Tuesday, October 07, 2014

People, people who need people...

...are the luckiest people in the --
Wait.... really? Luckiest?

I am a person that hates crowds. I live in one of the largest/busiest cities in the world, and yet, I hate being confronted with masses of people as I attempt to go about my daily tasks. This means that I spend a lot of time muttering under my breath at the people who step off a tube train and just stop, or the ones that try to get on before people have gotten out, or the ones that stand on the left side of the escalators... but enough about tubes. I mutter about the people who are walking down the street and then turn around on themselves and walk straight into you, the people that dawdle, the ones that walk three people across on a sidewalk and don't even try to allow room for those coming the other way... and my list goes on.

But for all the muttering and cursing that I do regularly under my breath about people as a whole, it is not as common that I have thought about the impact that one or two people have on a smaller group. 

When in a large group, people are stupid. That is just the way it is. En mass, they react with herd mentality. No one is really individual and no one person affects the whole. And yet, I can feel very individual in that instance as I can go against the flow, make my own choices, and I don't have to worry as much about the emotional impact my actions or emotions have on the people around me because they are just a part of the whole.

But smaller groups, they get tricky. It seems that the smaller the group, the larger the impact of any one member. If there are five people in a room and one is in a terrible mood... the others will feel that much more than if there were fifty people there. Awkwardness, annoyance, unease, and uncertainty breed in small groups with one (or more) negative member. It is an instantaneous thing. Positive emotions seem to have a much lower contagion rate, but they still do have a stronger impact in smaller groups than larger ones.

So, do I, the crowd avoider, really have the right grasp on things? Should I allow the masses of people that annoy the bejeezus about of me a pardon? They give me an excuse to isolate myself in my own world, and they insulate me from the uncomfortable necessity of dealing with individuals at all times. If I were a crowd lover, would that make me more social in general? Would I see the positives in people more often? Or am I just forgetting that with human connection comes the risk of negativity - which isn't really that bad when you contemplate all the good things that can come out of actually interacting with another sentient being. I mean, my inanimate objects are pretty good at listening, but they are not the best conversationalists and most of them aren't very good at hugs.

Everybody needs a good hug every now and again, right?

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