wilde_stallyn: (Fall Out Boy - the red hair!)
[personal profile] wilde_stallyn
I've been pretty down the last couple of months, partly regarding my continued unemployment, but also largely around my social relationships.

I've always been quiet and fairly introverted, but I used to have a much easier time making friends than I have in the last few years since I moved to Vancouver. I've become so awkward, like to the point where that's my foremost feeling in pretty much any social situation these days.

I think there are two parts to the reasons behind my awkwardness, and the first is that I suck at making conversation. Conversation was never really my strong suit, particularly in groups, but I think I used to be reasonably engaging one-on-one at least. Now it's like I didn't really talk to anyone for the first year I moved out here and I've forgotten how. Also, it seems like the older I get, the more people want to talk about day to day life and how things are going, and honestly, I really hate talking about my life . Especially when it feels like I'm have the same conversation over and over again with everyone I know. (I don't mind hearing about other peoples lives, though, I just don't like talking about mine all the time.) I'd much rather talk about more abstract things. I mean, I can go on at length about fandom stuff, or fiction, or science, or horses, or sociology or the logistics of some crazy plan to like... become pirates or assassinate Bob Villa or something, but I rarely seem to have those sorts of conversations anymore. And when someone asks me about real life stuff, I tend to forget to reciprocate and ask them about their life, even though I know intellectually that's how the conversation is supposed to work, because I have a hard time imagining anyone actually wants to talk about how their life is going. And thus I fail. /o\

The other piece is around social boundaries of others. I'm constantly worried about overstepping other people's boundaries. This is largely an over-generalization of a decision I made sometime around the end of high school to make a conscious effort not to make others uncomfortable. Though it may surprise people who have only known me for the last few years, but will not surprise anyone who went to high school with me at all, I'm actually quite a touch whore. My personal space bubble is small and quite permeable, and I enjoy cuddling and casual touch with most people I generally like. However, at some point I realized that most people have significantly stronger boundaries around touch than I do, and in an effort to keep from making anyone uncomfortable anyone I decided not to touch anyone without explicit invitation. And because I'm not the most forward person, that basically meant that I stopped initiating touch pretty much entirely.

Over time that became ingrained in my psyche and expanded to all sorts of other social boundaries. Unfortunately, while "I will respect everyone else's boundaries" looks good on paper, it's really hard to form close friendships with anyone if you're not willing to initiate contact outside of whatever context you originally met them for fear that you will be overstepping the bounds of your relationship. And since I rarely speak in large group situations it's not like there's much reason for anyone else to be interested enough in me to initiate contact themselves.

...Yes, I do realize all this is a really just a highly rationalized fear of rejection, but uh, this is generally how it manifests itself in my brain. :P

But navel-gazing aside, the real point of this post is that I've been a pretty bad friend the last while, either because I haven't thought it was my place to get close enough to people to be a good friend or because I've failed to respond to people trying to get in touch with me because I really don't want to talk about my life, as the case may be. There are definitely those of you who will be getting a separate personal apology but I'm sure I've not been a good friend in other cases without even realizing it. If so please let this post be both an apology and an invitation to give me a kick in the pants and tell me I've been a jerk.
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February 2012

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