Wow, you've changed.
Wow, you've changed.
I was out two weekends ago and wound up talking to an old friend from High School. After a bit of banter, she introduced herself. I interrupted half way through, reminding her that we had hung out in high school. She was flabbergasted. She truly didn’t recognize me. She went on to explain that it wasn’t my looks, but more how I carried myself and communicated my passions. Then I heard these key words, “Wow, you’ve changed.”
I had the same encounter with an old middle school friend of mine about a year ago. I was downtown partying with friends and he immediately recognized me. When I started talking about life, his eyes glossed over. I was different than when he remembered and could feel his apprehension to the conversation. That’s when I heard the same phrase, “Wow, you’ve changed.”
Even though these reactions were opposing, I maintained a massive appreciation of there meaning. I had actually changed. I wasn’t the same person they remembered from high school or junior high. My personality was so different that I was semi-unrecognizable. My friend from middle school might think I sold out and became too business oriented while my friend from high school might think that I became more motivated and goal-oriented. The truth is that they’re both right.
Change is Social
Change isn’t just about you, it’s about those around you. The majority thrives on safety. When given a choice between risking their current paradigm or playing it safe, they’ll play it safe. I see this happen all of the time. One of my friends decides to make a major change in their life only to end up being dragged back into their old ways. The sad part is that the people dragging them are usually their friends. Let’s face it, we don’t like change. Change is uncertainty and that creates discomfort. When someone in our social circle decides to make a change for the better, do we really support it? How many of us are guilty of expressing support verbally, but when it comes down to action, we drag that person right back into their former shadow? I know I’ve done it. It’s what we expect of that person. It’s their persona and the pattern of behavior that we’re used to. We never seriously believe that they are going to change.
To truly change is hard. It can take years. One baby step at a time. You won’t just be fighting your own bad habits, but you’ll be fighting your friends’ as well. It’s fucked up because I’ve had a few friends go off to self-help seminars. They thrive in a new environment because there’s no set expectations for their action. All of the people that they’ve trained (whether you like it or not, people treat you how you train them to) to treat them in a certain way are gone. They come back rockstars. Over time, though, the rockstar status fades to back-up singer, then to security, then to roadie, and finally they find themselves back in their regular mundane lives.
My point is that change is as time-sensitive as it is socially-sensitive. I had an entirely different social network three years ago. Now I hang out with people who are like-minded. If you want to change, don’t just manage yourself, manage your friends as well. Tell them right away what you’re trying to do and expect resistance. You might even have to let some of them go but in the long run you’ll change for the better.
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