Easily described as someone who is loquacious (or in other words… someone who doesn’t shut up), talking to strangers has never been an issue for me. Starting my university journey knowing close to nobody beforehand didn’t faze me. Even moving across the world, and starting my junior year of high school in a completely new environment, barely raised my heart rate.
I soon became friends with people who loved sports, and those who hated sports but loved eating (and not moving much), people who spoke in the Queen’s English, and those who could barely complete a sentence without the use of a ‘Singlish’ Slang (saying things like “It’s okay Lah!” and “like that lor” instead of “it’s okay” and “that’s what it is”), people who couldn’t imagine a life that didn’t involve some form of drinking and partying, and those who refused to drink an ounce of alcohol or step foot into a club. You get the picture. No two groups of friends bore much similarity, and it was rare for my friends from different social circles to mingle comfortably.
You’ve probably heard of the idiom: “Birds of the same feather flock together.” This simply refers to how it is human nature to be attracted to people who have similar ideals and beliefs as ourselves. That got me thinking – if my friends were so vastly different, and yet I felt equally comfortable with each and everyone one of them, who did that make me? Was I subconsciously pretending to be someone that I wasn’t in order to fit in, or did each persona that I embodied truly reflect a portion of my personality? If it was the latter, was it even possible to embody such a myriad of contrasting characteristics?
That’s when I realized that it was true that I shaped my personality based on the person that I was communicating with. The tone of my voice, my accent, my level of sarcasm or sassiness, the kind of activities I suggested doing, and many more of my own traits varied. Sure, not all of me gelled perfectly with the person that I was with, but a part of me did.
Not many people realized that my personality morphed so drastically across social groups, and while a part of me wished that I clicked perfectly with each and every person I talked to and hung out with, I came to the realization and understanding that fitting in a little with each group of friends had to be enough. Sharing a part of my mutual love for a passion with one group of friends while doing nothing but eating with another group of friends had to be enough. It didn’t mean that I was being fake, it just meant that a part of me truly fit in while a part of me didn’t. And that – was okay.