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Thursday, July 21, 2016

Microstory 369: Passing Acquaintances

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Man, I already told you the stories about when people I knew helped me out of jams despite the fact that we were never that close. It would have been more fitting to mention them here. I did not think this through, did I? But I guess that’s how it goes with me. I plan to reveal a big twist in a story several chapters from now, but then it just comes out, like how Makarion has actually been Gilbert Boyce ever since we first met him. Spoiler alert! Back to the topic, passing acquaintances are more important than you would think. Your friends and family are good for support. They help you through the tough times, and the best memories you have will be of time spent with loved ones. But acquaintances serve a different, more subtle, purpose. They help you understand how people work. Every time you meet someone knew, you prejudge them. Don’t worry, you’re not necessarily racist. This is perfectly normal, and completely unavoidable. You guess whether they’re a good person, if they have kids, what kind of job they have, and what their political beliefs might be. You absorb their personality passively, gauging how you should approach them, what kind of things they would be comfortable with you saying to them, and how they’ll react to whatever it is you need for them, along with what they may require of you. Not only that, but these snap judgments, since they’re hopefully soon going to be supplemented with more tangible evidence, will help you become better at reading people in the future. Each introduction teaches you something about the populace as a whole; sociological maxims, and things about our culture that should be more carefully examined. As you get older, and start understanding people better, you’ll develop better empathy. You’ve probably heard talk about people who live sheltered lives. They’ve not met enough people, and so their only basis for empathy is however they would feel in a situation. Unfortunately, this is ineffective. As an introvert, I have trouble putting myself out there, and I’m more comfortable with observing from afar. So come and say hi to me. I need the practice, and the education.


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