Sometimes you just want to write something worthwhile. Not necessarily for anyone else, but just for yourself. You feel this inner desire to just throw your thoughts out onto a page or a screen in such a way that leaves you exhausted and somewhat empty-- but in a completely fullfilled way. Everything within the past three days, week, five years has led up to this moment, it seems, and now it is time to pay your dues by spilling out what you've learned, seen, felt. To some obscure degree, this feels like one of those moments.
So what should I type about? It could be something unimportant like the word origin for today-- which happens to be "tide"-- or something that delves more deeply into myself or others. Okay, so I'll pick the second and discuss a topic that is a little awkward and unsettling for some. Playing others. Now, this does not always have to be a bad thing, or necessarily imply usage for one's own personal means. No, this can just be a manner of reading a person in terms of their behavior and whatnot in order to figure out how best to deal with him or her. It's that second one that holds more of my interest-- not all of it, mind you, but not because I wanna perfect toying with others. Toying with those around you, to me, is a sure sign of disrespect and vindictive shallowness in approximately 90% of the time it occurs. But simple behavior adjustment based on people skills is not necessarily evil. In fact, most of the time it is necessary in my eyes. Passively, such reading and consequential adjusting is a way of keeping the peace. For example: Two people, sitting in a room, discussing their individual tastes in movies, games, etc. The tone of the conversation turns heated as one person says something quite adamently that ends up insulting the other. Or, in some other situation, a joke is made at a time when it's inappropriate or unappreciated, thus causing tension to rise. These are both so easily avioded.
I read others. Their eyes, their expressions, their reactions, their gestures, their mannerisms, vocabulary, personal space, etc etc-- the list can go on and on. Five people can be in a socializing group, laughing about some random, obscure matter, and my eyes are automatically drawn to the one person not laughing, or whose eyes are not crinkled up in amusement. Whose smile is nonexistant or seemingly painted on. You know, you hear about people described as having smiles that fail to reach their eyes. That concept is actually always around-- one just has to know how to recognize it. Humorless eyes whose eyebrows seem to shadow some other emotion... in fact, the very slight way that the eyebrows are creeping towards each other may reveal a hidden discomfort, whether it be an unrelenting depressive thought, personal frustration, or mild irritation. Hang around a person long enough and you can pick up on the sound of sheer enjoyment or joy in their voice right away as well as being able to see that tell-tale "sparkle" in their eyes. It's gotten to be with me where the sound of true, heart-felt laughter is utterly refreshing while the sound of slightly forced laugh is like nails on a chalkboard. And not just a condescending laugh-- those are painfully obvious to anyone-- but even those used to fill an uncomfortable silence, those to be friendly, or those to make a person honestly feel better after they've told a bad joke. "No, it's funny. Really!" Yeah.
Then you get quick on your feet so that you're able to pick up on the little nuiances when their moods shift suddenly. Like when you're having a good time, and out of nowhere a separate, horrible thought crosses your mind, but you keep smiling and acting happy to keep from having to talk about it. Sometimes, if you look hard enough, you can see that thought flash by and linger. Not to say it's always obvious-- everyone is different. Nothing I've said thus far is under the premonition that everybody carries themselves the same way and is as readable from one to the next. Not at all. Some people are able to not miss a beat, and you'll never know that they had a rough moment for a minute there. Some people completely stumble and it's impossible to ignore, no matter *how* they try to play it off. All I'm saying is that even that person skillful in hiding their feelings can be read to a degree, if you really focus.
Okay, I'm babbling on and on. What's the point? Well, the point is that you're not powerless. There's something called "manipulation" that has such a negative connotation to it when it isn't always a bad thing. You manipulate others and the way they are thinking in order to turn a self-destructive mindset into a genuine laugh. You manipulate others to help them realize things that are beneficial to themselves, and whatnot. It's all a matter of doing it for outside purposes and not all for your own needs, because when it's done for your own needs... well,... that's when it becomes "toying." Yeah, not cool. But if it's to be able to understand people in general and to achieve some sort of goal (helping others, bettering yourself and how you deal with others, etc.), I don't see how it can be that wrong.
I'm no one special when it comes to this. I'm not infallible (i'm wrong a decent portion of the time-- something that others may just label as "paranoia", which is a very common downfall, I believe), and I know for a fact that there are others who attempt reading people the same way I might. Sadly, it's *that* that drives me crazy more than anything else on this subject, because *those* people are the hardest to read. For me personally, there are a couple of characteristics that are necessary to be able to read someone correctly: 1. patience, and 2. empathy. Empathy especially requires some ability to reflect into yourself what the other person is feeling and/or to be able to project how you feel into them. If you have no ability to recognize where they are coming from, then it's virtually impossible to grasp what they are experiencing. So, in being around someone else who is reading others or manipulating them in some way, I find it difficult to see into *them* for they are not completely being themselves. He or she *is* (at least for that moment in time) the other person whom he or she is reading-- behaving in a similar way to the other person to reach a level playing ground, speaking in a way that the other person can relate to, etc. Or, put quite simply, trying to read someone else who is reading others is like watching a sponge absorb water (or trying to, at least). They're just... there, existing. And so there *I* am, wondering if I'm completely missing something.
I've been around friends and aquaintances as they attempt figuring me out, and I find more often than not that it is much easier for me to just sit back and let them try. Because, in all reality, that *is* me, and delving any more would just land them in a tangled mess of thoughts. Then I can almost see them decide to try again later. But every now and then, certain individuals continue silently probing, appearing quite comfortable and confident in what they've deduced and whatnot...
... that's when Leslie gets on edge and holds tight to her belief that her tangled mess of thoughts is more than enough of a barrier to keep others from fully understanding (and thus getting bored with) her. I like feeling multi-dimensional. That's how I ultimately view everyone-- and because of this, I can never stop learning.