting a coffee. I had said to him that he needs to be more relaxed when he talks to me at my desk because his stressed out actions of looking around all the time also made me conscious of whether everyone else is listening. However, lately his more relaxed attitude has meant we have just talked like friends and there’s a lot more laughter and good conversations. I had commented to him that he was much more relaxed now and should keep it up, to which he had replied that was I trying to tell him what to do again.

So I thought it was back to square one and that I should just leave things again. A very bad trait I have is that I do try to get people to change habits that I think are bad. I have told many smokers in the company to stop smoking and sent them articles and information about how smoking is bad, as if they didn’t already know that. I have been trying to change this part of my personality. Anyway, all had been going along very well for the past couple of months and I just had to tell myself that as long as I was having fun and felt the effort was worth the reward, then that’s all that mattered.

Well imagine my utter shock when I saw a missed call on my mobile from Yoda, at 11:35pm on a Saturday night. I literally did a double take with my head and put on my glasses to see if I had originally misread since I had just got out of the shower. Yoda has rung me before but it was always a computer or work related issue, which I was glad to help with. I don’t mind fixing computers for friends or giving advice on work topics since I’m a very technical person and read all the work policies and resource manuals and know my rights back to front. I was going to call him back when I thought I should double check the missed call. I have had missed calls before where there is no number and the phone displays a previous missed call. Anyway, a second quick check of the phone showed that indeed the call was from Yoda and it was just a few minutes ago. So I rang him back thinking it was some computer emergency. People have rung me late at night with emergency computer problems where they needed to finish an assignment the next day. It turned out that Yoda had called just to see how I was going. I told him that I was utterly shocked that he had rung, but I was glad that he did. In my mind, although he hadn’t said it or will admit to it, I think that he has listened to what I said and is trying harder to make his actions more obvious. This made me happy for a couple of reasons. Firstly, that my views on human behaviour were being heard and that I had something valuable to contribute in this aspect as well. Secondly, that the insecurities that I had were being wiped out.

That call wasn’t to be the end, I was to get an even bigger shock a few days later. Yoda and I are both big football fans. Since Australia was going to play a vital match against Croatia in the World Cup, I had already arranged to meet with friends at a pub to watch the match. However, when Yoda asked if I would like to come to his place for dinner and watch the match, how could I refuse. This had been what I have been trying to get him to do and to say no would have completely crushed his first baby steps and undo all that I had wanted to achieve. So I dropped by his place for a very nice dinner and drinks. We chatted about many things over dinner and down at the pub afterwards. It was good to see Yoda in a different environment away from work and where he was much more comfortable and able to be himself. We had lots of fun and were just two good friends watching football and having a few drinks, something I never thought would happen with Yoda. He is a lot funnier and lighthearted away from work, again something that I think he should instill at work too, but that’s another can of worms which I don’t think I should open. We all cope with situations differently, and due to his personality, his approach at work is to just keep to himself more. When I first met him, I had many a time called him an anti-social hermit. But as I got to know him more, I saw another side to him. I guess I too had judged him too quickly from outside appearances. Luckily I did see a bit more and put the effort into getting to know him better. Now I believe I have a very good friend who I can ask advice from and talk football too. :oÞ Here’s hoping for more pleasant surprises from friends around me.

5 Comments:

Blogger danielsan said...

Ah good friends these days are hard to find. Meaning that in your lives you will have many friends, but you'll only have one best friend! I have many friends that I can go out and socialise with, but I am lucky to have 2 best friends who I can call anytime of the day if I needed someone to talk to.

A good friends is someone who you can trust, share things that you'd normally wont with others, and I truly think that its not about who puts the most effort into a good friendships, its about being there for them when they need you most.

One good friend of mine will always opens his door for even if I hadn't spoken to him for ages, and I know he will always makes time for me if I needed him to be there,

Even tho I dont see my best friends often, but I always send them a text at least once a week just to say hi.

A best friend is like a four leaf clover - its hard to find and lucky to have one. Thats was from a good mate of mine.

Like me, I always tell my friends that my mobile is on 24/7 and if they ever wanted me to talk to or me to give them a hand with anything, I will always be there, and no questions asked.

A friend will come and go, but a good friend will always come back.

6/25/2006 12:05 PM  
Blogger thanh7580 said...

Good friends are hard to find. My friend yesterday was saying the older you get the less friends you have, to which I replied that the friends you still have are genuine friends and that's more important.

To have friends that you can trust and share things with is quite rare. I know I couldn't tell some people things because they will judge you or look down at you for it. You're right Stan about the who puts more effort part. But its still hard for me to get over that, I'm slowly trying to not care as long you I gain something from the friendship.

What's your mobile number Stan, I might want to call you if I have any problems. :-) But consider the international call rates are so expensive, I may email you instead. Hahaha.

6/25/2006 11:00 PM  
Blogger afrobev said...

Friends come in many different forms and in varying shapes and sizes. I too like Daniel San am lucky to share the same circle of friends to a point, where we don't have to live in each others pockets but know where that person is if and when you need them.

We also have a very deep understanding of each others lives and each others personalities so therefore allowances are made accordingly which I think helps after youve known someone for a long time, which many of us have(as the majority of us are approaching thirty and have known each other since our early to mid teens).

A friend can bring a different perspective to your life too and make you consider things that you wouldnt have considered otherwise. Youre right Thanh that they haven't got to be best friends, but a friend is a friend nonetheless.

6/26/2006 3:08 AM  
Blogger danielsan said...

I am always available for advice Thanh!

Seriously tho, James is one of my best friends that I can share alot of things with, and I know I will never be judged or looked down by him.

Like I said, a true friend will always come back - I know this because I have in the past dumped my friends for a girl, and now as I get older, I am starting to realise just how important friends are and am glad that they are all still here for me.

6/26/2006 10:29 AM  
Blogger thanh7580 said...

I hope to continue gaining things from friends around me, including internet friends. Keep up the blogging so I can see different views on things and also how people's minds work.

6/26/2006 6:40 PM  

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