Yes People and No People

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I will be the first person to admit that I am a contrarian. It is not something I’m happy about, but contrary to what the social theorists would like you to believe, it is not something that I can easily change. People tell me sometimes that this limiting belief itself can be changed. If I just believe that I can change the way that I am then I will change. They then go on with their lives doing whatever ridiculous thing that they do when if they applied their own thinking to themselves they could change it. Nothing quite gets under my skin like hypocrisy.

My father tells me that I’m not a poor test taker, but that I simply believe that and it is so. This despite over twenty-five years of evidence. I got C’s on history exams. No, really I did. Even in college. The same went for English. The most aggravating semester of my undergraduate career was when I had an English class that I knew I would be lucky if I got a D on the tests. That’s not mindset. It’s not. And even if it was: how on Earth would you change it? You can’t just change something that’s haunted you your whole life. I’ve had people tell me I should be less depressed which is kind of like saying to a normal person: hey, just be taller.

I’ve come to the conclusion that there are people who want to say yes and people who want to say no. if I approached you on the street, placed my hands out in front of me and asked everyone to pick a hand, any hand there are people who would do it and people who would not. On campus, there are a group of people who organize “free hug day” where they attempt to accost students and teachers alike on their way to class. Why I cannot go undisturbed from one building to the next without having someone I don’t know and probably don’t like place his arms around me for no reason is troubling.

They operate with impunity during all hours of the day. I had a night class one semester and they were waiting for me at nine o’clock to try and nab me before I could reach the safety of my car. One could say that these are yes people and the people who go freely into their arms are also yes people while those who fight them are no people. This is not a fair analysis for a majority of people however. Such an analysis fails to take into account the fact that most of us are in a hurry, many don’t like being touched by strangers (in fact, most normal people find this shit just downright creepy.)

There are situations however where this group of serial accosters could serve some useful function in a sociological experiment regarding people’s general demeanor. Moreover, it could give us insight into those of us who are contrarians. Why don’t we want a hug? That’s the question these people shout at me as I hurry away from them. I always think that they’re lucky I’m not a woman otherwise they’d probably get maced. I’m waiting for that enterprising young woman to walk to class only to run into these folks on a day where nothing is going her way. These folks might wind up unable to see straight for a few days and perhaps such an event would precipitate an active reconsideration as to whether complete strangers want to be grabbed on the street by overly zealous college students. I’m not suggesting that someone do this, rather I’m simply sitting back and waiting for it to happen (and it will happen eventually.)

I think that you can generally know who will say yes to you and who will say no to you within a few seconds of meeting them. The better way to handle this hugging bonanza would thus be to simply smile at passers-by. Those who smile back could be approached and asked if they’d like a hug. If someone ignores you or runs away they are generally doing so for a reason. The serial huggers would argue that this infringes on some aspect of their freedom of course, so we cannot go gently into that good night so long as they are around ruining our days are haunting our nights. I do wonder if more socially adept people did apply this principle that there are yes people and there are no people if they wouldn’t see significant results. I’ve been handling the marketing portion of my new film: This is Flyball and one of the things that I’ve had to do is reach out to people and ask for money. It’s not something I’d ever want to do again at least not with me running point on the operation. I realized about a month in that I missed a key aspect of establishing comfort with our target market: establishing rapport.

Rather than building relationships with our target demographics I simply approached them, told them what we were doing, and asked if they would help. This was not a wise strategy. We didn’t get the kind of exposure I was looking for nor did we get the engagement that I had hoped for. I then realized that I had failed to establish any sort of rapport with the people I was dealing with. Never did I ask them about themselves or about what they did or attempt to get to know them in any way. I simply asked for their support. Had I worked with them for a few months ahead of time before asking for support this would have worked out much better. We could have got to know what and why we were doing what we were both doing and probably have found a way to embark on a mutually beneficial relationship, but due to my own failure to understand even the most basic things about social dynamics that train left the station.

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