Wednesday, June 09, 2010

The Vibrational Match of Friends

I recently had an interesting conversation with a lady that went badly. We were having a discussion about friendships as well as people who are in bad environments and unable or unwilling to get out of it. One of her friends is stuck in a hellish existence (small town, everyone around her is unemployed and addicted to drugs, she has no hope for the future) and she's trying to help the friend move out of that environment, find a better job, and a new circle of friends.

This conversation evolved to a discussion about the division of labour in our country and our unofficial "caste" or "class" system. She cited some information she learned in a book by some academia person, who saw everything as economic. This academic writer puts everyone into "neat categories" of either the wealthy class, management class, the working class, or the underemployed class. That's it. Every American falls into one of those categories, with most people in the "working class."

I was trying to explain about how friendships naturally develop and mentioned that my set of friends falls into a different category: "the educated class" or "the creative class." In my view, what you do for a living is not as important as WHO YOU ARE. I have friends in various job categories. The characteristic that most of my friends have in common is: traveled outside the U.S., college degree, able or interested in conversations of some depth, not big watchers of sporting events, don't use drugs at all or even drink very much. I also shared my experience in the Navy, when people thought I was an officer when they saw me first in civilian clothes then were shocked to see me in my uniform that I was "just an enlisted" guy. Its the demeanor that I carry. In fact, the most difficult thing about the Navy for me was that I got along great with officers and not so great with enlisted guys. This made things difficult when I wanted to go on liberty in a foreign port and required a buddy in order to leave the ship. Most enlisted guys wanted to go to the nearest bar or whorehouse. I wanted to go to the cultural sites. Who would I see at the cultural sites? Officers! In my personal experience, education makes a huge difference.

Another example was when the ship put me in Deck berthing during a month long underway period in January 1992. Since I worked in Squadron (with Chief Petty Officers and Officers), I had the priviledge of my own barracks room off the ship. During deployment, I would have to be placed into the ship's berthing. Deck Department is known on every ship as "the ghetto." Deck Department is made up of people who only signed up for two years and those whose ASVAB scores were too low to be assigned a job specialty rating. In fact, when I had enlisted, I intended to only enlist for two years. The recruiter at MEPS who was tasked with placing me into a specific job specialty talked me into a four year enlistment. Perhaps the best advice anyone has ever given me. I would've hated two years in Deck Department!

After being awoken in the middle night with threats of violence by a Deck Ape, I talked to the ship's Command Master Chief. I hated doing so, because in "guy culture", that would be considered "ratting", which runs the risk of hazing...particularly the anonymous kind known as "blanket parties" (where the person is covered by a blanket and guys throw punches at the person beneath the blanket). For my own safety, I was moved to Weapons Berthing, which was just on the other side of the bulkhead from Deck Berthing. Only a lounge area separated the two berthing areas, which I had the unfortunate experience of walking into late at night a few times (it was dark and the only light came from the television, which had a porn film going on. I got the hell out of there really quick). In Weapons Berthing, it was amazing the huge difference. No one messed with me or threatened me. I attribute this difference to education.

Once I explained that experience, I made the mistake of using my brother's friends and my friends as an example of the different standards. This did not sit well with the lady, who accused me of being a snob and worse for not "sharing" my friends with my brother. She wondered aloud why I "jealously guarded" my friends from my brother. So, I tried to explain it further until she finally had enough and loudly insisted that the conversation was over. Whoa!

When people close up a discussion, its an automatic red flag with me. I'm the type who can discuss most anything with anyone. I generally will not end a conversation, even if its a heated disagreement, because in my mind, that's a form of close-mindedness and censorship. I will not censor someone's opinions, thoughts, experiences. I can learn from anything and generally enjoy hearing how someone else views the world or how they experience relationships. To end the conversation because she did not agree with my views on friendship was unduly harsh. I told her that she did not even know my brother, so she does not understand. I would be willing to give my brother her phone number, though. She will regret it if I do!

My brother has a tendency to talk people's ears off. He has no social skills to sense when someone might be bored with his conversations. What does my brother talk about most of the time? Its generally about his big plans for life. How he wants to arrange his apartment. Where he wants to travel. What he wants to buy next. His artwork (that he never manages to do). Since I've known my brother all my life, I am not saying this to be cruel or anything, but my brother is ALL TALK with little action. I keep telling him to spend more time doing things rather than tell everyone his plans. I've seen him in action. He will call someone from church and go through his spiel (as I mentioned above), then when that conversation is over, he will call someone else and tell that person everything he told the previous person he called. I have no idea why he feels a need to tell people his big plans. He never follows through on the plans! Ever. One example of this is how he told people at church in Atlanta from 1990 to 1999 that he was going to move to Denver. Did he ever move to Denver? After overhearing me rave to my parents about Portland, he decided since 1999 that Portland was where he wanted to move, which he finally did in 2002.

Because I know my brother, why would I subject my friends to that?!? Its not that I keep my friends from being friends with my brother. As I tried to tell the lady before she rudely ended the converesation (with a loud, insistent voice), my brother and I are too different intellectually that our friendships don't cross over. I know that my brother would love to have my friends. He has given his phone number and address to my best friend Nathan and his brothers, and he kept trying to get Christine's phone number so he could call her and subject her to lengthy conversations about his big plans. I wasn't going to punish Christine with that idea. She was nice and kind to my brother, but my brother needs boundaries.

As much as it ticks me off for people who don't know my brother to make me out to be the bad guy, I am willing to discuss anything and explain why I have certain rules and procedures. It goes back to the point I tried to make earlier. My brother and my educational ability or interests are so far apart that our friendships don't overlap. I would not want my brother's friends because they are users and scam artists. They are after his money and they aren't the kind of company I generally keep. They aren't interested in the things I'm interested in. In a word, my brother's friends are generally "low class" people. The kind you expect to see throwing chairs on Jerry Springer someday.

Does that make me a "snob"? I can see how some might think that of me. For me, there's nothing wrong with having a conversation with people. Friendships, though, is another matter entirely. I'm not required to be friends with everyone or just anyone. I don't need a lot of friends. I know how to occupy my time. I'm naturally a monk in my preference for solitude. I prefer to have interesting people in my life whom I trust. The most important thing to me regarding friendships are fascinating life experiences, the ability to have meaningful and intelligent conversations, and the ability to make me laugh. The people I don't want in my life are those who are always scheming to make a quick buck off of you by whatever scam they come up with. I guess the biggest difference between my brother and I regarding friendships is the neediness quality. One of the best compliments my parents ever said to me was that they loved that I never required much attention from them growing up. They liked that I knew how to occupy my time with books, ideas, writing, etc. My brother is extroverted punished with a disabled body and mind. Had he been born normal, there's no doubt that he would be far popular than me. He needs people in his life. Its sad that his "friends" take advantage of him all the time. But, I read somewhere that in a relationship, the neediest person is in the worst position. So long as you depend on another person to keep you from being bored or lonely, you're at the mercy of the other person.

About this censorous lady. After spending time with her on various occasions, I've realized that our personalities aren't very compatable at all. I can only take her in small doses. She fits the pattern of the ladies at work that I don't get along with much. I won't go there with the details, though. I noticed a few times that she doesn't appear to have much of a sense of humour, because she's so obsessed with political correctness. Its another case of a liberal who is blind to her own narrow-mindedness.

When I tried to explain the idea behind "the Law of Attraction" (like cleaves unto like), she wouldn't hear of it. All I can attest to is my own personal experience. Since I've been in Portland, I'm fascinated by the friends I've made as well as learning the root of dislike with the ladies I work with. Patterns have definitely emerged down to a science, that it ought to be a "law" rather than a theory. It shouldn't come as news for most people that people are generally friends with people who share similar interests or experiences. If we think of attraction in terms of radio frequencies, its understandable that people are going to attract into their lives others who share the same core values, interests, experience, or intelligence. Once you realize this, you don't have to waste your time on people who aren't going to give you the time of day. The best recent example for me was that gorgeous young lady I tried to have a conversation with. After a couple minutes of an ordeal for her, she turned her head to signal that she was through with me. She and I were at different vibrational frequencies. Nothing to get angry about. That simple gesture let me know that it would be a waste of my time trying to get to know her. A few days later, I met interesting ladies who shared similar life experiences as me and weren't afraid of having a conversation. That's how life flows. What is so offensive about believing that? It makes life easier, so I can move on without dwelling on the rude rejection.

Speaking of "vibrational match" or attracting things into your experience, I had an interesting one on Monday. For dinner, I ate at the nearby Taco Del Mar. The lady who works on Monday is not my favourite. For some reason, she asked me at least twice on every part of my order. It was annoying. She asked me what kind of tortilla I wanted. I told her spinach. A few seconds later, she asked me again! Then she asked me which meal I wanted. I told her the combo (which includes a drink!). She asked what kind of beans. I told her refried. A few seconds later, she asked me what kind of beans I wanted. Then she asked what kind of salsa I wanted on top of the quesadilla. I told her mild. When I paid for the meal, she charged me for the one that did not come with a drink, which is more. So I argued for a bit that I told her that I wanted the combo meal. After I paid and ate my meal, the salsa was most definitely NOT mild. It was hot. This lady did not listen to a damn thing I said.

I sat at the table debating whether or not I should give her a piece of my mind. I thought about approaching her and asking her if she had a hearing problem because she didn't listen to me and had to ask everything twice. Obviously, her mind was elsewhere and not on what I wanted. I also thought to myself, what would complaining accomplish now? It might be negative karma to lash out at her and berate her. I also had the thought that I'd hate to work there. She's probably in her 50s and its a crap job (all fast food places are crap jobs). I thought of the advice I've read: "when given the choice of being right or being kind, choose kindness." So, I let it go.

In walks a man with a huge duffel bag asking if he could use the restroom. The lady pointed to the sign on the restroom door that said "customers only." Her refusal set him off and he immediately starts yelling at her, swearing with curse words. He was ANGRY and just let her have it. She said in a calm voice, "Please, sir, we have customers trying to eat" and she pointed to me. He eventually left, ranting all the way out with choice insulting words. After he left, she actually apologized to me for his outburst. Man, I almost started laughing. She had no idea that I was just as pissed off as him about her lack of listening to my order. I chose kindness over letting her have it. The thought immediately came to my mind..."Did I attract this angry guy into the restaurant to verbally abuse her on my behalf?" Man, that would not be cool. As I learned in the "Law of Attraction" series...we must be mindful of our thoughts because thoughts become things. That's how manifestation works. Well, if this was my spiritual subconscious...let me only manifest the best. However, because of this lady's lack of being present, I will not eat at that Taco Del Mar (on SW 4th street in downtown Portland, near PSU...for all my local readers who are curious) when she's working there anymore. Monday was the worst she's ever been, but previous times she has argued with me about my order. Sorry, lady, but this customer is ALWAYS RIGHT (at least when it comes to knowing exactly what I want). Just give me what I want or I'll manifest something darker to come into the restaurant next time! (Ha! Just kidding on that). Good service is so hard to find.


Anonymous said...

Interesting post. I am very aware that my sisters and my brother would not be part of my social circle if we were not related. We all operate in different spheres, protocols, physical locations and economic environments.

I learned about astrology (in self-defense) because one of my sisters was so into it there was no way to converse with her without knowledge of planetary aspects. My other sister teaches Shakespeare and poetry, neither are my interests. Our oldest brother is in medicine, the rest of us are not. Our middle brother has spoken to no one for almost 25 years. He's a devout, fundamentalist Christian. :)

What unites the four of us beyond the blood ties is our love of education and creativity. We don't have many opportunities to get together, and are busy with our own lives and such. But whenever we do connect, we have great conversations that span our whole lives from childhood on. This is because the four of us have the desire to learn daily, and believe we are the creators of our lives.

What happened with our one brother is he made the choice to stop learning. He had his set parameters of how to live his life and nothing was allowed into his experience to offer a new insight. He wanted to live within a "neat category" and since the rest of us did not want to fit into that category - we were the bad guys who needed to be amputated from his life. It's sad, but also created a big growth of learning for the rest of us. So for that, I do hold this brother I've had no contact with for most of my life as a great personal benefit to who I am today BUT there is no way I would introduce him to any of my friends either. :)

Now, I was inspired to comment on your post today specifically because of your mention of PSU. I've had a few synchronicity type nudges regarding PSU and am wondering if my intent for a more involved connection with PSU is in my future. And if so, I'll probably have to check out the local Taco Del Mar on a Monday...

Anonymous said...

這一生中有多少人擦肩而過?而朋友是多麼可貴啊! ............................................................

Sansego said...


Are you sure that you want to subject yourself to that lady? Perhaps she had an off day. I wouldn't recommend pushing your luck, though.

Thanks for sharing about your siblings. It is difficult to have a relationship when the other person is part of a religious group that is threatened by different ideas. My brother has kind of fallen into a conservative evangelical church, but even he has the sense to reject some of what they preach. He has a strong will, which I admire greatly. I just wish he had a better sense of who is genuine and who is taking advantage. Its also tiresome to tell him the same thing over and over and see him not listen and becoming a victim again.

My friendships offer much more satisfying relationships.