October 31, 2018

Food for Thought

I can’t remember the last time I had a one-on-one conversation with my friend Evan @efotoguy—perhaps over a decade ago. He is fascinating in that he insists on being himself but he doesn’t expect you to be yourself—sort of like how a good father would be towards his kids, understanding that everyone has to find his own way at his own pace. I don’t have his magnanimity.

We think of a highly “social” person as someone who knows a lot of people. He is charming, cultured, witty, and tactful. We imagine him being the center of the attention at a party.

I’ve always felt awkward at a large party. In fact, I feel a distinct difference between 2 and 3. As soon as I have more than one person to address, it’s no longer a person I’m talking to but an audience. The larger the crowd, the more abstract the audience becomes, and I feel pressured to conform to the social ideals. I have to speak more from my superego, that is, in terms of what I should be, what I should say, how I should behave, etc.. I feel I should talk about how great I’m doing and how happy I am, but if I’m doing so great, why would I need a friend?

I think we need another word to differentiate socializing from getting to know a person because the typical ways we “socialize” are not conducive to getting to know a person. In fact, it’s a hostile environment for that purpose. Although we try not to be antisocial, I’m not sure if socializing is necessary at all. If all we ever did was to get to know people individually, what would the harm be? On the other hand, the harm is clear if we only “socialized.” Imagine always having to live up to societal ideals, not being able to talk about what is lacking in your life.

Perhaps we use the word “personalize” to refer to the act of getting to know a person. I’m open to suggestions.

Thank you @kongsihktong for allowing us to have a meaningful conversation.

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