Monday, March 16, 2009

Better body language and the new purpose of this blog

During the last 1.5 years, two events have notably improved my social skills and body language. At least Tommi commented once that he saw the difference, so it's not just in my head. For the first time in my life I see light at the end of the tunnel in getting a normal social life, including relationships with women. However, the base level was so low that there is still a long way to go.

In the first event I became a de-facto tech lead for a subproject of 3 people, being the only one who had earlier experience about the technology. For the first time, I had some responsibility for other people's work. Naturally, I didn't do it very well.

I had mental block against telling other people what to do, even when they expected it from me. (It wasn't born out of thin air. I remember quite well when there was Kanpai's meeting in Konttori. I was standing in the doorway. When it was time to choose a chairmain, Tarvainen jokingly said that at least not Simo, and everyone laughed at the idea of me being a chairman. I expected that mere hint of me in a position of responsibility would be answered with a sea of insults for years. It was surprising for me to notice that this didn't happen.)

Secondly, the abrasiveness of my interaction became visible in an ugly way. One person went into a kind of failure mode, where he let out helpless sighs of an oppressed victim daily. It irritated the hell out of me, but also made me realize that he probably expected me to debug the problem, but I couldn't really do anything about it. When I looked at other people around me they were surprisingly confident, encouraging at each others, and relaxed. Their pressure-relief skills and mechanisms would have solved the problem before it started.

Overall this experience made me smile more, made my interaction style less abrasive and removed many mental blocks.

During the trip to India two things happened. First of all, I noticed the importance of talking much. In small groups, talking less than 20% of utterances spells serious trouble, but this is a topic for a whole new post. Secondly, I was able to see how other people spend their days. Normally people keep their work/school, hobbies and chores so separate that I had very little idea how people of my age and social class live.

As a result, I saw that I'm not such a hopeless case, although the difference between the men in relationships and me is large in a few areas. Secondly, I talk more nowadays, and I've seen it have a positive effect.

Now it's a tight race between improving social skills and aging, which is going to cripple my ability to learn new social attitudes as well as my body. It's possible that I've already lost: they say that if you don't have sexual experiences by age 25, you are doomed. However, since there is a lot at stake (living alone 50 years without purpose vs. achieving middle-class happiness of an apartment loan, spacious car, 2.5 kids, and let's not forget the golden retriever) and since I'm seeing slow but steady improvement, I'm not ready to give up just yet.

The latest renaming of the blog is a sign that I'm raising the cat on the table and fighting to reach the end of the tunnel before the approaching train of aging hits me.

If I successfully solve this practical crisis, then I can again concentrate my blogging on technology, culture, politics, economics and philosophy like the rest of you. But before that I'm going to be anti-intellectual and keep both feet on the ground and blog about myself and practical daily life.

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