The Extroverted Introvert

There is something called “personality tests”. I don’t care about them anymore (they are highly overrated), but I recall being placed as an INFJ (though a few months later as an INFP).

This “type” has one bit of truth which I find very fitting to myself: being an extroverted introvert. People tire me. They really do. Few people manage to give me energy, but for the most part every single one of them has some irritating quirks which sucks the life out of me like a leech.

So for the last few weeks I’ve been like a hermit: I go to class on Monday and Thursday… and then I head back home to my dog and cat, working on assignments, watching video series and reading a few things. I don’t “love reading”, by the way. “Reading” is not something you either love or hate. I like learning and I like good stories. If books are the best way to do these (as opposed to, say, documentaries or DVDs) then so be it.

Books are overrated.

Nerds are overrated.

Introverts are underrated.

But every so often I would yearn to go out. I absolutely love being out at night at some place with my friends. I love it. Yet these friends which are “extroverts” (so they say), are actually dead. They don’t want to do anything during the weak. They don’t go through trouble to do so. They just sit around at night playing RuneScape or watching TV.

Yet at school they considered me “boring” as they slept late on holidays (and on vacations) and never did anything other than play video games. The only reason they considered me so was that I didn’t (and don’t) like going out to be with a bunch of strangers.

But anyway, it is not my intention to blast friends I haven’t seen in weeks for things they said years ago. I got distracted:

I just saw a picture of the Precious Friend (see this post which has the same idea as this one), out at some campus residence event. Man that looks awesome! At night, with people you know! That’s just it, isn’t it? The best thing I can imagine is such a night event, neither too cold nor too hot, with stalls and music and events… but full of people I know. How I wish I could be there now!

But I know tomorrow they are gonna tire me again. My friends, especially those at campus, absolutely fail to just realise my situation. They never seem to consider it: I am staying at home (not at the flat anymore, although I still have access to it), driving to campus, and then after class driving back home.

Yet then WHY when you know this do you want to grab a cup of coffee after class at the flatWHY do you think, after we negotiated at half past ten to meet at half past one, that I would wait for you (because you forgot) until 1 o’ clock before going to where ever? WHY don’t you consider what I said about not wanting to drive in the dark, always taking your time, always wanting to go watch a movie at 3 o’ clock? WHY when you know I’m going to see someone else that day as well, do you just assume that I’m only going to see you?

It reminds me of that one time at school, where on the Thursday I and a friend negotiated to visit each other the next day, and then the next day, without even him realising it, that friend visited another friend. Not because he was mad. But simply because he forgot.

Or that other time, also in school, where at the start of the year we negotiated to sit at the front of the IT class (although I like the back). Then, as you were late, I sat at the front… only to see you come in later, walk past me, and sit at the back!

Or two weeks ago where you said we should absolutely go watch that film next week, only to find you watched it with your young nephew the weekend.

If all of the above cases were done out of some ill intent, I would paradoxically have been fine with it. But it’s precisely this lack of awareness by people that dries my energy up like bread exposed to a fire.

And you know, all of this caused me to lose a lot of loyalty for people. I mean the reason I’m at home and not at the flat is because if I stay there I will have a class until 12:30 on Monday… and then stay at the flat and rot until Thursday 9:30. In contrast at home I am, well at home. I have my pets, more privacy, my grandparents, my safety, etc.

For the first few weeks I stayed at the flat with the hope of seeing these two specific friends, yet I rarely did. Always cancelling our agreements or just simply forgetting.
Once again, they don’t do this out of ill intent for me. They simply do this because they don’t realise what I am sacrificing to see them.

 

Gedig vir my Vriende

Ek het hierdie geskryf op 28 Maart 2015, die jaar na ek klaar gemaak het met skool. 

 

Hoe vinnig verby is al daai dae
Van koffie, Playstation en Afrikaans.

Ek mis die eksamens – ek mis die koffie
Ek mis die “IT” – ek mis die “geleer”.

Geen meer WipeOut, LBP of Runescape
Nous dit net Tuks,
Baie werk en Inscape.

Geen meer Portal, Uncharted of Ezio
Nous dit net toetse,
My vriend – ek mis jou!

Wat het geword van ons na-toetse kuier?
Ons af-en-toe se skaak,
Ons poker en gaming?

Waar is ons Nesquik?
Die “Blou Tas”,
En die meisies?

Ai, my vriende…

Totsiens

 


 

“Koffie”: Vriend 1 het gereeld oorgekom vir koffie. Die Afrikaanse klas was ‘n pyn en tog altyd so lekker (Hy sou net iets sê van Oscar Pistorius se hofsaak, dan sou die hele klas en die onderwyseres oor dit gesels en sodoende sou ons nie werk nie).

“Ek mis die IT”: Vriend 4 sou gereeld voor ‘n eksamen toets oorkom om te leer… dan eindig ons op besig om Civilization 5 te speel.

“Geen meer wipeout”: Ek en Vriend 1 het hierdie drie games sat gespeel. Nou sit ek by Tuks en in daai jaar het hy by Inscape studeer.

“Geen meer Portal”: Ek en Vriend 2 het hierdie drie games weer sat gespeel.

“Ons af-en-toe se skaak”: Vriend 1 het gereeld oorgekom vir skaak en ligte poker.

“Waar is ons Nesquik?”: Vriend 3 het baie gehou van sy Nesquik. Net hy het geweet van die “blou tas”, wat ‘n codename was vir ‘n meisie wat ek my oë op gehad het (syt ‘n blou tas gedra).

 

 

 

You’re Laziness Makes You an Atheist

I’ve just woke up and I’m still tired, but I’m still thinking of this dream I had about this marvelous girl. Wow, was she amazing! But that’s for another time.

At 3 AM the Best Friend, whose Whatsapp notification is darn loud, messaged me twice. I’ve just read the message. He referred to a video on religion and said that videos like these makes him himself defeated in his Christian faith.

A part of me don’t care anymore, to be honest. I’ve spent the last few months absorbed in Christian apologetics. From Craig, to Copan, to Qureshi, and Zacharias, I just can’t get enough.

I’ve been a born again Christian for a few years now and I used to believe in a young earth and King James Onlyism and all that. As I’ve said in this post, last year a friend of mine became an atheist through a combination of evolution, Nietzsche and the new atheists like Hitchens. My lack of comprehensive answers drove me to search for good responses. And boy did I get good responses from the people I’ve just mentioned! But by then it was too late. I’ve failed my friend because I was stupid and pathetic for believing in a young earth and all that jazz. I’ll explain this journey away from YEC and Kent Hovind in another post.

I’ve noticed during the last few years, that more often than not, when I send this Best Friend a link to an amazing video by one of these apologists, this friend of mine would either not have time, not have bandwidth or not have any desire to watch them. In short, because he’s lazy. I remember a few times where I mentioned a particularly insightful Bible verse at his home one day – one which can change his outlook on life, but he was kinda embarrassed to talk about it close to his brother.

To state it clearly: he calls himself a Christian but he is too damn lazy to act like one. He wants to be a Christian, but he is in no mood to change his behaviour. He wants to debate God with atheists on YouTube from time to time, but he is too damn lazy to look up Christian videos on these topics, especially the ones I sent him.

I remember talking to my grandfather about this. I predicted that while at the moment he is  very unconcerned about apologetics, that there will come a time where he will watch a video or read something which will disturb him to the core and make him doubt and leave his faith. And why? Because he was too lazy to care about it in the first place.

Ek Mis Jou

“Ek mis jou”

Ja right. Hou op jok. Of te wel, hou op om jou eie leuens te glo. Jy dink jy mis my, maar jy doen nie. Ek het dit van te vore gesien en ek gaan nie weer vir dit val nie; iemand wat my mis omdat sy terugdink aan ons tye saam net om te besef sodra ons mekaar sien dat sy my nie gemis het nie.

Daai memories is vol romanse, misterie en diepte – maar sodra jy in persoon kom met my wonder jy hoekom jy so gedink het. Soos ek sê, ek het dit al gesien.

En jy spesifiek: jou boyfriend het jou onlangs gelos en of jy dit besef of nie, jy dink nie helder nie. Jys ‘n intelligente meisie, maar jys ook ‘n emosionele meisie. Ek weet hoe dit is om te dink dat jy helder dink terwyl jy nie so dink nie. Jys eintlik in denial en op soek na ‘n anker. Dan die volgende dag besef jy hoe emosioneel jy was en hoe jy oorreageer het. Dat jy my nie eintlik gemis het nie. Maar dans dit te laat. Dan het jy klaar als opgemors.

Ja, maar as een keer die afgelope twee jaar was daar tye wat ek meer aan jou gedink het as wat gesond was. Albei kere was dit kort nadat hy jou gelos het. Want dan skielik is daar niks in my pad nie. En die pyn wat hy jou veroorsaak maak dat ek net soveel meer vir jou omgee. Maar eks nie van plan om weer my hart bo my kop te sit nie. Dit draai nooit goed uit as ek dit doen nie. Nee. Ek het my afstand gehou want ek weet jou situasie is tydelik. Dat beide jy en ek emosioneel is. Dat die Liefde geduldig is. So hoekom jaag?

Qué será, será.

 

Two Minor Incidents

I found this on one of my dormant social media accounts

Posted on September 5, 2014

People are blind. Stuck in their own world. Their own problems. Their own ideas. Their own dreams.Their own life.

The last couple of days I realised a distinct feature of myself. The ability to see in a person what others do not. Not positive things, but disappointment. The ability to see how a person feels.

A while ago I went to a friend’s 18th Birthday party. A very awesome guy.

When he invited us he asked us who’s going to sleep over. A few said yes, including his best friend. Not wanting to leave my mother alone at home I decided against it.

At the party, however, they decided to drop it. He already had all the stretchers and blankets necessary for a sleepover. I could see the disappointment on his face.

Don’t those fools realise this is his 18th Birthday? When I asked his best friend why he won’t stay he simply said he didn’t know. What the hell?

I tried to put myself in his situation. “Yeah, we’re gonna have a great party and a great sleepover. A typical boys only 18th birthday sleepover with video games, music, snooker, whatever.”

Now everybody says they won’t sleep over. No apologies. No excuses. They simply won’t stay. Why the hell not?

He told about how he thought they are gonna eat pizza and stay up all night. When he asked his best friend the same question he just said that he doesn’t want to sleep late.

When I finally left I simply texted him and said: “Thank you for the party. You’re a great guy and I hope someone stays.” Just so he knows someone cares.

Why didn’t his friends realise what they were doing to him?

I myself frequently fall victim to this kind of attitude.

A year ago my best friend and I decided to go to my house the next day after school. Everything was set.

The next day: Oh, his going to someone else. No apologies. No excuse. He simply forgot. It would bother others if that person were doing it on purpose. But what bothers me is his strong detachment from reality. The fact that he does it without realising it.

This year as well. We’re gonna go to my house and from there to the park nearby. But he first wanted to go to his house (about a mile from mine) to get dressed . So we did.

In his house he got dressed and then afterwords he did a few things on Clash of Clans. He asked me frequently if I was hurried. I replied (with what I thought the right answer) “no”.

I mean it’s half past three. I have to be home at 5. I wanted at least 2 hours with him doing what we came to do. But a few minutes won’t matter, right?

(One personality aspect of myself which people have to know is my patience: I do not mind waiting. What I do mind is wasting my time. Like when you wait for someone, but that person is taking his time talking to someone else. That bothers me.)

He proceeded to then get food and ate it while he watched T.V. (some comedy prank show). After he finished he continued watching. Some 10 minutes later I had damn enough. I got up. I told him I didn’t come here to watch bloody T.V. (I did state it more tactfully, without angering him).

After I told him he finally made ready to go.

But thanks to me being able to see things a bit clearer than most, I simply asked him if he just want to stay. He doesn’t have to come.

What’s the point of dragging him to my house against his will?

I then left and walked 1.5 km uphill on my own. An hour and a half of my life wasted. My day wasted. I could have done so much more. I could have finished my home work and then go to the park on my own. But now I can’t.

Those kinds of actions irritate me to the core.

I realise that I’ve gone way off course in this post, but I’ll keep it that way. I spoke my mind.

The Need to Change

I found this on one of my dormant social media accounts

Posted on September 5, 2014

Don’t we all have it?

That desire to be different. That desire to be something more. The desire to escape your current predicament. To be someone else. Someone New.

For a while now I’ve seen this in my best friend. Everyone knows him by “The Best Friend” [real name removed from this old post for anonymity]. Just The Best Friend. We’ve been calling him that for years.

I remember a few years ago he told me that in his previous school everyone called him “The Other Name”. Apparently the only reason people started calling him “The Best Friend” is because his new school messed up his name and put his second name first.

But over the years, as I’ve watched him change into a different man I’ve seen a disturbing trend. For the past year he has been more depressed and more volatile. More caught up in his circumstances. Caught up in himself.

The first time I’ve seen this was on DeviantArt. On his profile he said “The Other Name or The Best Friend”. Notice that.

Nobody calls him The Other Name. Not even his mother or brothers. Yet he puts “The Other Name” first. That’s interesting. He wants to be The Other Name. He doesn’t want to be The Best Friend.

But I noticed it again on Facebook. He recently made a new account and once again: “The Best Friend [insert surname] (The Other Name)”.

For a while I thought about logging into his account and changing it. He would never know. But he trusts me, and I him.

This got me thinking about how some people subconsciously desire change. Not everyone, but a lot. They are tired of their life and they want to change over. Fresh. A new beginning.

Not that their lives are particularly hard, but just because they are fed up with it.

This is especially true online. Take a look at your friends and how they react and what they say. Then take a look at them online. On WhatsApp or Facebook. Totally different. They are a lot more frank. A lot more willing to speak their minds. But in person; quiet and reserved.

Because online they can be whomever they wan’t to be. No people to influence them. No one expecting them to act in a certain way.

This sounds good. But it’s awful. How they are online is not how they are, but how they want to be. How they are in person are who they are, but not how they want to be.

They are trapped in their emotions. Trapped in themselves.

To a certain extant this angers me, because they are unwilling to talk about it. “Nobody understands…”. That pathetic cliche.

But then I realise that they don’t even understand themselves. They don’t realise that they yearn to be someone else.

Like my friend. My best friend. Awesome as he is with all his great ideas and unique theories.

But still

they are trapped

in that

infinite

abyss…

Drifting Away from a Life Long Friend

I found this on one of my dormant social media accounts

Posted on May 3, 2014

Captain America, Iron Man, Green Lantern, Man of Steel, Thor. What do they have in common? They were all watched by me and my friend, together.

Since we were 12 we were the best of friends. We played PlayStation 2, we frequently visited each other and we were inseparable as best friends. He was, in primary school, always a slightly underachiever academically while I was one of the “smart” boys.

How we became friends I never truly discovered, but we did and it was great. I remember us playing school games and doing school work together (which helped him).

It’s difficult to express the kind of friendship we had. We were loyal and we never fought each other. We always remained close, even when we absorbed a new guy, The Best Friend into our friendship fold in our last year of primary school (13 years old).

We were a great group and our new friend made our group even more extraordinary. I was the obedient, smart, academic guy. My Friend the underachieving, yet very loyal, short-tempered one and our new friend the hyper active ADD joker who was hated by the other guys, but adored by the girls (something I will discuss in a later post).

The years passed and few things changed in High School at first. We were more mature (slightly) and the bond between us were as high as always, perhaps even better.

I remember how my best birthday ever was not with a lot of people, but with my Friend playing Portal 2. It was awesome. It’s just the game but we enjoyed the hell out of it. The mind bending two-player puzzle had us scratching our heads.

Two years later things were still good. Looking back I realised it was because we were both single, without girls taking up our time like it did our other friend.

What really showed his loyalty was during the time I had a halo-frame on (Google it) he still frequently visited. I could barely speak, yet we talked. That he did while The Best Friend didn’t come even once. The fact that he visited numerous times really showed his character.

Aside from his parents divorcing about that time I believe the turning point was, I think, last year.

On a vacation with me and my family to Margate (a well known coastal resort) we spent the week together excellently, except for the last day. His grandfather died and I got the message that they wanted ME to tell him.

That might not be the turning point in our friendship, but it could be.

A few months later we still going strong but this year, for some reason, we began drifting away.

I remember early January/February me, him, The Best Friend and another addition to the fold, Waldo and some others sitting at a table at school. He wanted to go fetch something and me and Waldo wanted to go with him. But to my surprise he was irritatingly telling me to stay, while he and Waldo went. I was shocked and I would’ve forgot it had it not happened again and again.

Later on when our group merged with other people, we barely even talked. I always thought we were close together yet I had to hear from The Best Friend that he already slept with a girl who I, ironically, had a crush on for 3 years in primary school and that he already told The Best Friend about the girl he is in love with at the moment. Why tell him? And not me?

I would forgive him not telling me, for I thought perhaps he was ashamed to tell me because I’ve tried to live a Christian life and maybe he thought I would be disappointed or something.

The sad part is that when I realised how far away we’ve gone, I decided not to stop it. I didn’t purposely ignore him, but I didn’t seek for occasion to talk to him. We’ve grown separate and our lifestyle’s and personalities are different. So long, dear friend.

Since it started happening I’ve watched two Marvel movies without him…

I don’t know what the point of this long post is. I guess I just wanted to convey my feelings to the world and hear of people who had similar experiences.

You’re not alone.

People can’t get past their perceptions

It’s 10:30 PM and I really wanted to tuck in early so I don’t waste away my day sleeping. Yet when the True Friend sent me a certain message, I couldn’t help but write this while sitting on my bed, cat licking herself at my side with the dog lying dead on the ground. There was a bit of a storm outside, but at the moment everything is, as we say in Afrikaans, doodstil (deadsilent).

One wall which I’ve noticed for years which everyone has, is the wall of perceptions. We meet someone new and for a while we observe that person. Then, when we think we have known them long enough, we stop observing that person. We create a sort of profile of that person – never open to change – which we open each time we think about them.

For instance, Jack might be a rather silent guy with an interest in astronomy and a lesser interest in geography. You noticed that the few times you asked him to go out with you, he declined. So you think he is probably a shy fellow – and perhaps he is. A few years later Jack has changed. His primary interests are now apologetics and philosophy. He has a new leash on life: he likes to go out to new places and to be with friends. You do not notice how drastically he has changed. Sure you might see him reading a book on apologetics once in a while, but in your eyes he is still the same old shy Jack. You never bothered to reconsider your original perception of him. Hell, a few times he told you about this or that place, or this and that friend, yet you never click that now he actually does like to go out. People never change, you know.

This is my situation. In fact, I half unconsciously viewed myself as Jack as I typed the previous paragraph. At school, up to around 16, I was a genuinely shy guy. I always studied and I always obeyed the teachers. At 16 I had a major operation which had one effect of eliminating my shyness, yet I still remain rather silent not out of shyness, but rather because I realised four things: One, I’m still not as clear as I should be vocally. Second, people just don’t understand me. Whether I speak, or write, or whatever… they just don’t understand me. Third, I cannot speak clearly in loud places. Fourth, I love to go out with people I know (whether individually or in big groups), but I don’t like going out in big groups with people I don’t know. I don’t like it solely because I am most comfortable when I know people. That way I can have meaningful discussions and not just small-talk.

For a while (from 16 to 18) I was a bit of a legalist in my Christian views. I got saved at 16 and I think I took it a bit too far in that my two best friends started to get the wrong idea that I am telling them they are doing things which are wrong because I’m cold when in fact it was because I really cared. This is a significant point which I’ll touch on later.

Since last year I’ve been studying international politics at university. This year the Best Friend and I stay(ed) together at a flat near varsity (though he goes to a technikon). Last year I was really holed up in my room – cut off from everyone. This year I wanted to explore, but as I didn’t have a car it was a bit difficult. More than once I talked about this coffee place or that pizza place or this restaurant or the museum or a park and so many times did I tell him of movies coming out that we should watch… yet rarely did we go out. Once we went to a mall, but he was so hasty to get back. Only at the end of the year did he suggest we try out that pizza place, but at that moment I was broke. Instead, when we did eat out it was always at the same damn place he liked.

Before I continue I need to sketch a brief account of his personality. Describing him is a very difficult thing so I’ll stick to only the points relevant to this post. He, along with my other best friend, always talked about going out (though they rarely did) and always said things other guys would say. I recall how in school they said I should “get out more” and “live a little”. He would say how he would do all of this or that on vacation, but the one time he went with me to the coast he always slept until late, watched DOTA videos on YouTube constantly and disliked being at the beach. Now I love them both so don’t think I’m insulting them, but that vacation showed me that in terms of being alive and “going out” he is a hypocrite (the same happened at different vacations with him).

Are you beginning to see the problem of the perceptions here? In both the cases of the vacation and our flat? In his eyes I am the “dead” one while he is “outgoing”. Yet that’s obviously not the case. The exact reverse is true.

A short while ago I played Counter Strike with my other best friend. He wanted to play a competitive match. I don’t like them because of their seriousness and having to talk to serious unknown people especially as I have a slight speech defect. When I declined he said that I should “meet more people” and “come out more”. Then I thought, he is the one stuck at his mother’s home studying a pathetic diploma on digital art at a private college while I’m at university, about to go sleep over at a friend’s house so we can go watch a live show of Bethel, buying and making my own food, going on errands with a female friend of mine through the neighbourhood, and having serious dicussions on the existence of Good with an atheist friend of mine. And that does not even include some “lesser” friends. But I should “get out more” and “meet new people”.

Perceptions, damn it. I realised that every time he asked me what I was doing I replied “studying”, “reading” or “wasting time”. So in his head he got the idea that I was locked up all day. The same applies to the True Friend. The only time he sees me is when I’m in my room in the flat. I finish way earlier than he does so I’m almost always there when he is. And obviously neither is he aware of my activities on campus.

Slightly off topic but on topic, the last year or so my faith in Christ has become more real and more… patient. I’m more empathetic, less legalistic (though still committed to Right and Wrong) and generally more helpful rather than bashful. Now keep in mind that the True Friend is also a born-again Christian, though very lazy in this regard – never willing to change or seek out answers. Yet ever time I would try to steer a discussion with him to the topic of God, I can sense the fact that he still sees me as that legalist of yesteryear. As some Pharisee who acts all holy with some spiritually condescending view of him. And that is not the case at all.

You may or may not be aware of this, but there have been enormous student protests in South Africa and as a result my classes have been cancelled for a month. As a result I am at home while the True Friend is at the flat as his classes restarted this week. Yesterday he said that he might want to stay at his aunt’s house as he does not want to stay there alone. Tonight I received a message “What are you doing tonight?”. After I said that I’m not doing much, he replied by sending a photo and explaining that he is at a bar nearby the flat with “friends”.

This made me think about two things, or three actually. One, I might be totally wrong but I think he is thinking about how he is “getting out” while I was always “boring”, but I might be wrong here so I won’t hold imaginary ideas against him. Secondly, what was he trying to prove?  That he has a life while I do not (not that I agree)? Thirdly, who the hell are those friends and why does he call them “friends”? The only friends he has over there are two or three of his fellow students at his college, far away from that bar. Also, why tell me that they are his friends? Is he afraid that I will think he is going out of boredom and therefore I need to know that he is really just going with “friends”. Or is he trying to say in a more general sense that he has friends I’m not aware of? I noticed how he likes to purposely hide things so that when I pique him on it he can show I am so totally wrong on who he is.

It is so damn hard to get through this wall of perception they have of me. And I’m totally aware of the fact that I also have some on them – you might even notice some of mine in this post. The difference is that I’m aware of the fact. Why can’t they just see me for who I am?

A year ago I had a friend of mine had a whatsapp status which summed it up clearly: Your perceptions are the windows through which you view the world. Wipe them clean once in a while.

This Disturbing Friend Needs a Hug

Today I’m gonna talk a bit about Michael (not his true name). Michael is a slightly short guy, but well built. He has blue eyes, neat blond hair and he wears glasses. In school he used to read a lot of novels, such as Percy Jackson, and he liked to play cheap games on the tablet. After school he went to stay with his grandmother while he worked first as a waiter and then afterward as a type of clerk. This is my superficial description of him.

In school he was a bit bullied emotionally. Our school didn’t really have the normal beat-em-up kind of bullies as almost all of the boys knew each other and respected each other. Yet it seems that some guys never truly respected him. They made jokes which were a bit too mean in my opinion. I wasn’t his closest friend, but I considered him my closest friend after my two best friends. There was my two best friends, a semi-best friend, Michael, two or three other dudes, then the rest. However we had a lot of classes together so we talked a lot and during exams he would come over to my house where we would play Civilization 5.

During that time I gathered that his family was slightly disconnected. His mother was a bit too harsh on him. The fact that he slacked off at his schoolwork didn’t help.

I saw a guy who was misunderstood and disrespected.

After school, as I’ve said, he moved in with his grandmother as his parents wanted him to pay rent. Understandable but harsh. His grandmother isn’t much better. She treats him as a bit of a child and they always have a bit of attention. When he came to sleep over, she would talk me as though she is leaving him in my care. I mean come on, he was 19 already. Keep in mind that he could not afford a car, so he was totally depended on her. She wasn’t all bad; she would drop him off at the mall or my house or whatever. She was just a tad bit too controlling.

During this time I noticed a disturbing characteristic of him: he is always looking for love. This would be okay if he wasn’t constantly befriending schoolgirls from our previous school on Facebook. If he wasn’t always messaging them and trying to get in a relationship with them. To make it worse, it’s not like they were only 18 while he was 19 – I can to an extent understand that – but rather 16 or 17. That’s a bit young. I mean they are still in the school life: homework, sport, exams, parties, etc.

Last year he had one girlfriend which he met once in person after which they hooked up… but only on whatsapp. They never saw each other except for that one instance where she visited him while he was in hospital. When he came over he would often be messaging her as we chatted (?) or played a game. At times he would even call her and set her on speaker phone. I noticed how he was often being a bit domineering and guilt-tripping her. He would be like “Oh so that’s how it is” or “Sorry I couldn’t do that” and she would fall for it. He also tried to do the same with me, accusing me of never making time to chat with him. Saying things like “Yes we could’ve if you invited me” and stuff like that. To an extent a valid criticisms, but I saw through this controlling urge of his.

In this time he talked about plans for the next year; about how he would like to go to university. But at the end nothing happened.

This year he improved a little a bit. He discovered… on Facebook… another school girl whom he started to date. But at least this time they often met in person, so I was happy for him. Needless to say they also broke up after a while.

At one time he invited me go to a cinema with him and four or five school female friends. Initially I said yes, but then I thought: I’m a twenty year old dude studying at varsity and now I want to go watch a movie with a bunch of 17 year olds? A bit creepy? So I dropped that.

He also talked about how his dad, whom he refereed to as his “sperm-donor dad” or something similar, just showed up in his life and offered to finance his education if he lived with him. All in all I’d say he doesn’t have the perfect family.

And here I end. I have this awful trait of just simply forgetting about people. I can only focus on two or three special people at a time and by the time that I had more… time… we hadn’t spoken in months. And here we are. Writing this just made me remember his current state and actually made me miss him, especially as I think I was his best friend – I’m an awful man. I hope all is well with him.

Every now and then I still see him adding new schoolgirls as “friends”…

Perceptions – Part 1

While thinking about a topic for what I want to write, I came up with the word “perceptions”. That word is too deep for a mere rant. So I’ll have two parts to this post. Part 1 is a rant concerning a friend, and part 2 will be more about people generally.

Part 1 – The Rant

I doubt anybody actually follows this blog, but you do you’ll notice how many posts I’ve written about The Best Friend. All the things he’s said which are insensitive or down right rude.

A few minutes ago I was watching 7de Laan, an Afrikaans soapie. It is actually getting good, something which hasn’t happened in a decade. While I watched I got a message from The Best Friend telling me that he has a female friend which is a pagan and that she worships the goddess (or is it god?) named Nyx.

Now paganism is not my thing – yet. At the moment I’m delving into ancient Greek religion. Only after I’ve mastered that and gained an understanding of other ancient religions will I give more thought to paganism. But I know G. K. Chesterton in numerous books, specifically The Everlasting Man, talked about how paganism is a corruption of mythology. Unfortunately I have weak ability to remember things I’ve read.

But anyway, I didn’t know. So he said that Nyx is the goddess of the night. Oh, Night. That beautiful, deceptive, yet peaceful time of day. One Greek goddess (whose name I forgot [I told you I have a weak memory]) is also associated with the night. Being both beautiful and promiscuous.

You may have realised how I keep delving off point here. I don’t mind. I just want to speak my thoughts. I always associate seemingly unrelated things with a topic at hand. 

Then I asked him, “How do you meet such weird people?”.

He answered: “Do you really want to know?”

“Enlighten me.”

“I come out of my house.”

Now here comes the topic of this post into context: perceptions. This best friend of mine has a very limited view of my life. In fact, I know this sounds a bit arrogant, but no one knows the whole part of me. I feel as though I’m some 8-sided, multidimensional being and everyone only ever sees one side.

Let me give a few examples. The other best friend – the “Braai Friend” – frequently played video games with me online during weeknights. What he doesn’t know is that I only played to spend some social time with him. That I consider it a necessary – though admittedly fun and somewhat addictive – waste of time which I’m willing to sacrifice to spend some time with him. Yet in his mind he believes I am a frequent gamer. The sad part is that this is, in a way, a self-fulfilling belief: playing games with him does make me more interested in games. That’s why today – after weeks, after spending time with him and the Best Friend playing games during the weekend, I played a bit of CS: GO by myself. Do you see the thing here? He thinks I am what I am not.

The second example: the best female friend I got, on the blog I call her The Precious Friend, is a more emotional being. Because of that I tend to be more emotional with her. To talk about people and problems and deep Christian ideals – though never intellectually. Our conversations always have a tinge of sincerity and… emotion. She in turn sees my more caring part and assumes that I do not like to go to a club or a party or whatnot. Now this is slightly true: I do not like to be in the presence of too many strangers. Yet I LOVE going out with my friends to chat or see a movie or whatever. A part of me NEEDS it. So she almost never invites me. She doesn’t get the whole part of me.

Yet another example: my best friend on Campus… what shall I call him here?… David. I’ll just call him David. He is an extrovert and an extremely friendly guy. Yet he is way more emotional than I am and in some aspects he is slightly more childish, especially around his parents, yet he is more grown up than I am when it comes to engaging the world (he is currently doing kickboxing and tutoring and going to parties and who knows what else). He, in turn, thinks I love to go out and meet strangers and socialise. Yet again, slightly true. I like to go out, but like I said the “strangers” part bothers me. He also only catches one side of me – a true side, but not the whole of me.

I suppose I am to blame for all of this. I tend to try to accommodate people to such a degree that they think me very much like them, and they fail to try to REALLY get to know me because they think they already do.

With this in mind I will get back to the conversation with the True Friend. He is an extremely complicated person who is also extremely predictable.

There are two parts to him: Who he IS, and who he THINKS he is. You may think it unfair of me to assume that I know him better than he knows himself. Perhaps. But for this post I’ll assume I know him better than he knows himself. Perhaps I’m arrogant and wrong, or perhaps I have a sense of judging people and I am right. Who knows?

Who he is

He is the kind of guy with an above normal intelligence when it comes to questioning dogmas like feminism and atheism and “normal” people behaviour. But he won’t assume the same skepticism of his own beliefs. He is the kind of guy that really cares for a girl and likes love songs, but also frequently thinks and talks about sex. I remember when he met The Precious Friend (who is also a devout believer in Christ) he talked about sex positions. I mean come on. He is the kind of guy which is friendly and will offer you coffee or cook for you. He will watch scary YouTube videos with you, or feminist cringe compilations or funny stuff.

I’ll use his weekly routine to make his character clearer: During the week he and I stay at a flat in Pretoria which is kinda a student residence. In the morning he will drive early to class. From what I’ve heard, there he chats with two friends and he might go somewhere with them during the day. When he comes back he immediately switches on his computer whereafter he will begin to play DOTA or other games until he either goes to sleep or goes on YouTube. This is important: he plays games A LOT.

I have to throw something about myself in here again. So many times I’ve wished we could go out. You see I don’t have a car and public transport is non-existent to so I’m stuck with him. So many times I’ve wanted to go eat at this pizza shop nearby, or go to that huge mall to watch a film or go eat something, to perhaps visit a museum. For months I’ve thought about how I would join a tennis or table-tennis club. I would go out and pick up David or The Precious Friend and just go somewhere.

While I’m stuck at the flat I try to utilise my time. “Using time effectively” in my definition means gaining new knowledge. So I would either watch debates on Christianity or immigration or whatever, or I would read and read and read. I would read books by G. K. Chesterton or C. S. Lewis or classical books like The Iliad and Dostoevsky. In my eyes playing games by yourself is an extreme waste of time. I’m not against it. It really is fun. I just feel as though I am called upon to use this precious few years at university to gain knowledge so I can become someone.

So my friend isn’t someone to just spontaneously go out, even though he can be extremely sociable.

You might think I am unfair for only accounting for what happens during the week and not the weekend. You would be wrong. This weekend I spend a while and a night there along with him and the Braai Friend. There we… played games. CS: GO, Star Wars, DOTA, League of Legends, etc. We did go out to get a pizza and we watched a part of Brother Bear. Besides that there was this one moment when they wanted to jump into the pool – even though it is winter. But really, the games are the main focus. How I wished we could go to the mall and watch a movie! Especially Lights Out! Hell, I like it if the three of us are at some place with some mission, especially at night.

And this isn’t just a once off thing. The Braai Friend, with the exception of last week, visited him for the last 5 weekends. Furthermore, from what I’ve heard, things are usually the same each weekend. His mother provides the food and never bothers him. The only thing which sometimes interrupts him is his dad who might want him to throw away the trash at a garbage dump or to help him in the garden.

Throw in his family’s high middle-class/low high-class financial position and you get a very comfortable life.

Who He Thinks He Is

Who he think he is, is a lot different to who he is. He sees himself as outgoing. Someone who likes to attend parties and to meet new people. Someone who will play a fool at a beach by playing games or chatting up girls or doing crazy things. Yet at the same time he wants to be a “mysterious, silent” type of guy. To give him credit he can be sociable if he wants to be and he can be crazy in the presence of the Braai Friend. But he’s also much calmer and more intellectually deeper around me; we often discuss deeper things in life.

Last year gave two good examples. The first was when I went with him to what is a dam but also a sort of resort. There we went on the boat or swam or fished. I remember how lazy he was in the morning. I wanted to go for walks around the resort, but he would prefer to play pokemon on his gameboy. During the day, and especially at night, his younger brother and I would want to go swim at the swimming pools where there are other people and ice cream and life, but he wouldn’t be in the mood. Don’t get me wrong: we swam a lot. My point is that I wanted to “go out” way more than he did.

A week later we went to Margate, a famous holiday beach destination during the summer. But this time he came with my family. Once again, he would sleep until very late – once he slept until 1PM. Then we would walk a short distance on the rocks or walk to the Margate beach. At the latter place he was frequently the first one to want to go back. When we did, he would sit the whole time and watch professional DOTA players on YouTube on his cellphone.

Again, don’t get me wrong. I still enjoyed it immensely. It was great to have him there, especially when we went for walks at night. I also miss watching a scary movie on the laptop with at that place. My point is the same as the first one: I wanted to get out more often than he did.

After these two vacations I realised that  am not the “boring” guy they always make me out to be. If anyone is dead, they are.

Finally I come back to that conversation on the goddess girl where he said: “I come out of my house”. Do you understand it now? He, and the Braai Friend (and I’ll get to his hypocrisy on this subject another day) still see me as the one who doesn’t like to go out. Who doesn’t like to have fun. Who reads all the time (although I struggle to read a book in two weeks). Who doesn’t like parties or eating out. In this aspect I can only say: they are me and I am them.

During the week when he leaves I am usually still sleeping. When he comes back I am reading a book. He does not see the part of me going to campus, having political discussions with this friend who became an atheist. He doesn’t see how I’m watching these debates about God’s existence so I can save that friend’s soul. He doesn’t see me chatting with the Precious Friend about life and death and emotion. He doesn’t know about how David and I would go eat a pizza at this place or go have a coffee at that one.

All he sees is a guy reading – at the flat – the whole time. Perceptions.

In answer to his message: “I come out of my house”, I replied:

“When?”

He didn’t answer for a while after I said that, but while I was writing this post I got a reply:

“Often.”

Yes, of course you do. Of course you do. Just keep on believing that. Keep on confusing the man you are and the one you think you are. Maybe in Part 2 I’ll give my reasons for why he believes he is someone he is not and why he keeps on believing I am who I am not.

P. S. I know the normal reader will, after reading this post, yell out to me “Hypocrite! You complain about your friends having the wrong perception of you, yet you only have YOUR perceptions to go by!“. I understand. I do. You are right. The difference is merely that, unless I’m delusional (and I very well could be), I am right and they are wrong, because I am constantly aware of what they do and what they say while they are not even aware of themselves.

But yeah, perhaps it’s just my perceptions.