- Are you an introvert or an extrovert? Yes/No
- Do you get accustomed quickly in the company of complete strangers? Yes/No
- Once friends, do you keep up the friendship? Yes/No
I remember answering these questions in every personality or behavioral training undergone till today. Only wished, the answer hadn't been so straight-forward - "Yes" or "No". Why not - "Maybe" or "Sometimes" or "I don't know". It's not like you can never change those traits. Anyways, at the end of all those exercises, I realized I was an introvert.
Personally, I always knew I am an introvert. I take time to open up. A really long time. Because I believe in taking my time. Sometimes, I get judgmental of the people in the process. I realize that's not right, but it's true. Remember the saying - "Don't judge the book by its cover". There are past instances where I implemented this principle in the opposite sense.
The first impression of friends has been correct at times and wrong at others. But it always led to the same personality trait of mine - introversion. Few of my friends who know me well would have the same opinion based on how I befriended them for the first time.
We take seconds to mingle with few and for some, even ages look less.
Take the case of my closest college friend - the poetess. She sings well and expresses her feelings in perfect words. During the first year of college, I made a late entry into the course and ended up with no familiar faces around me. Reason - ? Well, let's just say I was forced to join this University-affliated recognized state-level course compared to a personal choice of a distance-education correspondence. I will save the details for another post ! :-)
So, here I was all alone in the class, looking for some company. The "poetess" seated right in front of me had her own group of "sahelis". Neither did she acknowledge my presence nor did I interact with her. So instantly came my first judgement - she is a snob ! After many days (which means after ages of lone-some crying, hatred for the college and people around), I fostered the courage to speak to her and introduce myself. Even that one act was not enough.
Finally, after a couple of days since I spoke to her, she came up to me and then began a long friendship.
What makes us judge a person so fast? Their body language, their attitude, the way you expect them to speak, the way they actually don't speak? Why do we take so much precaution in opening up to a person. Would you call them strangers even when they are part of your college class or job-training batch?
Today, when I look back, I laugh at how a funny instance led to the beginning of a wonderful friendship between me and another close friend at work - AB :)
My college class-mate helped to form his first impression. Our college was a combined institution made up of 2 halves - 'X' and 'Y', located next to each other. The institution belonged to a wise septuagenarian who named them after his two sons.
Even though people hailed from the same institution, they took pride in stating the name of their half. :)
So, on the first day of our corporate training, my friend says -
Class-mate : "Have you met AB in this batch? He is from our college but from 'X'."
Me : "Is it? That's weird... How come we never saw him after studying in 'Y' for three years?"
Class-mate : "Beats me....... Why do you think people say - 'X' is better than 'Y'?"
Me : "What? Who said so?"
Class-mate : "AB said so. When I spoke to him the first time, he mocked at me when I told him we are from 'Y'."
Thanks to that conversation, when I got a chance to speak to AB myself, I started by ridiculing his side of the college. How kiddish, I know ! But seven years later, AB has been very supportive as a friend and we can pass hours by teasing and pulling each other's legs.
Times have changed since then. Working in a profession where you get to meet and work with new people every couple of months, it has become a refreshing change to make friends by the day. The number of good friends keeps increasing in my email list and my Facebook list :p
Let me share a more recent experience. My organization has a yearly stage event for its customer and employees here. And the last couple of months were the busiest for me and 'M'. I personally didn't want to offer taking a lot of responsibilities. So my bright idea, to avoid being pulled into the organization committee, was to perform a invocatory classical item and buzz off. :)
But like how "Man proposes and God disposes", I ended up being the dance coordinator for the event. Great going, GR ! But that was not the worst. My creative mind came up with numerous themes for the evening. Realistic but a bit far-fetched, I guess. Like a bowling game, all of those themes kept knocking off the plate due to lack of employee willingness, no response and dearth of participants. The final attempt - presenting 'A Bollywood Musical' and roping in 'M' as a replacement :-D.
From 8 people, the number kept dwindling between 6 and 8. I lost my cool one day, and decided - 3 couples it is. Merely 10 days short of the event, the practice sessions started. I knew, letting the situation take its stride was not going to work, considering my self-respect was at stake. So there, my introvert side shed and gave way to a new side :)
The new 4 people with whom we met as strangers, danced as partners and interacted like long-lost friends and that turned out to be really amazing. Common backgrounds, interests, likes, dislikes all put together made for one good group. The performance was enjoyed and much appreciated. But more than that, a silent routine life suddenly took a sharp turn and transformed to a busy, hectic journey. Now, the 6 of us, plan group outings, games, shopping, lunch/dinner, parties, New Year's Eve plans and what not !
Looking back at the 10 days of the practice sessions now, I realize I have always been reserved and quiet. But when you come across amazing people, they can force you out of your virtual shell. I wouldn't call them my best friends but instead my "Fast Friends" :)
This post is dedicated to all my wonderful friends.... :-)