People People

Are you a people person?

In conventional terms I suppose a “people person” is someone who is good around people, can socialise even to strangers, and is basically an extrovert. It’s strange that at the top of my head, I can’t think of the opposite of a “people person”. Is it a “self person”? A “books/games/whatever that is not people person”? But it’s not as if there is a dichotomy between people and TV shows or games or books. I like reading and watching dramas, but I still like being around people too. So I guess the opposite of a “people person” is in essence “not a people person”.

But we all need people in our lives. Even the most shy person (short of people with the personality disorder known as schizoid) has friends and loved ones. They could be confined to simply his family, or he may have a few equally shy friends, or maybe — like most hikikomori nowadays — online friends. Even a child who doesn’t meet people will come up with imaginary friends, or personify his toys. Everyone wants people to talk to, or even just hang around with. People may say they don’t need anybody, but they will lead a really lonely life.

Some people are scared that if they trust people too much, they may get hurt when they lose these people. That is true, and we are not always able to hold onto all our friends all our lives. Perhaps it isn’t even healthy to do so. Like everything else, friends should ideally change — making new ones at every opportunity, and losing those that gradually drift away. It can be hard to maintain a friendship — really, it’s hard enough maintaining a relationship — for years, and not all memories can be retrieved time and time again. People will change as they grow older, most times without knowing it.

However, it’s also all too common for people to have fewer friends as they grow older. Usually a person in his mid-life years (about 35 to 40 or so) has the fewest friends, as everyone gradually settles into marriage and busy themselves with children. They may make new friends at work at this time, and their old friends will slowly fade away, maybe meeting once every few years. I don’t quite know what I’ll be like by that age. I used to think that I would be on Surreality forever, with all my friends intact, but would that be practical once I go out to work? Would I have the time for everybody?

Truth be told, I don’t quite want to get out of this age. I’m not sure what the future will hold, but I’m quite sure it wouldn’t be any better than how it is now. Then again, I guess I’m obstinately pessimistic about some things in my life!

One kind of loss that would be hardest to bear would obviously be death. Old people can tolerate the idea of their friends dying very well (by that age, family is always more important than friends) but to younger people, a friend’s death is both shocking and saddening. The idea that you can never talk to the person anymore, or see them, is very painful. I particularly like talking to people, so that part is what would be the clincher for me.

Who are the most important people in your life?