Growing up I recall my mother didn’t like Madonna’s music but was rather impressed with her career. I seem to remember talking about the singer reinventing herself as necessary and seeing considerable success in doing so.

MYhmqpEOver the weekend there was Reddit Global Meetup Day 2013 and so I was out with my internet chums making new friends.

See? There I am in the background as Julia tries to dodge the overly powerful flash of her own camera.

It took quite some time for the after images to die away for me. Perhaps I too should have cowered from the light…

Back to the point – defining ourselves to others.

New arrivals get asked their names, not their usernames. The thing that many of them seem to forget is the fact that we don’t know them. Their name could be “Christoff Von Ludendorf”. The normal reaction would be “Call me Chris”, I would imagine, but what if they don’t actually like their name?

In introducing themselves they get the choice of how to portray themselves. We have no backstory for them yet, we don’t know anything at all about them. That’s their opportunity to frame themselves in a way they’re happy with.

How often do we hear people describing how they feel like they’re trapped in their own lives?

I personally don’t really understand. If you don’t like your friends, ditch them. Don’t like who you are? Change it. Don’t like people thinking of you as shy? Do your best to be loud and outgoing when you introduce yourself to the new crowd!

Of course, it’s not quite as simple as “change it”, but essentially that is the case. Make a decision and run with it – it’s easier than you might think. Every time you meet a new group of people that’s an opportunity to redefine yourself and create different expectations. By changing the expectations it becomes easier to be that person – others expect that of you from then on rather than expecting you to be like whoever you used to be.

Doing this has provided me with the most loyal and understanding friends I’ve ever had. Thank you, /r/Edinburgh. I’m going to miss you guys.

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