I think that a lot of people put too much value in social norms. I believe I’ve said this before, but I think we can make meaningful relationships with those around us if we go about it differently. The secret is just this: go about it differently. Too vague? I’ll explain.
We all have people we are close to, people we want to be closer to, and people we don’t want to be as close to. Humans are social creatures, so these things are bound to happen. But if I want to change how people view me, it must be done through careful handling. The word I’d like to use in this regards is manipulation, but since it has such a negative connotation to it, it is best to avoid that line of thinking.
First things first, doing what people expect you to do will have very little effect on how they see you. If somebody asks me if I want to hang out, and I respond predictably (whether this is in the affirmative or negative or even no response at all), this will not change the picture they have of me. If I usually don’t like doing certain activities, however, and show interest in it for once, they will be surprised and have to alter my personality in their head, albeit slightly.
So changing people’s perspective on who you are as a person requires a little entropy. If I don’t want somebody to socialize with me as often as they do, all I have to do is respond negatively where they wouldn’t expect it, and do it too often to be coincidental. Conversely, if I want somebody to spend more time with me or anything along those lines, I’d have to surprise them with things they wouldn’t expect. Show interest in things they don’t expect you to like. Buy them something they don’t expect you to buy. That kind of thing. (As a side note, in regards to buying something, it isn’t as important to buy them something awesome if its unexpected. People will think less of you if you buy them a bad birthday present, sure, but if you give them that same present when a present wasn’t socially obligatory, it goes a lot further.)
I’m not saying you can change people. Well, honestly I believe you actually can if you try hard enough, but this certainly isn’t the way to do it. I’m just saying that one way or another, being unpredictable will be certain to change the way others feel about you, one way or another. It’s just a careful application of this unpredictability that dictates how this will alter their behavior.
P.S. The weird thing about all of this is that I know a lot about how to manipulate people in theory. I know quite a bit of social psychology and things pertaining to it, but doing things in practice is a much different story. Being introverted means I don’t actually socialize very often, so it could very well be that I simply don’t have the practice that proper social strategies requires. One can read a book about how to drive a car, but having never seen a car in person would still make driving quite a challenge. Intelligence can only get you so far in this world. One must also have the wisdom to know how to apply it.