People Acting Like People

Take a seat. Let me ask you a few questions.

Getting interviewed is one of the primary functions for those with behavioral disorders. Doctors, psychologists, and therapists; they all get a piece of you. Personally, I always look forward to visiting them. They make me feel like I’m interesting.

The people in charge of social services eventually got a piece of me. I don’t know what they intended to evaluate, but I certainly wanted to make a good impression. Most of the tests they gave me came from previous exercises I had taken to measure IQ. I exceeded the evaluator’s expectations when it came to memory. Long sets of numbers were dictated to see if I could recite them. He ran out of sets after I repeated everything he had on his evaluation sheet. I can even remember the three words he asked me to memorize before the interview began; wing, ocean, and school (in that order).

The last half of the interview took the form of a casual conversation. My likes, dislikes, and talents were discussed. I’m not used to being asked questions about myself. He did like my responses, though. The breadth of my knowledge was made apparent. I had an opinion ready to go on every subject he brought up. I really wanted to impress him.

The evaluator’s report was delivered in a large envelope. His description of my personality was very complimentary and I received high marks in mental ability. It was in the recommendations section where I discovered a less than favorable review. He suggested I should seek employment in a place where I wouldn’t have to work with many people. Where did he get that from?

Bad Behavior

Do you like me? I think I’m an okay guy. I’m definitely a lot better than some people I know. Sure, I make mistakes. Doesn’t everybody, though?

I feel like every person I meet is just another interview. They ask me questions and measure my capacities. An executive decision is made on what to do with me. Sometimes I get a promotion. Most times I’m archived for later.

I try to give everyone a good performance. I eat my vegetables, go to church, and pay my taxes. What am I missing? When I ask friends to describe how I come off to them they either say I’m fine just the way I am or they give me a laundry list of complaints. I’m sure they all mean well.

Our behavior is defined in many different aspects. I will go over three of them: the mental, the social, and the emotional.

Mental Case

Do our brains determine who we are? Thoughts do lead to action. However, we change our minds all the time. How we think can be altered by our surroundings, the substances we take in, or the people we interact with. Is the brain just a mechanism to make our bodies do what we want or does the brain tell us what to do?

Memory is central to why we behave a certain way. We act on what we know. You know how to read because your brain can recall the lessons you’ve been given. Remember who taught you how to count? I can. My earliest memory was of the special education class I took back in kindergarten.

I can remember facts, figures, and films fine. Friends, family, and fun I forget. I cannot recall conversations with loved ones. Most of what occurred back in elementary school is a blur to me. The domestic part of life never stuck in my head. The only days that stand out to me from my early years are Christmas mornings. I can remember all the little details from those holidays. It’s funny what stays with you.

Social Menace

The greatest influence on our behavior is found in our fellowmen. Every example we encounter leaves an impression on us. We say hello because that is what people do. We learn how to act like people from people. Friends teach you how to be friendly. Family teaches you how to be familial.

People come in varieties. Not everyone matches up effortlessly. We choose whom we associate with based on how we view another person’s behavior. Don’t like somebody? Simply wave them away. Don’t like someone’s opinions? Act like they don’t have voices.

I love people. I love everything about them. They can’t be quantified. Each person is unique and ever changing. Why would I avoid them? Let us say I did choose to avoid them. What do I stand to gain from that? Should I count it a blessing when I go through the day without meeting someone new? Is anyone better off alone?

We all need people. Someone out there needs me. I’m not going to get better at working with people from a distance.

Emotional Wreck

How do you feel? Seriously, I want to know how. Where do feelings come from? We can feel either good or bad. The feelings can be either strong or weak. The bottom line is you cannot not feel.

No one can behave perfectly logical. What we do is because we feel like doing it. Feelings are reactions to the world around us. Stimuli will cause us to react either positively or negatively. Why? Because we care. You can’t have feelings for things you don’t care about. We cry when someone’s words hit home with us. We are happy when we see someone we love. Feelings reflect the things we deem important. Strong feelings for the important things, weak feelings for the little stuff.

I’ve been accused of being emotional before. Who isn’t?

The Diagnosis

The way I behave is a result of my experiences and what I’ve gained from them. People made me the way I am today. Not every experience has been pleasant. I’ve learned from the good and the bad and I’m stronger for it. However, it’s hard to get the practice you need when the experiences never come.

I can’t remember one story my parents read to me at night. Can’t recall a time when I spent the whole day with a friend because they just wanted to be with me. When coming home from school I would get excited if I saw my brother’s car because it would mean I might have somebody to talk to that day. I still am taken aback when people begin talking to me because I am unused to it.

I’ve done the best with what I’ve got. I slowly make progress each day. However, things haven’t got much better since kindergarten. People act the same. I could try to avoid people to make things easier for myself. I don’t think I will, though. You see, I recognize souls in need. I know which words make a world of difference to those who feel they might be invisible to the world. Someone needs to be the one to make a positive change. That change is not going to come from a person trying to act like people. It comes from someone who realizes he is someone.


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