How often do you meet new people? Not just regurgitating scripts during transactional interactions with humans, either, how often do you allow yourself open up so that new people can meet you? That does require the vulnerability of letting your guard down, inviting people to see your ego’s grit, and possibly getting hurt. “The Story” will focus on many people and encounters, centering around Trishna (left) and John (right), almost as guides through their world.
Spoiler Warning Scale: Minor (philosophical character-building!)
Both characters grew up in semi-isolation without many friends.
Trishna faired better, with a good family, siblings, and the overall sense that there are good people out there. She was teased more than her peers, ostracized, and thusly preferred to study or stay at home when possible. She might latch onto customer service more than most kids during her early childhood because of positive attention from strangers. She builds a more foundation of self-respect through her early teenage years, which is solidified when she chats with John.
John’s harsher childhood forced him into self-reliance, almost to a fault.
Those behavioral patterns lead him to be initially cold with strangers through his childhood. When he begins chatting with Trishna and her family during his early teenage years, he starts on a journey toward psychological unwinding, enabled by these interactions with decent human beings. He is emotionally reserved when he moves to Trishna’s family’s farm, during the events of “The Scene,” yet he eventually learns to open up thanks to familially positive encounters.
Especially with Trishna’s goofball service dog Pollyanna.
While the summer on the farm certainly does help John with some of the basic feelings of belonging, it isn’t until they move off to college that both John and Trishna experience a more broad reality. They’re able to learn more about themselves independently, more fully understand their relationship, and meet plenty of new people. They even make some new friends. John becomes friends with Float and Quest through skateboarding. Both will have other friends.
This presents the eternally fascinating question: how do we make friends?
The first step is meeting new people. I’ve met perhaps thousands of people since leaving my own similar childhood. It’s been easier for me to quickly become close friends with people, except notably, at concerts. Much of it does involve dropping my guard down. It can hurt when people betray my trust. The natural inclination is to avoid that entirely. The thing is, though, that acquaintances, friendships, and relationships provide so much more value than any disrespect.
There are things deep down that John and Trishna like or dislike about themselves. If John shares his deep-rooted fear toward others with Trishna, she can help, only if he’s willing to let bits of that ego-boulder get whittled away by the healing waters of their relationship. Situations like that can go too far if the other person is villainous or manipulative.
That said, meeting new people can help develop ourselves.
|Sources: My personal experiences
Inspirations: A recent conversation about relationships, my friendships, and my general thoughts.