Fahckmylife's Blog
Crap adult, OK human.

How to make friends and influence people


People are mostly predictable. I’ve come to realise that over the last 32 years of watching them. Well that and reading a lot about mental health, psychology and stupid gender based self- help books (seriously just to make myself angry). When I was about five I remember deliberately deciding that I couldn’t be bothered with making friends. People seemed too complicated and mean. So I just watched them, which in hindsight probably was a bit creepy (I didn’t hurt animals or anything like). It wasn’t that I was sad or depressed or eager to make friends. Nothing like that at all. I just didn’t see the point in attempting to interact with other people, or at least keep it to the minimum.  I saw even at a tiny age that there were hierarchies, dominant and no-so dominate characters, rule breakers and cool motherfuckers (even at five) that did whatever they wanted but didn’t seem to try. I saw all of these as an observer – not a casual one either – because I was intrigued. It was like watching fish in a bowl.

So I reckon I’ve made myself seem like a total sociopath now…..

OK, maybe now I have friends but I learned a lot from those few years. I watch, I assess and I weigh up situations, even when I’m not involved in them. It could be a gut feeling about meeting someone for the first time, or watching a couple on the verge of an argument or listening to some old people in conversation about something completely inane. I like looking at micro expressions, body language, tone, nuance, content and form. I like to guess but usually have accumulated a lot of information to back my theories up.   I like it when I notice that somebody’s body language doesn’t match up with what they’re saying. I like it when I know somebody is lying (even if it’s to me which is super smug I guess but still). Sometimes, when I’m really on the ball, I can predict the outcomes of what I’m watching perfectly – which isn’t half as cocky as it sounds if it’s a fact. Which it is.

So what have I noticed? Well, I’ve no massive nuggets of information to divulge but I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again:

People are all inherently selfish.

In more tangible terms I’ve noticed several little things over the years that are tell-tale ways to gauge your position in some scenarios. Unless you’re dealing with a proper sociopath.   Then you have serious problems.

Here are a few of them:

Irritability over insignificant things.

This can signify a number of things. Particularly when it’s another half. I’ve found people generally try to start fights over stupid things when they want a way out or, if there is another serious underlying issue.

There will always be some cool motherfucker.

The cool motherfucker is possibly the most powerful person in any dynamic. They don’t try very hard, none of their ‘fun’ is contrived and they are probably relatively quiet whilst still approachable. They are rarely visibly nasty and are obviously more secure than anyone that tries to dominate a conversation.

What is not being said is more important than what is said.

Words fall out of peoples’ mouths like scuttery poop. And you can cling onto them despite the fact that all evidence points to the contrary of your belief. If you read between the lines the inability of someone to give you a direct answer also speaks volumes. Nuance is also important but that depends on the eloquence of the person. Also certain words and phrases (which for my own benefit I shall not reveal) set off alarm bells in my head, much like rape jokes.

People project onto each other all the time.

People are just what they are. There aren’t as many layers as people would have you believe. You can try to read a situation sometimes and end up so confused. I always find the easiest thing to do is just accept the situation as is. If someone starts being an asshole for no reason it’s because of them pushing something from themselves onto you. It’s not your issue.

Overcompensating is headwrecking.

Please stop.  We’re not 14 anymore like. You don’t need to talk all the time so we won’t forget you’re alive. Everything is not dramatic and emotional. You do not need to be the centre of the universe to enjoy being alive. You do not need constant validation to be a real person. You do not need that one person you’ve been pining after the last four years. No one person is that important, or more to the point, should ever be so important that their absence (or their rejection of you) from your life makes you feel you have no purpose. You need to not give a fuck anymore.

Everyone is repelled by desperation.

An extension of number 5 this is completely true. If someone is constantly seeking validation, forcing themselves into your presence whilst also being overly familiar it can get quite suffocatey. It’s not your job to fix other people and most people won’t – especially if you stink of neediness.   You don’t want to complete someone. That’s gross.

People constantly test your boundaries.

I do this an awful lot. I do this on everyone and I’ve known when people have done it to me. This is where people try to nudge you in their way of thinking about something – some more subtle than others. It could be a sex thing or it could be a dare but whether you do it or not, or even how you react, helps form a person’s perception of you. It also defines the power dynamic of a relationship or friendship. I do not respond well to any attempt to subvert me in this fashion – it’s about control and dominance. You could be fucked if you do the wrong thing at the wrong time. So be careful. And as I said I do this all the time so if you’re reading this I’ve probably done it with you.

You can appear really open whilst actually being very guarded.

It’s all about how people present themselves. You could talk to someone for hours about absolutely nothing, have a great time, think you got to know them… but did you? Did you actually garner any information about them at all? It’s amazingly easy to seem really open and friendly, which in fairness could be the case, whilst not opening up even the tiniest bit. Again, I think I do this (though it’s possibly more of defence mechanism more than anything) but more often than not the people that do this are kind of dangerous and stockpile information. They probably found out all your deep dark secrets when you were drunk.

You will see other people weighing up situations as well and they will think that you don’t know what they are doing.

You can smell your own. Thing is I think people watching can give you this kind of elitist smug feeling. I know other people do this. I can see them. They are smug because they think nobody can see. Nobody can be that controlled that you won’t pick up on it. I don’t feel that smug. I just feel like an observer most of the time and the rest of the time I do it to try and adapt comfortably into a situation or avoid nastiness.

It is easy to manipulate people.

Again, not to seem like a sociopath but you can make people do things.  This can range from emotional blackmail to a few seemingly casual phrases or words inserted into a conversation at an optimum time to looking like your having more fun than you are.   Not that I do… or if I do they aren’t bad things. All it takes is planting a seed. I see it happen all the time. Now that’s real power, eh? AM I DOING IT NOW? AM I?! Huh?!

Sometimes I wonder whether what I do has isolated me from the human experience. I wonder if I am emotionally stunted because I detach myself from things so much and watch and analyse.  I mean I am happier inside my head than out of it, most of the time.  Do I actually really feel the things I feel or am I just affecting what I think ‘normal’ human behaviour should be? Am I Data from Star Trek? Are any of my experiences involving interaction actually genuine? Either way though I am so deeply entrenched in this I can’t really and don’t really want to change. There are way too many good points to people watching and as a result, befriending less assholes, than to change now. However, in the wrong hands with enough malice and intellect people watching can be a powerful and dangerous skill.

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