Saturday, 7 November 2015

The Games People Play

As I’ve mentioned in another post, it’s weird when things in your life (both good and bad) tend to happen all at once. For example, you’ll go weeks with nothing exciting on your social calendar, and then you’ll get about three invites in one week.

Thinking it was just one of those strange sod’s law life occurrences that Alanis Morissette sings about in "Ironic", I mentioned it to my sister who had noticed something similar.

Obviously much more practical-minded and less spiritually-inclined than I, she deduced that it was because people can sense that you’re busy (usually because they’ve been watching your social media activity closely).

I seriously doubted people were that manipulative, or basically such mindless sheep, to suddenly want to hang out with you more once they saw you were going out and having fun without them. Isn’t that type of game-playing tactic usually reserved for dating? Besides, I doubted people were paying such close attention to my boring life, both online and off.

But then I started noticing remarks from people I was interacting with regularly, mentioning a pic or a status and bringing it up in conversation. Some will even text/WhatsApp me after they see the update.

So basically, they’re looking. They’re noticing. They just don’t acknowledge it online (aka "lurking")

It’s hard not to feel self-conscious after that, but it also makes you question why people (guys AND girls) engage in that type of odd behaviour?

They can’t be worried about looking like a stalker or a loser who’s on social media all the time, if they bring it up in a face-to-face conversation. Is it like a secret habit? Do they find other people's online activity that entertaining? Is that how they decide if you're worth bothering with or not?

I don't even post that often, but when I do I know people are secretly (or not-so-secretly) watching.


Maybe people just aren’t as straight-up and "what you see is what you get" as I am.

Me personally, if I see an update where I think "ooh, cool pic!", or read a status that’s relatable or makes me laugh, I’ll hit the like button and won’t really think too much of it. Similarly, if I see someone post with bad news, I’ll make it a point to make sure that person’s ok.

But I get the feeling that reaching out to people is now classified as "desperate" behaviour or something. Especially reaching out to people online.

I mean, I get it: if it’s an ex, an ex-friend or a crush, you might want to hold-off liking every single update. In a potential romantic situation especially, sometimes less is more and you don’t want to seem overly keen.

Let’s be honest, we all use social media to vet a potential suitor, but they don't need to know your erm stalking "research" went as far back as that trip to Barcelona they took in 2011.

But if these rules seem to apply to friendships as well, is it any wonder why "friends for life" is such a rare concept these days?

It’s almost amusing from my viewpoint because I’m a person who has healthy boundaries when it comes to people. I don’t impose myself on anyone. But if I can sense a person is coming to the (wrong) conclusion that I'm desperate, because they’ve mistaken my friendliness for trying too hard…well let’s just say my subsequent behaviour will soon put their mind at ease and they’ll find themselves putting in most of the effort from that point on. 

Image credit: wokandapix
But I hate how I have to resort to that. Why do you have to come across as hard-to-get or in-demand for people to take you seriously?

It’s not just in romantic or platonic relationships either, it’s in the world of work too. Acting enthusiastic and conscientious on the job used to be a wise move to ensure you were valued and treated well at work…now, all it does is lead to your workplace trying to take advantage of your work ethic: getting you to do more work, but with little reward.

Gone are the days of genuine professional and personal relationships. People are far too caught-up in all this game-playing and trying to out-manoeuvre each other. I also think people (and I include myself in this) are becoming increasingly narcissistic, something I blame on the world becoming increasingly digital.

As a result, people are forgetting how to forge long-lasting relationships with any depth or meaning, especially as people get older and become more guarded.

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