Monday, July 24, 2006

human competition

In a much needed break from working; I had a great weekend with my friend Josh, and our mutual cohorts. While I did well within groups for a time, in the recent past (after graduating from the University of Delaware in 2004) I have found that my role within normal group dynamics has become awkward again.

This is a natural anxiety that stems from an over-zealous eagerness to see old friends. One of the problems that surfaces from my social anxiety and desperate need to impress friends is that I talk WAY TOO much. And, in the end, I forget to do the important thing that
Scott is always mentioning, which is to ask the questions and reach a “common point of interest.”

Talking too much and not asking questions though is a cyclical self-inflicted wound. In my mind, the incentive to talking is to show people my prowess in different arenas of culture and politics. Unfortunately, there are two bad externalities from this. 1) I monopolize the conversation and risk alienating others from it. And 2) When in a drinking environment (and I not being a person who particularly likes alcohol), all around nerdy type topics are not exactly going to get people interested in you, or have the laughs come rolling.

The question --
that Scott Ginsberg asks -- is, "how am I unique?" What makes my product (simply put, me) palpable? But I think an important underlying principal is to not be different for the sole sake of being different. Rather, to find what interests I and other people have in common, and to explore those interests.

Regrettably, I find myself at a competitive disadvantage. While at Klondike Kate’s (pictured above in Newark, DE) during the weekend, I remember only one friend finding it in any way amusing that I could remember -- at such a “party down” time of the night –-
Senator Ted Stevens (R) – Alaska comments about the internet being a “series of tubes” humorous. Not to mention that I don’t wear ankle socks.

So, I have a few questions. How do you interact personally (sans internet) with people who have similar interests when you don’t live in a largely metropolitan area? What do you do in order to remind yourself that you may be talking too much? Also, how do you recover in the conversation in order to try and bring in the other voices? And ultimately, apart from people who have bad social skills (and crazy or racist beliefs), do you think that there are people out there with certain interests (eg. my love of Formula 1 racing) that will never find other friends of similar interests without help from the internet?
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