People are Mirrors

May 16, 2008

I always thought that I was independent and that other people could affect me if and only if I allowed them to. But lately I’ve been wondering if my assumptions were correct. This article is the result of my observations and my lazy reluctance to look up scientific facts.

I am beginning to think that people’s influence on one another manifests itself daily, and that it does not rely on any previously established relationships between individuals. Instead, it works on a much lower level, one that often eludes consciousness entirely.

Here is a couple of examples:

  1. If I see a girl with wide eyes, narrow eyes, or a “stuck” expression on her face, such as of surprise, I automatically attempt to paste the same expression on my face. This is not at all related to any feeling of attraction I might experience, on the contrary, the reaction is stronger when the combination of features is rather repulsive. It is probably not limited to girls, but I guess that shows where my attention is
  2. If I listen to my math teacher yelling for five minutes, I get angry myself and I feel the acid rising in my stomach. This happens in spite of my efforts to take things lightly, stay uninvolved, and try to laugh it all off.
  3. It’s difficult to keep a neutral expression when I see a wide smile on a face that is full of light. It’s strange. But it’s still difficult to be the first one to smile
  4. After a certain time spent with a person, even if I happen to dislike them, I begin to mirror their accent and manner of speech. This is especially obvious to me when I stress the ‘r’, or utter expressions that I never thought I’d willfully use.

All this is intriguing, since I don’t normally want to mirror anybody. Perhaps it is an automated mechanism to aid in communication, but it’s pretty scary that it happens without my conscious consent. Where’s the on/off switch dammit?! It makes me ask myself who I really am.

On a lighter note, Copycat by The Cranberries just came on shuffle. How appropriate!

Copycat, copycat, copycat
Copy copy copy copy yourself
Copycat, copycat, copycat
Copy copy copy everyone else

One Day with the Naked Truth

January 20, 2008

Here’s the latest thing off my crazy-things-to-do list: spending a day answering all the questions thrown at you truthfully and completely. In other words, pick a number of people who you think you could trust with your darkest secrets, and ask them to come up with the most difficult / uncomfortable of questions for one day. The only rules are: you cannot refuse a question, and you cannot lie.

I tried it this Saturday with my family, and it proved to be a pretty interesting experience. Although it didn’t get as ugly as it could have (lucky me?), it was surprising for all of us in many ways. I will admit that it was difficult to stick to the truth sometimes, and that’s why if you want to do this you should first convince yourself that you will live through it ;) It will probably look a lot less threatening retrospectively.