4 months into my MBA program at Great Lakes, this post is the outcome of a sudden impulse to make sense of a pent up thought stream - to put it on paper and see if it is cogent. Well, it is for the readers of the post to judge!
I have met some intriguing characters here who never cease to surprise me with their behavior, their idiosyncrasies, their ability to confound, be unpredictable, fickle and funny. Here, I try to slot them into three broad categories, the good, the bad and the baffling! At the cost of sounding judgmental, I try to be as objective as possible. Nevertheless, perceptions do color and distort the manner in which one human being relates to another and it can't be helped. It is just that we need to strike a balance between viewing people colored by our perceptions and viewing them every time as if it is the first time we are meeting them, so that the view is not distorted by our earlier impressions.
The Good - The majority of the people I have met here and had the good fortune to establish friendship with. Warm, smiling, empathetic, accommodating my faults and shortcomings, knowing when I am down, instantly recognizing why I am happy, sharing their deepest thoughts and silly desires, a touch narcissistic, a tad inflexible and unyielding, very childish and suddenly displaying an enviable maturity, beautiful at heart, thoughtful and kind, caring and listening - these are people I want to be around, who don't mind displaying their true unvarnished selves with its sparkles and blemishes, the kind who make living every moment, a joy and a fortune to be thankful for! I sometimes worry and dread the moment of parting, perhaps it is inevitable and perhaps because it is how life is!
Knowing these people and having interacted with them, I can vouch that, "evil is certainly not the normal condition of mankind" as a Russian novelist put it beautifully. At the same time, we are also responsible for drawing these people closer, one would perhaps say, by chance or by destiny, though I prefer to believe, it is purely a consequence of our own behavior. We, by our own actions, become responsible for the kind of people we get drawn to!
The baffling - These are people who are extremely finicky - to the point of exasperation. Aspiring to be perfectionists but contented for the most part with mediocrity, aspiring to enjoy every tomorrow while bemoaning every living moment, they are confused about how they should respond to the most ordinary of circumstances. They seldom let their natural selves shine through, preferring instead a facade, a veil, to serve as proxy, thinking that others would be fooled by this little act of deception. They can be extremely kind one day, and extremely indifferent, the next, judging others every moment, drawing some more closer and alienating most others in the act.
When they don't put on a facade, they can be wonderful to be with, but when they do put it on, they expose themselves by their ingratiation, their sycophancy and their thirst for recognition. They are, at best, blinded by their own long shadows, mistaking them for reality and deluding themselves as a result.
The bad - These people are arrogant, fantastic actors, manipulative and grossly self centered to the extent of inspiring a sense of nausea. It is as if, I can see a few meters of wall that surrounds them and which moves along with them as they walk. People who have the thick skin to break those walls get along well with them and become their friends, while others experience the ignominy of being at their receiving end. Great acting and manipulation take an immense effort to sustain, gloss and make - up can at times, do a poor job of hiding grave faults that lie underneath. Sadly, this breed doesn't seem to realize that.
I have at times, to my immense surprise, seen the same person, be all of this - good, baffling and bad - and shuddered at the realization. It is then that I begin to take the first steps towards understanding people - indeed, our minds should have sufficient room to be surprised and perplexed. That is the key to getting along well with people around us!