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I remember seeing an ad many years ago.  It was for one of those technical training schools that guarantee to make you a medical assistant, truck driver, or the like in just a few short months.  You know the ones if you have ever watched TV during the day on a weekday.  This particular ad showed candidate after candidate sitting across from an interviewer after having been asked what they bring to the table.  The answers were a supposedly shocking and disheartening parade of “I’m a people person.”

I remember that ad so vividly because I remember thinking at the time that I am not, in fact, a people person.  It would never cross my mind to give that as an answer.  I can work with people.  I can be professional and friendly in my demeanor when interacting with colleagues and customers alike.  But, all of that stems from a standard of professional conduct that was instilled in me by my parents and my early wok experiences.

The truth is, in general, I don’t like people.  I know that sounds absolutely terrible, but hear me out.  It isn’t that I am walking around bearing some simmering loathing toward the rest of the human race.  I just find that in today’s society, more often than not, people are content to let others dot their thinking for them and follow the prevailing wind rather than do the work necessary to achieve and act upon independent thoughts and ideals.  We have, in my experience, abdicated the responsibility of learning and analysis for the panacea of sound bites and spoon-fed ideas.

This intellectual ennui that has infected so many levels of our society makes having a conversation with most people among the most infuriating of experiences.  Logic and reason have no place in these discussions because they would challenge the predigested norms that we are fed on a daily basis.

The interesting thing about being someone who harbors a certain ambivalence towards most of my fellow-man is the effect it has had on my personal relationships.  The filter of my frustrations has made it so that when I look at the people I choose to surround myself with it makes me smile.

These are good people.  More importantly, they are people who have not, and will not, succumb to the pressure to simply fit in with the accepted social, intellectual, and ideological baselines that are becoming more and more prevalent in the world today.  These are people who challenge me intellectually.  They are people who go against the “me first” grain that has infected many of my generation.  They see beyond themselves by doing so create a family beyond blood ties.  Together, there are no obstacles we can’t stare down because each of us knows if we stumble the others will be there.

In today’s world such ties are to be cherished.

If my family are the rock on which my life was built, then these friends are the strong foundation that keeps it standing.  I can only hope that everyone has such solid supports.


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