Thursday, November 17, 2016

Cultivating Friendships

My grandmother has a daily ritual of laying down in her bed, pulling out her address book, and dialing up the number of a loved one she wanted to speak with. She does this everyday, calls someone she hasn't heard from in a while or she calls someone she spoke with just recently. The length of time never really mattered to her. See my grandmother in her old age values and cherishes her friendships simply because she has valued them in her youth. She sees the value of wonderful healthy friendships, so she has actively cultivated them in her younger years. Tending to them with love, and attention, growing the friendship with time and devotion and patience throughout the years. I unfortunately cannot the same thing for myself. I have, and have had wonderful girlfriends but somewhere along the line the phone calls become less frequent, the lunch dates began to dwindle, and the friendship ends short. So I'm at this point in my life wondering where did I go wrong and how can go forward and do better? The other day I was recently listening to a television show in where the judge said a very important line that caught my attention: "Some people are so self-involved, that they don't have room for anybody else." That particular line tugged at my heart because I saw myself in what she said. Sometimes I become so self involved with myself and my own life I forget to check in with others and touch base. I essentially become a ghost to the people that were originally close to me. When your by yourself so long constantly consumed by your own thoughts and feelings its difficult to jump out of your self indulged world and into reality. One of the reasons I'm writing this blog post is to be more intentional about cultivating and maintaining my friendships. The habit of not keeping in touch with others is a poor and an inadequate way of navigating life. In fact it's a terrible character flaw I need to work on immensely. Having lasting friendships is about being committed and being supportive of someone other than myself.  This is one of those beneath the surface issues that I tend to ignore and not face reality about. However, it's something I can no longer ignore. So in going forward and doing better I will intentionally work on cultivating and continuously nurturing my friendships. These are some of the ways in which I am intentionally going about cultivating lasting friendships:

  • Open your phone book at least twice a week and pick a friend to call
  • Check in with a local friend and schedule a lunch date for the month
  • Take the time to think and reflect and write a personal touching letter to a dear friend
  • Make a care package for an out of state friend
  • Be more flexible and less flaky on scheduling time together
  • Be thoughtful and offer help in any way needed gas money, studying together, a listening ear, babysitting days
  • Write down a friend's accomplishment in my agenda and find a way to celebrate it. Perhaps bake their favorite sweets, offer dinner, buy a bouquet of their favorite flowers
If you have any ways of cultivating and maintaining lasting friendship please share below in the comments.

Thursday, November 10, 2016

What's On my Bookshelf

Lately these past few months my head has been swirling with the concepts and topics of: mobility, class, manipulation, and power tactics. Below is a few books that have grabbed my attention and provided good reading material and learning lessons. A fictional book about a character named Eileen who marries Ed Leary and hopes to claim a stake in the American Dream. The book really delves into the daily aspects of marriage, education, social mobility, on one's values, and growing old. I identified with the lead character Eileen on her staunch values, hopes and aspirations of moving up from working class, and her conviction on staying married. 
There were so many good tidbits in the book with such passionate writing that I will mention here:

  • She wore neat shoes, but they covered a sprawling account of an overtaxed life, and there was no hiding the truth when she took them off.
  • Money was not a guarantor of dignity.
  • In that regard he was more prepared for the loneliness of senescence than she was, He'd been a stranger in the world for most of his life.
  • Every move he made had the imprimatur of purposefulness.
  • This was his final gift to her: to silence her regrets about the paths she hadn't taken.
  • "There's a reason he can't accept nice things" he said. "His family's been in this country a hundred years, they never owned a house. That's a sin. If you're not in a house by the time I'm dead, I'll haunt you from my grave."
  • She resented the way Connell walked around oblivious of how carefree his existence was, how little responsibility he had.

Everyone has an agenda and everything is fair game. That is something to always keep in mind and remember when reading this book. Accepting that everyone has different personalities and different pulls of attraction is a good start in understanding the rules of attraction. This book does not center on being attractive to all but rather details the tactics to become seductive and use that to your advantage. One of the key points I've noticed this book mention is to always have good timing, and to always work on mastering your skills and seductive traits. It's about being a beacon of seductive and pulling energy. Being seductive requires thinking before you talk, feeling the other person's energy and feeding their ego, being less self absorbed, and possessing a charismatic personality.

  • Seduction is all about focusing on the other person, good seducers pay great attention to detail, the other persons facial expressions, gestures, etc.
  • Seduction should not be rushed at all, because all great seduction takes time.
  • There is no better word than a rightly timed pause.
  • Charm is a way of getting the answer yes without having had asked a clear question.
  • Noticing a persons weakness and playing it to your advantage, by making a person more reliant on you. 

Money, religion, and politics are three topics that are touchy sensitive areas at the dinner table among peers. It would be a lie to say class does not exist here in the United States, an even bigger lie to say class differences one day will cease to exists.. Classes are apart of all human societies but the traits, characteristics, values, and commonalities differ across cultures. This book is as witty as it is informative. The author's detailed observations are extremely on point and accurate even 30 years later after this was published. It's very interesting how even values are different across class lines in America. For example having a housewife in considered respectable in the middle class but with the lower and upper classes working women are the praised norm. I find myself rereading this book with new sentences to highlight every year since I've bought it.

  • The this life are esteem and admiration of others - the punishment are neglect and contempt.
  • Because he is essentially a salesman, the middle class man develops a salesman style. Hence his optimism and his belief in the likelihood of self improvement if you'll just hurl yourself into it.
  • The degree to which your work is overseen by a supervisor suggests your real class more accurately than the amount you take home from it.
  • the upper class'es inattention to ideas is why Arnold call them Barbarian, and he imputes their serenity specifically to they're "never having had any ideas to trouble them."
  • Another way to estimate a city's undesirability is to measure the degree to which religious fundamentalism is identifies with it. 
  • Because 62% of Americans are overweight, a cheap way to achieve a sort of distinction is to be thin.