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The Dark Tower: Screening & Other Thoughts

By Andrew Burgon / phoenix@projectfellowship.com
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October 28, 2013

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In the third part of the Dark Tower series I just want to touch on what can happen when you power on in your friendship endeavors despite the fact that your current circle of friendships may be depressing. Provided you are spurring on your own growth as a social being there are some unforeseen beneficial things that can happen. They include new abilities, things you become aware of and a shift in your thinking.

Golden Vision

I have gotten to a stage where I no longer see the Dark Tower nor am I troubled by the amount of passive people out there.  That is partly due to the good friends I have in my life now. However, I just don’t see the Tower. That’s because of ‘golden vision’. Passive friends become a non-issue because you become adept at seeing promising new friendships where ever you go and you gravitate towards them.

Golden vision is a heightened state of awareness that I found myself slipping into towards the end of Project Fellowship. It drew heavily on the many distinctions I had learned concerning friendship as well as those that I had picked up when socializing . Combined with certain social skills it can play a very beneficial part in the search for good friends.

People are signal emitting beings. We are giving off signals when we say something and do something. We can even give off signals when choosing not to do anything. We really can’t help ourselves.

When you enter a room where a social group is meeting-up the room is being flooded with these signals. In any group situation you enter there is a kind of esoteric and virtual book called the Book of Signals that most people are oblivious, too. I call it by this name because if you are astute at picking up these signals it’s like having a magical social reference book that materializes in front of you. It’s pages open to you revealing many things about the people in the room. The most important pages in the book to me are those that deal with friendship potential.

For example, I go to a special social event with the earnest desire to establish the best friendships possible. As I survey the room my mind automatically highlights the best prospects in the room and puts them in order of who I should approach first down to last. The age of those in the room and my experience and intuition initially play a large part in this.

As I listen to the people around me the order may change. For example, I’m an Australian expatriate living in Taiwan. If I hear an Australian accent I may go to that person first as we have something in common. If you seldom meet someone from your country there can be an extra dose of rapport when you do so.  I find myself also tuning in to the conversations around me. I’m listening for signs of common ground and will gravitate towards them. I’m also looking for conversational inroads.

I listen intently to what people are saying.  It reveals a lot about them. Sometimes too much …

In my conversation I would aim to find common ground with them and will subtly reveal things about myself to help establish rapport. I also look for clues as to what they are like socially.

I am very aware of how they are responding to my presence. It works like a sixth sense but if I had to break it down into what my mind is computing it would include these. Their facial expression and amount of eye contact. Are they easily distracted by the presence of others or do I have their full attention? How much enthusiasm and warmth are they exuding on this first encounter with me? How much interest are they showing in me? Are they making a good effort in engaging me in conversation? How much time do they spend with me? Just the tone of their voice and manner can in some cases speak volumes.

While first encounter signals can be misleading  the greater your powers of discernment the more likely you are to find your mark. Consider those rare individuals called close friends. They are actually generous with the clues they leave concerning their identity. Elevated levels of warmth, enthusiasm and initiative are a good sign. Tenacious eye contact. Sincere selfless interest in you. They may seem really pleased to meet you and may take the initiative to meet up with you at a later date. If you had time to chat you will note the feeling that you really did make a connection with that person. These are just some of the things that set them apart. In the following weeks it becomes obvious as they have a tendency to camp on your doorstep! Lol

Golden vision is like wearing a pair of goggles that not only highlights promising friendships in a golden aura but darkens out people who I’m unlikely to meaningfully connect with.  It’s day and night compared to what I was like before.

Social Confidence

Social confidence is another thing I stumbled across in my determined pursuit of friends. It’s the opposite of powerless and helplessness. It gives you the boldness to take action and have a profound effect on your life and circle of friends.

During Project Fellowship I was growing from strength to strength. One day a certain situation was bothering me concerning passive friends. For the first time in my life I thought, “Why is a person of my social skills in a poor social situation like this?” The thought took me by surprise. Completely out of character to my old self. I have had that thought a number of times over the last decade and it has always spurred me on to do something.

Opportunity Cost

You’ll start thinking in terms of opportunity cost. “Why am I spending time with people like this when I could be spending time with people who appreciate my friendship?” “Why am I settling for so little?” It becomes more pronounced the moment good friends enter your life.

The way I handle the many friendships that come into my life should be at least in part be congruent with what I want to achieve socially. I need to set things up in a way that will bring me the results I desire.

Again, I wish to stress that we are talking about a situation where our social circle of friends becomes overwhelmingly passive. Wining and dining a lot of passive friends is part and parcel of a large circle of friends. I’ve had lots of fun with friends of this type and many pleasant memories. However, there may come a time when we have to consider the opportunity cost and make a way for new friends to enter our lives.

The Power of Royal Suites

Focus on the critical inch. Your friendship heart is like a hotel with many suites. The suites good friends inhabit are the royal suites. We have a minimum amount of rooms that must be inhabited by good friends in order to feel satisfied and content. In my life, it’s three.

Having these royal suites filled has an empowering effect on your life. You may like me be quite content to spend all your social time with them as it is a joy and a delight to do so. Passive issues with the rest of your friends fade for the most part into insignificance. Letting go of troubling friendships becomes comparatively effortless.

Social Vitamins

I want you to think of your group of friends in terms of the qualities they exhibit towards you. Consider all the qualities you prize like warmth, enthusiasm, initiative and interest shown in you. These things are like social vitamins and we need a certain amount of each of them to be mentally healthy.

The interesting thing I found is that it doesn’t matter where it comes from just so long as you get it! Usually we are so hopelessly focused on the relationships that aren’t bearing the kind of fruit we want. That aren’t providing us with the social vitamins we need.

In hindsight, that is a mistake. I’ve certainly had experience at rekindling friendships that had gradually become more and more passive and distant. However, despite my encouragement I have in general found the response is rarely sufficient.

Resurrecting a troubling friendship to it’s former glory is a powerful magic I know not of. My experience tells me I must look elsewhere. Either to new friendships or promising friendships in my current circle of friends.

Circuit Breakers

It’s interesting that no matter how dark, dire and desperate your friendship situation is it will probably only take one or two good friendships to have a significant impact on the way you feel. This is why if I ever started feeling blue again concerning my circle of friends I would devote time to finding a circuit breaker friend.

If the lights go out in your home the first thing you will probably do is go to the circuit breaker box in your home and start flipping switches. Then the lights come on again.

I have found the same kind of thing happens with circuit breaker friends. Their presence and wattage is such that it makes the friendships that are bothering you fade away. Perhaps partly because you are now focusing on that good friendship.

Replaceable

In the past I use to hold onto friends tightly. As I learned to let go of indifferent people I noticed that the people who replaced them were just as nice or even nicer. This is partly why I refuse to be clingy now. Letting go of indifferent friends is not a losing proposition. It actually can pave the way to a better circle of friends.
 
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