Conformity is important for humanity, we need to learn to communicate in ways that seem less threatening to each other if we hope to maintain our fight against violence, however it’s also important that our individual differences stil get a chance to shine especially as our society becomes more hyper specialised. This post is about my struggles with being weird and how I’ve learned to fit in to a degree.
Learn the rules
Not every rule is intuitive, and the negative feeling of being weird is not knowing the rules or not knowing how to make yourself obey them. It’s important to watch other people and learn the rules they follow, that will help you a lot when trying to see how best to shape your behaviour. For example, hedging, people often say I think or I feel before I sentence to reduce it’s impact, knowing when to say something like that can be crucial to maintain the mood of the interaction. It can be very frustrating learning these interactions but I find the more I treat it like a puzzle to work out the less harmful it is.
Mood of the interaction
When I’m having a conversation I’m always watching their body language, are they offended, are they still paying attention, maybe they are feeling stupid because I brought up a complicated subject that is easy for me but harder for them. It’s essential to remember that while people are very similar to each other, we all have a different experience of the world and if you are weird that goes doubly so for you. As a weird person, I need to be really careful about how I make conversation, I need to manage the mood of the conversation, keep people happy. The burden is heavy and heavier when you are an odd person. However, if you invest into conversational skills you find yourself doing better than those tho whom conversation comes naturally. You can become more empathetic, more sincere and all of the qualities that make you who you are shine because you are working on the areas in which you don’t have skills.
This is one of the harder ones to master, I don’t feel like I’ve gotten my game up on this one, it’s so hard for me in fact that I don’t know if I can really recommend it yet. The idea is everyone is interested in themselves, they want to hold the floor, feel important and have their voice heard by you. If somehow you are able to participate in a conversation while keeping that in mind and also managing to keep your desire for this same feeling under check you are incredibly gifted and I would love to learn that from you. Ultimately a good conversation should allow the people involved to play a game of tennis, where each person manages at the end of their conversation to gracefully transfer the floor to another.
Share your weirdness
Now this is tough, the majority of this post is about conformity, and if you are you in fact weird, and I don’t mean unusually charming then you have likely already spent a lot of time trying to fit in but share your weirdness. What makes you weird makes you a survivor of all the trials that weird people face. You know what it’s like to feel excluded so you are better able to empathise with others, you have interests that can open the minds of others to new possibilities. It’s worth investing in things that mark you out as different but you should also learn how to share those things with others. Manage the conversational tennis, make sure everyone is happy listening to what you have to say and if you’ve learned the rules you can excel in your own unique way. Good luck and if you have any more advice, share in the comments.