Argument as a Conversation Element

I was listening to my second favorite podcast the other day, Roderick on the Line, when John started talking about his way of communicating with the people around him, primarily his friends. It struck a chord with me and I had to spend a few moments to reflect on what it meant.

I’m feeling the loneliness. I’m feeling the estrangement from having my primary way of engagement with people, traditionally being ‘hey, that thing that you just did, you fucked up, and here’s why.’ And that’s my primary way of talking to people, and nobody wants to hear it anymore.

– Episode 16: Cotton Candy Pink Poofy La-La. Starting around 28:00

Midway through college, I began to realize that my entire concept of social interactions was flawed:  well-socialized members of society didn’t troll internet forums and IRC because it was fun. They didn’t purposely rile up people that had the potential to be friends simply because it was much easier to make them irrationally angry rather than attempt to forge actual constructive bonds. I love arguing contrarian viewpoints with like-minded people just to test my theories, and I tend to overuse sarcasm when making obtuse points about social issues, but that just causes a life full of brief skirmishes and lots of grudges.

Making friendships into something more meaningful than just arguments and saying “well, actually” has always been a challenge for me, and I like to claim that I’ve mellowed in my mid-20s. Every day I try to be a better person than I was the day before, and it isn’t always easy.

It’s not about being right, it’s about being around the right people. Thanks for sticking with me.

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