I went out drinking with co-workers.
There were only 3 of us, one Ukrainian guy, and one Canadian girl.
Now, the occasion was ordinary.
It was just an usual out-of-work drinking that I usually do.
Drinking with co-workers is always fun, I get to know some work gossips and get to build some good relationship with my co-workers.
Yet, this one was kind of different.
It actually made me open up my eyes, and allow me to see everything in different perspective, especially on things about my own self.
Three of us went to a bar.
It was early evening, around 7 or 8 P.M.
We quickly ordered some drinks, and began to talk about things.
We talked about work gossips, about funny things, about some arguments.
It was pretty much a typical drinking talks that you could imagine.
But, that night, there were different things happened.
Or maybe, I should say, different conversations.
As the night goes on, the drinks got us; we weren’t drunk, but it was the point where we started to be honest to each other.
And they were mocking each other, and the guy was mocking me something that I can’t quite remember, but the point is, he said something at me.
And I replied nothing, I was just smiling at him.
“You pretty much don’t say anything when I shot at you.”
“Don’t just sit there, say something?”
“Why should I ?”
“Why shouldn’t you?”
“Look, I noticed something about you: you don’t really reply anything back to people when they say something to you. The question is: why?”
“And there’s another thing: you pretty much don’t bring anything new to the table when you are talking to someone.”
“You, my friend, have a bad habit of mimicking someone.”
“Not every single time, but it’s like this: When you are faced with someone that is more intimidating, seems like you tend to really trying to do something to that someone. You are trying to please them.”
“It’s like this, we’ve been talking since minutes ago, and you’ve been saying nothing– all you’ve been doing is just repeating almost the same thing that any of us said. And I don’t know why.”
“But I think, it’s because you have a weak personality.”
“It’s not necessarily because he has a weak personality.”
“Maybe it’s true that both of us have a stronger personality than you, but I really don’t think so. I saw that when we were talking in the office, you’re good, and you’re capable of formulating your opinion perfectly.
“Maybe you’re just intimidated, I understand. Not to mention that he is the head of certain teams in the office. But you need to learn not to do that. Like he said, you might want to impress someone, but it won’t work with us. Arguably, it could only work with people that have lower intelligence than us here.”
“But it won’t work with us. If you do that, you will present yourself as a person with weak personality, or worse, someone with no fucking personality.”
“All you’ve been doing is just fading to the background, man.”
“Let me give you a question: what would you do if, let’s say, you have to present something to four of our top people in the office?”
“I don’t need to give you the names, but I think you know who they are.”
“What would you guys do?”
The girl answered first.
“I would do whatever it is that I need to do to ace the presentation.”
“But I would honestly try to keep my relationship with four of those people. Not necessarily means that I will try to please them all, no.” “Let’s say that one of them didn’t like my presentation, I will say to them: ‘sorry that I can’t meet your expectations, but I want to know why you don’t like it, I want to talk to you after this presentation. For now, let’s carry on.'”
“See that? I was being quite evasive, you could say. I tried to move the pointing out session about why he didn’t like my presentation outside the presentation session. I don’t want the others to be able to find out why.”
“Well, for me, I would say whatever it is that I want to say at that presentation. I don’t and I won’t care in whatever it is that they want to say. If they want to say something, then they better say it.”
“Because by then I will shot back at them with my own argument.”
“Now it doesn’t matter what you do. We already have our own thought that you will try to please every single one of them.”
“And I could see that you will fail.”
“All we’re saying is, show your color.”
“We don’t really care about who you are, really. We do think that you’re a good person, you’re a good friend. I don’t and I don’t think he cares about it.”
“Look, man, even if you’re quiet as hell, I would be able to trust you more and accept you more as a quiet person rather than being fake and mimicking people like this. Don’t do that.”
“Don’t waste your time trying to be someone else, or trying to please everyone, you won’t achieve anything with that shit.”
“Maybe you could say that we’re too harsh on you. But don’t get us wrong. This is a safe environment. Very safe. We are outside work. We are friends. We say these things right in front of you and not behind your back. You could say that this is a psychologically safe environment.”
“We are free to say anything and discuss anything here.”
We paused for a moment; it was already 2 A.M.
I called the waiter and ordered some more drinks.
I sipped my Old Fashioned cocktail, and muttered a word.
They slammed the table repeatedly and laughed out loud.
I guess they were drunk, or maybe they didn’t expect my response at all.
“Now this guy gets it!”
“I love conversations like these. Why don’t we drink to celebrate?”
“We’ve been drinking since 9 hours ago.”
Two hours after that, I was on my way back home.
I was thinking very hard on the things that they said to me.
It feels so ironic– I said to her again and again that if all she’s doing is just trying to make everyone around her happy, in the end, she will be the one that’s left with unhappiness.
Yet, I was doing the very same thing to myself.
I heard that people won’t understand and/or won’t even look at the wrong things that they’ve been doing since the dawn of time.
I guess that saying is just pretty much true.
But thanks to that, I now understand what I should do to myself.
I know how to grow myself even more, and be a better man than that day.
Yes, I have a pile of debts that need to be paid.
And the only way to pay those debts is just to sort them one by one, and understand why own faults and pitfalls, and fix them – again – one by one.
I remember that you were afraid to drink alcohol at that time.
You said you were afraid because you don’t understand what will happen.
But, as you can see, with the right people, right things will happen.
Well, I have to say that I’m grateful that I have good co-workers.
And yet some people – those two people – around me said that I have shitty workplace filled with shitty people– in midlife crisis, one of them said.
With their acute cynicism and skepticism, I don’t have to wonder, though.
Like I said, people will only focus on the bad side of things and usually overlook the good things or take the good things for granted.
Sad, isn’t it? Everything is defined by what it doesn’t do.
We, are defined by what we don’t do– we build our integrity around it.
And we are always defined by what we don’t have.
Humans are stupid– yes, I’m human, and I’m stupid.
Love, after analyzing myself, let me tell you why I’ve been like this.
Honestly, I don’t think that I always try to please everyone.
But like I said, we are usually oblivious to what we subconsciously do.
It’s like this:
Imagine that I am right now being loved by 99% of people from my workplace– from every floor and every division available.
I don’t know if it’s true, but I honestly think it’s possible.
Anyway, suddenly, this week, I decided to just be myself and show off my personality– a social butterfly, a talkative bastard, a very quiet and reserved person, an extremely rude person, an asshole, whatever.
And, what will happen if, it turns out, from all of those 99% people, only 5% of them really like me and love me for who I am?
It turns out, only 5% of those people accept me as I am?
Let me honestly tell you what I think.
I don’t like being the center of attention, but I do like to have a good relationship with everyone, I want people to be nice to me.
And that is why I was thinking on what should I do or what would happen if in reality, only 5% of my co-workers like me for who I am.
I don’t want to be called an asshole.
I do want to please everyone.
I want to make everyone happy, yes, I fucking do, Love.
Here I am now, showing you another part of me– an honest one.
I’m showing you another piece of my hidden Legos.
Don’t cringe at me– I’m being so fucking honest here I don’t think I could say these things out loud in front of you if I were talking to you face to face over a bottle of beer right goddamn now.
I’m not proud of that fact, Love– I do NOT.
And I know that what I’ve been doing only lead me to disaster.
I’ve been trying to change it, but I just don’t know what to do because, like I said, I was oblivious to what I have inside of me.
Moreover, it’s a bad thing, maybe I was closing my eyes to that fact because I was ignoring it because I’m not satisfied with myself.
The more you know about yourself, eh?
And here I think that there are only few things about me that I don’t like left for me to change so I could be the best version that I could be.
I guess I was being overly naive.
Love, I don’t know if you have the same problem as me, but I think you do.
And, well, maybe no one ever points it at you, but I hope someone will. Wait, I just did it at that first sentence in this paragraph.
I don’t know if you’ve been ignoring it.
Or maybe you’re aware of it but you are keeping it hidden with that care-free facade that you put as a mask that you show to everyone.
You know what I honestly think? You need a person that will tell you everything that is bad about you and all.
Alright, whatever, you could look at me now and say:
“Why don’t you fucking do that?”
But I’ve been doing it, Love; I’ve been doing it since.
Yet all that you say to me whenever I point them out is:
“No.” or “Nope.”
I know that you were kidding, but all I was perceiving is that you were actually ignoring what I said and just took it for granted.
Yes, I could be overly serious at times, but I do hope that you won’t take what it is that I said to you for granted that those words goes through from your left ear to your right ear or vice versa.
Love, understand that I am your safe environment.
When all else seems so fake, stupid, and wrong, I’m here for you.
And I will always be real– I will be so real to you it almost feels like my words could pop out of your monitor, or maybe I could even jump in to your room at any given moment because of how honest I could be.
I will and always will say whatever it is that I find wrong with you right in front of you, and not gossiping things about it with other people.
Maybe I might look like an smartass, okay, I understand.
But, like I said, do realize that people – that includes you and me – will usually overlook their own mistakes and wrongs.
And, whenever someone say something to you about you, all that is left is just for you to filter it to determine whether it is true, or not.
Keep an open mind at all times, and you will be perfectly fine.
I might not mock you and all, and I might not say it as harsh as what my co-workers did, or maybe even harsher than what they said to me.
But all I’m doing for you, really is just for you.
I do NOT and I will NOT ever destroy someone that I love.
Remember that I’m here for you.
No matter what.