Monday, March 5, 2012

How to…

…alienate ‘friends’?

Be a perfectionist. That’ll alienate most of them. But since not every one can be one, hence the need for this post!

The next best alternative for anyone (from my personal experience) is to correct them of any & all mistakes that you think they committed at first glance. Even if they are not mistakes (or in the very unlikely case, that you were wrong) by the second glance, don’t let that stop you; you want to alienate them, don’t you? Yes, that’s the spirit! Let me give you some sample lessons now.

Let’s say you made a software (which is awesome in your opinion) or you use a software (which is again awesome, otherwise why would you be using it in the first place?). Force them to use it (the trick is to call it β-testing) or rant about how it has features that others don’t (like it’s easy to access via another awesome program which is bundled with it!) and basically make them believe if they don’t use it, their life will have been for naught. After a while, they’ll just stop talking to you about anything technical or will change from Windows to Linux or Macs your preferred OS to another (obviously inferior from your point of view) OS. Congratulations, you’ve just alienated some of your buddies.

Let’s say they want you to review some of their works (I’m specifically referring to literary ones, but I guess this can be generalized to pretty much any work of art, too) and give them ‘helpful suggestions’ or if you’re more comfortable with swear-words, then ‘constructive criticisms’. What you never do is say, “I don’t have time” or shrug it off by saying that’s good or make some such generic comment. What you do is take an hour off your ‘busy’ schedule and peruse (those who think this word simply means ‘browse’, should consult a dictionary right now) their work. Then, change everything that you think will improve their work with red ink, mark everything that you understand should be improved by them (as it’s too below you to even point these out) with green ink and mark everything that you don’t understand with blue ink (assuming the original is in black ink). You may like to use circles, lines and boxes to emphasize that you have indeed perused the article. After that, email the article with more comments on the layout, format, fonts, etc. in the mail itself. (If you think this is going overboard, did you forget our agenda? We’re here to alienate people… Keep focus! Don’t get distracted.) That’ll alienate most of them right away. They’ll thank you (while cursing you from within) and never ever ask you to do anything like that again. But some are made of thicker skins and they’ll send you a second ‘draft’ (obviously in your eyes; they’re probably thinking it’s the best they’ve ever written!), now you peruse over it for only half an hour and follow the same colouring scheme as earlier (believe me there are always errors to point out, even in the Nth draft as N→∞). After you email this ‘edited’ copy back, you won’t hear back from them again. Hell, they won’t even write back with the ‘final’ copy attached saying that, “Due to deadline issues, they’ve already submitted/sent to whosoever was entitled to read it and can’t entertain any more revisions”. Congratulations, you’ve just alienated your ‘best friends’, ‘close relatives’ and anyone in between that relationship spectrum!

Let’s say you wrote something and want others to proofread it. Assuming, others haven’t read the previous paragraph and you are the epitome of a thick-skinned person, just keep editing & sending drafts even when they’ve definitely stopped reading your emails till the deadline hits you. Congratulations, you’ve just alienated the same set of people as above including your publishers.

Let’s say you make a cryptic comment and they wish to know what it means. Do you blurt out a cryptic statement (again) as your answer? Yes… NO! No, you’ve not been taking my lessons seriously, have you? You simply refuse to answer, as simple as that! Congratulations, you’ve just alienated anyone you can think of.

As soon as you internalize these sample lessons concerning actual everyday scenarios, you’ll be on the straight road to become a master of loneliness. As and when that time finally comes, you’ll have just alienated me and Congratulations to you for that achievement.

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