Sunday, August 21, 2011

A Response to Josh K.

On my last post you asked me a few questions:

Some other questions?

Do you do the things that you are asking of others?
Do you take the time to fInd out how those around you are doing?
Do you set the tone of the conversation, or do they?
Do you care about those around you?

An answer to your question maybe, and that is;

Maybe you're not a people person.
Maybe, just because others feel the need to always have companionship or people around them, all the time, doesn't meen there's something wrong with you.

Go with the flow. Just be.......

Just, my 2 cents,

My purpose in answering these questions is twofold. Mainly, it is my belief that nothing can be truly understood until it is broken into smaller pieces and digested one bit at a time. By answering your questions, I am hoping to break the greater issue into smaller chunks in order to isolate the root(s) of the problem. Secondarily, since you asked the questions at all, I assume you might take some interest in their answers.

Q: Do you do the things that you are asking of others?

A: What am I asking of others? I do not necessarily think that I am asking much. I am not asking anyone to take an interest who is not genuinely interested. That is not something that I have any control over. Essentially, I figure it must be something that I am or am not doing that makes me less appealing than other people. If I were more interesting or whatever it might be, then they would take more of an interest in me.
For the majority of my life, I have not had to look for friends. They just came to me. I did nothing, and people walked up and made friends with me. Thinking back, there are certainly explanations for it. It has nothing to do with how interesting or uninteresting I was, but the fact that every last one of us at the time was part of a captive audience. In the school system, people who otherwise would not interact with one another are forced to congregate in a space where it is impossible not to meet someone. And because I was and still am a very agreeable person, people seemed to have no problem spending time in captivity with me. In being stuck together, some people got to know me and liked who I was.
Outside of that world people have complete control over who they interact with. Now, I do not even know where to begin. I have no idea how to go about building a relationship because every friend I ever had spoke to me first.
I have thought about what it takes to make a relationship quite a lot in the last couple of years and what it seems to come down to is reciprocation. No one likes to be the one who is always planning things to do, or the one who always calls everyone else. There needs to be effort from both sides. Unfortunately, insecurity sometimes comes across as lack of interest and when I never called anyone to get together, it was not because I did not want to, it was because I did not think that anyone actually cared enough to want me around.
Finally, I have managed to get a little better at that, and people seem to enjoy that neither one of us is doing all the work.
Suffice to say, I feel like I am doing a pretty good job of trying to reciprocate. I care deeply about the people around me and I really do want to get to know them better...but my insecurities make me wonder if anyone really wants me around as much as I want them around.

Q: Do you take the time to find out how those around you are doing?

A: I work in customer service. My last three jobs have been jobs in which I stand on the opposite side of a counter and help every last person who walks through the doors. In some ways working these jobs has helped me to understand how hopelessly flawed we all are. Because no one is perfect, no one is too scary to talk to. But at the same time, I see so many people in a day that it is hard to feel genuine as the one-hundredth "Hello, how are you today?" is coming out of my mouth. Of the people who I see outside my job, I really do try and find out how they are, but as they rightfully should be towards someone whom they do not intimately know, they do not feel the need to spill their guts to me. Again, the age difference paves the way for an immediately parental relationship in which I am no longer on equal intellectual ground.
I honestly want to know people. When I ask how someone's day is going, I genuinely want to hear that story and listen to everything they have to say. It has often been my biggest disappointment that no one is as fascinated by my stories as I am by theirs.

Q: Do you set the tone of the conversation, or do they?

A: When I am at work, it is usually me who starts and maintains the conversation. Outside of work, it is usually other people. I do not have a lot to tell. Other people have a lot to say. I do not mind listening and contributing, but they can talk about whatever they want with me.

Q: Do you care about those around you?

A: Yes. If there is one thing I believe I do too much, it is care for other people. Which is also why it is painfully difficult for me to feel so disconnected from everyone here. If I did not care about the people around me, I would not necessarily need to know them at all because it would make no difference to me. But because I care, I am lonely.

Friday, August 19, 2011

One is the Lonliest Number

I do not immediately want to address the fact that this is to be my first post since March.

Every so often when I am alone I remember that once upon a time, I used to write nearly every day. I look at my blog and see that with each successive year, I wrote less...and less...and less. This cannot possibly be the source of my problems, but it was undoubtedly detrimental. Writing was something of a sacred ritual for me and I considered it my only reliable catharsis. Now I only write on occasion, an ocean of excuses ready to drown the slightest urge to put pen to paper.
Lately, I have been looking a little closer at the people around me, trying to figure out what it is they are doing that I am not. Most people have a passion...something they are particularly good at and devoted to. These are the people who seem to have a circle of friends and acquaintances constantly buzzing around them, whether in person, through the telephone, or over the internet. There are always people seeking them out.
It seems that in order for people to be wanted, they must possess some quality or skill that draws others to them.

Whatever it is that allows people to make meaningful connections with one another, I do not think I have it.

Next month, I will have been in Seattle for 2 years. 2 years, and not a single person I would call "friend". My significant other is the only person who I really know here, and he has introduced me to most of the people I now know. But, his friends are exactly that...his friends. They say hello, and some joke with me, but the interactions are always surface level. Some of these people I have now known for nearly 2 years, and still...nothing more than a shallow conversation. Of course, there is a massive age difference between me and many of the people I am most frequently around, so it undoubtedly presents some mental obstacles.

After awhile, when no one calls you on the phone to ask you how you are, when no sends you emails asking you what you are up to, when no one except your co-workers, your parents, and your significant other tries to contact you, it gets a little old.
And naturally, I have to start wondering what it is about me that makes me so inaccessible. Do I just not care about any one thing enough to get in with the people who care so deeply about any one subject? Am I not genuine enough? Am I impersonal? Do I converse incorrectly? I just can't understand it, and though I know life continues on and things aren't really so would be nice to have a few friends. People who check up on me from time to time and ask me how I am, or invite me to go do something...

What is it?