In my job, I profile people, for various reasons. Mostly, I read people to help them find the best ways to learn or to work in groups. I’m crap at many things but at reading people, I’m great. Mostly it’s because I’ve been trained to read people since young. When you have a psychologically unstable mother, you learn to read signs, to survive and to avoid trouble. So I read people.
But I don’t read my friends. Recently, I had a chat with some friends about my work, stripped away the corporate structure and the job titles, what I do is essentially profile people and then achieve corporate goals by influencing people. And I said I switch it on and off in life, that means when I step out of work, I just switch back to default “no read” mode. I don’t know how but it’s what I do. In our long drawn out questions on how I do it, I realised that, I do read my friends, couples in trouble, friends who are unsure of career moves, friends I can’t find a baseline with, I read them and I find explanations for their behaviour.
I’m surrounded by non-planners who are also touchy feely. And I’m a planner, do you know how stressful it is for a planner to have no plans? A stressful as asking a non-planner to make plans. For them, fixing a date is a cage and for me, not fixing a date is free falling. And on top of that, they are touchy feely, they have to feel right about doing something. And I just want to think about it, mark it down and not to think about it anymore. So it is with much amusement (and pain) that someone like me is surrounded by touchy feely non-planners. And I must have the most unfemenine profile in comparison. It ceased to be funny after a while. So I have to read them and them orchestrate a response that will work for them and for me. For example, how about we keep Tuesday or Wednesday evening free. We could have dinner or watch a movie or do something that you feel like on that day. On my end, I keep my Tuesday and Wednesday free of plans so when my non-planner friends feel like it, we’ll be able to hang out. So yes, I guess I read people.
I think it’s the most manipulative thing you can do and nobody likes to be handled. In some ways, when my friends are upset with me, this is what they say most of the times. Because, I also make it quite clear that I’m responding by the way they respond, it’s less elegant than at work but more direct in how I would like a friendship. In my defence, I’ll say I seek to understand so we can construct rather than to blame or be upset that can be destructive. Usually, this doesn’t happen with my male, thinking planning friends. Life is easy on the same plane. We plan, agree and move on. No feelings hurt, a simple can or cannot and how about.
But I love my touchy feely non-planner friends. Because, they are the ones who feel on my behalf. When I have good news, they are happy and when I’m in trouble, they worry. I live my precarious tumultuous life through their feelings. If I’m bullied, I don’t have to be angry because they already are, when I get lucky, they are excited for me while I think about it as just another day. They will spy, track and stalk a guy on my behalf and then curse, swear and hug me when a guy does me wrong so all I have to think about is getting over the bad patch. When I have a roomful of my touchy feely friends with me, I can get as excited as I want and when I tell them my recent stories, I can think calmly about consequences when they are taking over all the necessary emotions. Once, I had to calm my lawyer down who was pushed to feel injustice on my behalf even though I was the one being wrongfully accused. It’s quite refreshing actually.
So I wouldn’t trade my touchy feely non-planner friends. But I guess I do profile them to attain a certain peaceful daily existence. You know that I know that you know right? Peace.