Peer Pressure As Means Of Development
A while ago, I experienced a behaviour shift: I started caring more about books, about social workings and my own mental health. At the time I didn’t notice this, but in hindsight it comes as consequence of the people I chose to surround myself with. A few things that changed within a few months that I’m grouping together as one “shift”:
- Stopped spending as much time on Reddit/HN, read more of Lobste.rs and my RSS feed.
- Started using Twitter again, and aggressively curating my feed to be full of wonderful weirdos that make me think about different things than I would on my own. This also made me acknowledge that I’m far more at home with queer people than I thought before. (Think the “not a real queer” loop)
- Joined DRMacIver’s book discord. This actually got me interested in fiction again for the sake of a fun time, which I had not done for some years.
- Started cultivating more 1:1 based friendships and relationships, rather than relying on a community I’d been a part of for some years now.
- Joined a coffee chat once a week that is full of interesting and frighteningly smart people in an interesting area I know little about: safety science and resilience. This is organised by Jessica DeVita, who’s a wonderful person, and it’s a great atmosphere all around.
The common thread in all this is that the people I’m interacting with have traits that I find desirable, and thus, inspire and indirectly peer-pressure me into exhibiting them: Reading a lot, talking about ‘strange’ topics, living my ‘weird’ interests and intereacting with the people I feel at home with. This has been a wonderful change for me, and it helps in something that would otherwise be absolutely inducing crushing depression: Job hunting.
I also think this generalises into a means of self-improvement that is often touted but rarely understood: The people around you shape you, and if you don’t like who you are, change your environment. I feel like after all this I’ve understood what it means, rather than what it says. (This disconnect between the insight you gain from applying it and parsing what the words say is one of the more frustrating divides, but alas)
I’m happy with where I’m now. Maybe in the future I won’t be. I know what parts to change then. It makes me look forward to seeing what kind of weirdos I can find that make me a better person, in the end, in their own way.