27 July 2005

Conversations, Connections, and Human Relations

Today, I had another intellectual argument with my sister. We have those a lot, those intellectual masturbation sequences where we argue about sociological, political, environmental, and a plenty of other issues. This time, it started about my attitude towards my bank manager. She overheard me on the phone talking to my bank manager. She made a comment where she expressed amazement on my usage of the polite form of Tagalog when talking to the bank manager, saying that it is not necessary since the bank manager is a person who is obliged to serve the clients. I responded that she was being too rude and arrogant, demanding to be served. Well, it evolved into another debate, that is, dealing about my emotions.

She said that I am too rational and logical, calculating every move I make, without giving leeway to my emotions. She says that I don’t have any emotions. That I make every step in human interaction a calculated move. She also complains that all we talk about are intellectual stuff, no talk about emotional things, the things I call “mundane” and ordinary.

What she is saying is partly true.

I think that every step I make is based on logic and reason. I think that every step I make in life should be functional. I don’t believe in doing things without reason, since they violate the principle of economy.

Maybe, it has something to do with how I was brought up. But then, it is a wonder since both my sister and I grew up in almost exactly the same environment, but she has an entirely different point of view than I have.

Our parents are diplomats (that’s the reason why my parents are living in Vienna). Approximately half of my life were spent outside the Philippines (that’s why we consider ourselves fake Filipinos). I’ve met different people from different parts of the world, and experienced different cultures, some are so dissimilar from our own.

My sister says that I do not have emotion, if I do have them, I do not show them. And I guess I agree. I tend to clam up, shut off, myself, and not show my emotions. I don’t know, but I think I feel weak if I do so. I tend to keep things to myself. I have a few “super-friends”, a moderate number of “bestfriends”, and plenty of “friends”. My super-friends are the ones that know most about me. But I have to admit, there isn’t a person out there that knows me inside out, completely. These superfriends I have know a lot about me, but all of them know a part of me, not the total me. Perhaps, they don’t have the exact amount of knowledge about me. What one person knows about me differs from the other.

It is because I believe that my personality is like a puzzle. All a person can see is one facet of my personality. And if you piece them together, then you see the complete picture. But then, nobody pieced them together, even my parents. I believe that they don’t know me that well, completely. I just don’t feel comfortable disclosing every detail to them. At least, in the cyberworld, there is still a bit of anonymity, so I can talk about this. But in the real world, I don’t know. Perhaps, there is only one person, one person, that I know of, that knows the most of me. If you’re reading this, you know who you are.

My sister doesn’t like the “puzzle model” personality. But I think it suits me best. I have different modes. I have the “academic” mode, I have the “behaved son” mode, I have the “cool buddy” mode, I have the “respected member of the church” mode, etc. My sister thinks that I am fooling the people who have contact with me. But I think that they just don’t know everything, and I don’t have the responsibility to tell everything.

Maybe it is because I grew up in many different places that I have this viewpoint. I have a lot of friends. I am rich in friends in quantity, but poor in quality. Like I said, very few know me all the way. Most are light friends, but my super friends are countable by the fingers of the hand. Maybe because I felt that it would be useless to attach myself to my environment, because sooner or later, we will move again. I guess moving is hard for me, in the beginning. I remember hating the fact that we were to move to Osaka in 1995 because I would leave my friends. So, in order to numb myself and make the process easier, I decided not to take deep root, so when the time comes to move again, it would be easier to uproot myself.

I am uprooting myself in 2 weeks and 6 days, and replanting myself again in a different place. I guess having this attitude makes it easier. But then, I see the side effects. I don’t have super close friends. Because I don’t plant myself deep enough, I don’t get that much of a confidante.

That’s why I don’t show my emotions that much. I tend to think reasonably, logically, instead of following what my heart says. I sometimes doubt whether my heart still says something. Or is it all my brain that’s making me move.

I reviewed some of the past conversations with my sister. Most of them deal with intellectual stuff, no stuff that deals with the ordinary. She says that whenever she initiates an ordinary conversation, I show signs of being not interested and would go like “Hmmmm.” Period. Nothing else. But then, I can’t help it, it doesn’t interest me.

I believe that every act has to have a function. I read other blogs because those blogs interest me. I write in my blog because writing seems to be an outlet and it lightens myself a bit. I think that every act I undertake has a function. And she disputes that. She says that I am too structuralist-functionalist, in sociological terms. But then, reason has so much appeal to me.

She says that I am a robot. But I say that robots are programmed objects, while I actually think.
To think. That is a powerful tool that only humans can do. But am I using it too much?


  1. Well, not to be rude or give the typical answer - but who really cares what anyone may think. I know, it's hard to not care what others think. We're all different and we will all connect on different levels, that's all - and that's a good thing. As far as emotions - you don't have to show them to everyone...

    The only confidante I have is my spouse and we're so close it isn't funny. I'd love to have some friend who were that close but I can't seem to connect with anyone well enough... not because I'm hard to get along with -maybe I'm just to picky. LOL

    I uprooted my self from the only home I knew back in 1998 and moved 2100 miles away from home... it was a big adjustment but I loved every minute of it. I think you'll love it when you change/move and will adapt and things will be different, in a good way.

    My brother and I are pretty close but we never had intellectual conversations and such - we mostly just cut up with each other and talk about family issues (not between us but between other family LOL no, not gossip, just talk)

    Anyway, don't want to bore you... ;)

  2. No, you didn't bore me at all.

    I know that people connect at different levels, but when I get that kind of criticism from a family relative, no, make it a CLOSE family relative, then I get to rethink and ponder again. It's just that she is my sister, a blood relative, and I find it easier to connect to some of my friends than to her.

  3. Oh, and she cites that fact (the fact that I can connect easier to some people rather than to her) as a dysfunctional behavior on my part. Families aren't supposed to be that way, she says.

  4. Well, I don't know many silbings who connect really well. I connect with my brother well but it's more of we're friends and we get along well and can hang out ... Sounds as if maybe she just wanted things different - so ask her what she wants to change ;) I really have no better advise other than to realize the situation and let it be. Well, has she always been this way or is this something sorta new? if it's new - maybe she's going thru a phase... ?

  5. Come to think of it, the situation is something new, in a sense. When our parents were still living with us, she had my mother as a confidante, talking to her about everything, from homework to crushes, I mean everything. Then come January 2004 when my dad was assigned to Vienna. So they left, leaving both of us here. I wasn't so mushy mushy before, and now it seems that she is seeking her closey closey relationship with her mother from me. And since I cannot provide it, the spotlight shines on my "dysfunctionality". I'm just trying to live every day peacefully, enjoying the good times we have, laughing together if we can, but enduring the bad times whenever bad situations arise.