Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Perils of Being a People Watcher

People watchers are a rare breed. Their brain never turns off. It is always analyzing other peoples actions, words, and patterns all in an attempt to understand the person they are interacting with and to define people's true feelings. Everyone has the occasional moment where they become aware, really aware, of the other people around them, but these are not people watchers.

People watching never takes a break. It is something that becomes a part of that individual. They are capable of talking to anyone and gaining the trust necessary to get the information desired. While good advice and observations and even good listening and perception skills do come from it there are many draw backs to watching from the sidelines.

People watchers are like the coach of any sports team. They try to make a connection with their players and really try to get to know them. They give advice on the field and in life. They become a go to guy; a dependable personality, but at the end of the day the players have not truly gotten to know the coach.

People watching brings a sense of loneliness with it, a sort of insecurity. By spending so much time trying to figure out everyone else, the people watcher fails to partake in normal activities that he/she is observing. A people watcher will walk out of the room and wonder what is being said about him or her. When observing others, he/she notices the talking that goes on when other people are out of ear shot. Thus it makes one wonder. This only adds to the insecurities.

People watchers have their own insecurities and problems, but they don't let anyone see those. They are more focused on the issues that surround the people that they interact with. This may be a result of masking the insecurities or distracting oneself from them, but whatever the case they have developed these reactions. People watchers, as hard as they may try, can not bring themselves to accept that there are times when hidden agendas do not exist, and that there is a time to just let people watch them.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Your Mom Goes to College

This past weekend my fraternity had Mother's Weekend at the house, along with I believe almost every other greek house on campus. Saturday was a day for mothers to come check out the house, hang out with their sons or daughters, and learn a little bit more about what their children are involved with. After the day's activities the mothers had the choice to either go home or stay out late and experience a different side of the college experience.

These mothers were invited to stay and party hard with their sons and daughters. I was surprised at the amount of mothers their were on Saturday night. Normally at a fraternity party you can talk to whomever you would like and it is not awkward; however, if you were trying to meet anyone on Saturday night you got to meet their parents at the same time. The level of awkwardness and the amount of fun that was seen made that night very enjoyable.

Watching the mothers walk into the house was a sight to see. Normally when a group of girls arrives at a party they know exactly where they want to go; these moms on the other hand were a little lost. There was actually a line waiting to go upstairs which I had never seen before. Some mothers were ready to party and experience college right beside their son/daughter, while others were a little skeptical.

These moms were invited to a fraternity party and knew a decent amount of what they would be walking into; however, its one thing to know and a completely different thing to experience first hand. These mothers knew that their children drank, yet watching it happen was almost just a little much for some of these parents. The child that they had seen running around in diapers was not so little anymore.

Their children were old and living life, and I believe that was the difficult part for some moms. It was the realization that their children were taking care of themselves and did not need their hand held. The years of work that went into raising their children had come to a close and now a new part of their life had begun. This doesn't mean that the mothers job is over (most would be devastated) it just means that it is different.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Sober Patrol

If you have ever been to a fraternity party or function of any sort I'm sure you have noticed the group of young strapping gentlemen sitting at the front door just waiting to let you in. These men may even be refereed to as security. Be careful!

People working security both have the worst job of the night as well as the most entertaining. They have to deal with a variety of exaggerated personalities due the consumption of a little to much liquid. Some people get angry, others become very giggly, and yet others become very loving. Trying to keep the personalities under control is almost an impossible task.

Sober patrol's official job is to keep the house safe and the people in it safe. However, sometimes they also find themselves entertaining the people in altered states of mind. Drunk people love to talk to someone who is sober. It is a curious thing, because their minds are functioning in two completely different ways.

I believe one reason that drunk people love chilling with the sober crowd is because it shows them how drunk they are. Most people that go out to drink have an intention of getting drunk. They want to feel the effects and they want people in a normal state of mind to be witness to this. It gives them references as to what occurred that night and how ridiculous they were acting. For many drunk people it is a show.

Another reason drunk people love the sobers is because they feel sorry for them. In the drunk person's mind it is no fun being sober, especially not if you have to sit by the door. However, what these unsuspecting party goers do not realize is that they are entertaining the entertainers. If it was not for them many sober patrol members would not be able to make it through the night. It builds a strong circle that can not be broken.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Critic's Critic

"So what's good about this..."


"Now what could be changed.."

We are all familiar with these words. We have heard them every Tuesday and Thursday for the past three months. We have sat in a circle, while one victim sits timidly and passes out their entry just waiting for what is to come. We sit and talk for fifteen minuets, and when there is nothing left to say we move on to the next unwilling person. Now what kind of people watcher would I be if I didn't talk about this.

In class and anywhere, I believe, we have been taught to start with the positive and end with the negative, or the not so positive. Throughout this class I have realized why this is. It is so much easier to come up with changes than it is to offer praise for one's work. There are days where we all just sit there looking for something to say that is good. This doesn't mean that it is all bad, it's just that we have been raised to be critics.

Just from this observation, it is easy to find the different personalities in the room. Some people don't talk at all because, as with everyone else, it is difficult to find the good and easy to find the bad. The difference is that these mutes do not want to seem rude or mean. They do not want to be liked less for talking about someone else's work. On the flip side, some people talk so much in order to fill the silence or to get noticed and make a presence in the room. Even with these different personalities, most everyone struggles on the receiving end of criticism.

Criticism is something that has to be taken with a grain of salt. If it is not, it can be very hard to swallow. No one wants to hear that their work is not up to par, or that their creative take on a subject was possibly the wrong one. It can be looked at from a different perspective, though. The more comments received shows an interest by others in improving the quality of a specific entry. Entries that do not necessarily interest the audience do not receive as many comments because people have a hard time relating to the topic.

People do not criticize in order to be mean, but in order to help. There is a difference between teasing and and criticizing. Teasing has an evil intent, while criticism is geared towards improvement. Remember this the next time you are in the spotlight, and it should come much easier.

Disclaimer: I know there are some of you reading this that believe some comments were geared towards you or about you, which only proves my point further. Everyone has blogs or works, less specifically, that are not their best and also everyone has those that captivate an audience. You're showing your personality; thanks for adding to the validity of my entry.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Earning Brotherhood

As said in a previous blog I wanted to share some fraternal experiences and observations that I have made throughout my journey there. Its weird to use the word brother when referring to the men that are members of the fraternity, that is, until you gain an understanding of what it is all about.

The word brother has many definitions according to dictionary.com. One thing they all have in common, however, is that there is a bond between these people, a common relationship. The bond of fraternal brotherhood is a very strong one; some even say it is stronger than the bond of genetic brotherhood. This is largely contributed to the process of becoming a brother.

Pledgeship is where this transformation takes place. Pledges are working to gain the respect and trust of the brothers in the house. This takes time and a very large commitment. By putting yourself out there and talking to the brothers, helping them with odd jobs, and demonstrating that you have the best interest of the house in mind you are forging a relationship and bond with these guys.

Secrets are another thing that make the fraternal bond so strong. Every fraternity has secrets that only initiated brothers in the house know. This is something that every brother has in common. They know that the rest of the guys around them have all gone through the same experiences, which allows a higher level of trust and appreciation to form.

Recently I went on a weekend to trip to a cabin on the ohio river with some of the brothers in the house. At first I was confused at the selection of the group of people that were going. I didn't see these people hanging out on a regular basis nor did I feel like they were the closest to eachother. It didn't take much time though until I realized that it didn't matter who went on this trip; it was a great time because it was time with your brothers. It was a great weekend with no drama. That can rarely be said with trips of any other group.

Brotherhood is real. It's not something to be scoffed at nor taken lightly. It is a journey to achieve it, but once that journey has been traveled the rewards are tremendous and the lifelong family of brothers will stay with you forever.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Why No Entries?

So as some of you may have noticed I did not publish a single post last week. I would like to first apologize to those of you that read my blog regularly, and second, I would like to explain myself (and of course make a social tie in somewhere).

Everyday last week, after I was finished with classes for the day, I sat down at my computer and opened up blogger. I selected new post and proceeded to stare at a blank screen waiting for the words to flow. I had nothing. Finally in the middle of the week I thought of a great blog idea. It was one I had been thinking of for awhile and really wanted to write. So I did. I pumped out this long entry with lots of feeling and truth and when I was done, I wasn't pleased. I felt that I was not doing the post justice, nor did I feel like it was the appropriate time to publish it.

I realized that the post I had just written would be the last one I published for the year. It needed to be great and something worth reading. It wasn't any of the above. So it sits in my drafts folder just waiting for the day I decide to let it be seen. However, this still left me with no words of wisdom, no witty observations, and no stories to tell. Was I out of material? Was I really that boring? How could I have nothing to say?

These feelings of self doubt and confusion were not comforting ones. Never before throughout this process had I struggled so hard to come up with a blog idea. I usually had something to say even if the post wasn't my favorite, and never had I written an entire post and decided against publishing it even with the knowledge that I would not be receiving credit for the week.

Last week I had a block, and after some reflection I realized what it was. Last week was a very busy and stressful week. I realized that there was no way that I could give advice or analyze what was happening in others people's lives when I had so much going on in my own. All I could think about was stuff that strictly pertained to me, which blocked the creativity and my ability to perceive other people.

Friday, March 27, 2009

A Friend's Approval

For people that have made the journey to college, especially those who made it not knowing many people, leaving those friends and loved ones form home behind is very dificult. Those people played a very large part in growing up and in your own personal development of your ideals and beliefs. Leaving these connections behind is not an option.

When meeting knew people, college friends, and developing relationships witht them, it is hard for many people to feel as close to their friends back home. This can be a very frustrating feeling, and one that is not easily dissmissed. It is definitely easier to get closer to the people that you are in contact with everyday. This is why I believe many people are so eager to have friends from home and friends from school meet and connect.

Once this connection is made, friends from home can give feedback on friends from school and this makes people much more content in the college friends that they hang out with. Also in forming these meetings I believe that it makes talking to each group much easier. The listening party can feel as if they know the friends being spoken about. People are much more reseptive to a story if they feel as if they actually know all the people involved.

Bringing friends back from school home to meet family is also a very big step. By bringing friends home, you are bringing them into the intimate parts of your life. They are now a part of all you know from childhood to present. I believe this forms yet a stronger bond with friends from school. They now know those people that were such a big part of your past. This meeting allows your friends to see where you pick up some of your behaviors and quirks. It helps them to understand you better, which in turn leads to a stronger relationship.

These introductions between new friends at school and family and friends from home are big steps in the development of lasting friendships. Real friends are those that you introduce into every aspect of your life; and not only introduce, but also incorporate. By doing this both parties are more comfortable in talking about other friends and aspects about life that may be more persoal. Why? Because you are now involved in those aspects.