How to Lose Friends and Infuriate People 1/3

I’ve noticed recently that fewer and fewer people are having conversations with each other.

It’s a problem.

So permit me to tackle it as one, small, impacting voice.

How to Lose Friends and Infuriate People

Usually, my musings about life, the universe, and everything are done in a small group enjoying breakfast which is then recorded and shared via my classical music podcast, Classic Jabber. 

On this topic, though, I went solo. 

Why?

Well, I’ve had some people who listen to my podcast say, “Where’s the classical music?” After all, they know how passionate I am about it, and that I desire to see the world become a better place through more accessible, inclusive and appealing live concerts (the ones without artificial amplification, that is).

But there’s more to music than music. 

Many performers have spent a lot of time, probably even decades, working on their craft, talking about the specific details, but because there is more to music than just the music, I like to talk about everything else.

Because very few people do.

Topics such as: for the human race, what is music? How does it affect us? How can we present it? How can we do it better? How can we share it with others? And what are people’s perspectives of it? Why is classical music, particularly, no longer part of everyday life, as much as it used to be, and so on. All of these topics contribute to the discussions that happen when I meet with my friends for breakfast.

But since we have been prevented from meeting for meals in groups like that, it seems society at large is losing the ability to converse. Maybe our ability to have discussions with each other has been deteriorating over time without my noticing because I make a concerted effort to keep listening and talking. Maybe it is as sudden as it seems. 

It just looks and feels like there is a lot of shouting going on. 

Everyone seems to be on the defense all the time, because they feel attacked. There’s a lot of pushing and shoving and anger being expressed. 

It doesn’t feel good, and an increasing number of folks around me are unsettled by the fact that a lot of people in the world are yelling, screaming, shouting, and stamping their feet, and are no longer communicating. There is often good cause to let off steam, but that’s a whole different discussion.

If you have read “The Righteous Mind” by Jonathan Haidt, then you understand what it is we’re talking about: that people seem to have this thing that they are absolutely, unequivocally, irreducibly right. Their perspective and opinion is the only one that matters, and boom! you had better darn well believe it. 

Well, that’s not a society. 

That’s not a community. 

And you cannot have classical music in an environment where there is no society or community. You’ve got to have other people participate in music because it’s a form of communication. 

Most people view music as the language of emotions, a way to express emotions. It’s a way to share emotions. It’s a way to help other people understand their emotions. It is a fundamental form of communication between human beings that doesn’t require words or symbols. But the point is, you actually need at least two people in order for music to mean anything. 

So with people literally pushing each other aside and just yelling and screaming and walking away, it’s very difficult, indeed, for any music to get out at all, let alone help people communicate. 

A lot of people are struggling

Yes, of course, we’re watching tons of stuff online, and you can listen any time you want to specific pieces of classical music. And although we know the in-person experience is very, very different to a recording of the same kind of music, you can still be affected by it. But a lot of people are struggling not having the in-person moments with music, including classical music. 

So we’re not communicating with each other right now using music, but what I’m noticing is that we’re also not communicating with each other generally, across the board.

So let’s address not so much that wonderful book, “How to Win Friends and Influence People,” but reflect what’s actually happening in the world today. And point out that we are losing friends. 

I have recently seen a number of people unfollow or unfriend each other on Facebook – friends who used to be best buddies and know each other well. But because of a new or particular ideology or expectation, they are choosing to no longer converse and be a part of each other’s lives. Instead, they are just pushing away everyone with a different worldview. It’s the opposite of what Dale Carnegie’s book was supposed to help with.

Which is where this topic comes from: “How to lose friends and infuriate people.”

Read more in part 2, coming soon.