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Wed, Dec. 9th, 2009, 11:09 pm

It sure seems like we have a mad bout of Seasonal Affective Disorder going on here; more than a few people I know are facing personal demons or otherwise just feeling squished. I'm no exception.

I suspect most people know by now that I have this general insecurity that people in general don't like me. In most situations there's always this feeling that people are ignoring me. Or that they don't want me to be around. Or that I don't fit in. Or that nobody even remembers me anymore. Something along those lines.

I know well enough, though, that that's likely not the case. As with most delusions, though, that doesn't matter. The voices in my head eventually win out. I also know that it's a self-fulfilling thing; if I don't make an effort to connect with others, then I can't reasonably expect or even hope that they'll reach out to me or even remember me. It is hard to make that first step, though, when the first thing you think of afterwards is "eh, they probably don't want me around anyway."

Naturally, there's a list of people who don't stir up thoughts like that for me. But it became apparent recently that the list is shrinking. That's probably not a good thing. There's also the FB account thing, which while initiated because of my distaste for some of the stuff FB does, is sustained by this same issue. I also find myself thinking back to Hot Tub this year, where on the Friday, I got quite drunk, forgot about all this stuff, and ended up having what I remember was a good time (despite never getting in the tub), while the next day, I didn't, found myself feeling totally overwhelmed, and ended up hiding in a dark room in front of my laptop for good chunks of the night. Of course, in the end, I can't say I made any new connections, either.

I find myself in the curious position of actually being able to do something about this in a huge way. Aside from actually having more friends than I can remember (heh, how ironic), there are many events I can go to here to meet like-minded people, and so one would think I should have no problem making a pile of friends around here. Yet I'm scared to go to these things. No surprise, then, that I have the constant feeling that I can count the number of friends I have around here on one hand. (It's probably more like two hands, but I'm pretty sure it can't be much more than that.)

I guess I don't know what to do. Actually, I know exactly what I need to do, but I can't get myself to do it. I'm not even sure what it is exactly I want. Too little social interaction results in me feeling like this, but too much results in me feeling like there are a billion things that I really want to get back to doing. I have no idea where the middle ground is. (It's funny, because the things I can go to around here mix both socializing and hacking, so I could easily do both and figure out where it is. But then I'm still scared to go.)

Oh well. The computer to my left is almost done installing Solaris, and I can't figure out what else to say without making this even more pitiful than it already is, so I guess I'll stop. At least I can hide behind trying to deal with my big to-do list.

Thu, Dec. 10th, 2009 09:55 am (UTC)
lifeofmendel

Too little social interaction results in me feeling like this, but too much results in me feeling like there are a billion things that I really want to get back to doing. I have no idea where the middle ground is.

you're not going to a hit a point of too much if you're too scared to do even a little, yes? middle ground is something you'll more easily discover through action as opposed to speculation, and your opinion about what middle ground is could change once you act.

but it sounds kind of like an excuse anyway. rationally you understand that taking that first step towards more social interaction doesn't have to lead to a road of partying 24/7, but that line of reasoning is a good scapegoat for being afraid enough to not want to take that first step.

i suspect the key is to find a social avenue that either makes you comfortable so that you can not flip out about the big picture or find a social avenue that is somewhat uncomfortable but easily to retreat back to as an attempt to increase your comfort bubble. but it also sounds like you know this too, that you have an avenue in which you can resolve this, it's just a matter of dealing with the fear. not necessarily *overcoming* the fear, but finding middle ground with your fear too because it's okay to be scared, it's less okay to let that fear control your actions or lack thereof so completely.

Thu, Dec. 10th, 2009 07:54 pm (UTC)
zqfmbg

It's less an excuse and more an admission of hypocrisy, actually.

Thu, Dec. 10th, 2009 07:58 pm (UTC)
lifeofmendel

ah, yeah, that makes sense too.

Thu, Dec. 10th, 2009 08:08 pm (UTC)
zqfmbg

I also realize now that the last few things I stuck my head into were probably the most difficult things I could start with -- large groups of people who seem to know each other really well and who I may only know one or two of (wow, that's an awkward sentence fragment). In those situations, I really feel like an outsider trying to stick his nose into stuff. Maybe people are more forgiving of that sort of thing, but I can remember certain situations in the past in which I really honestly felt lost.

Thu, Dec. 10th, 2009 08:13 pm (UTC)
lifeofmendel

if you're just going as a straggler, then it can definitely be like that, but that's also a situation that i sometimes like to be in personally. that doesn't seem to be your cup of tea, but that's easy enough to fix by instead finding a context of people either small or large that can be held together by a common thread that you can feel like an insider to as opposed to an outsider.

Thu, Dec. 10th, 2009 08:20 pm (UTC)
zqfmbg

One would've thought there was a sufficiently common thread: computer nerds. But then, one would've thought computer nerds weren't so damned social. :)

(It's been on my list of things to do to stick my head into an SHDH. Again, though, there's the problem of dealing with the fear.)

Thu, Dec. 10th, 2009 08:28 pm (UTC)
lifeofmendel

i'd say that the stereotype of computer nerds has changed quite a bit in the past decade. not so many maurice moss's anymore. :)

*if you don't watch the IT crowd: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EiRxkFWb_3o

Thu, Dec. 10th, 2009 08:22 pm (UTC)
somelaurachick

I actually feel much the same way. Sometimes, as you saw when I was in CA, I really just want to play video games. But a lot of the time I genuinely want to be around people.

Added to my own insecurities about my social aptitude, however, is my extreme difficulty trusting people. So not only do I think that everyone secretly hates me, but I don't actually believe them when they tell me otherwise. It's a terrible place to be in. :P

BTW - we haven't heard anything from Palantir at all yet, and Tony's going to find out from a local company that he's really excited about today, so operation Move To California could be thrown out with its placenta today. Nonetheless, I still want to continue seeing you whenever you're passing through my neck of the woods and whenever I'm in yours. :) You are truly one of the few friends I can really say I still feel kind of close to after the absolutely insane SEVEN YEARS since we started hanging out.

...No seriously. Seven years. I was just thinking about this - it was 2002, and you and Matt were here for a Christmas party thrown by Tanya. You guys went to Illusionz, and so did I, and you saw me sitting on the Air Hockey table, and came up to me and said, "Hey, are you part of this whole thing? Because if you are, I'm sorry for ignoring you!" and then we introduced ourselves by BBS and real names. :P

But I digress. I will, as always, try and keep in touch the best that I can, and hopefully we can make good on that "let's hang out while you're passing through for the holidays" offer. :)

Sat, Dec. 12th, 2009 01:59 am (UTC)
zqfmbg

It's funny, actually; I was wondering if you were falling into the list of people who secretly wished I would go away. I guess not. :)

I'm still trying to figure out exactly what I'm doing, but I'm pretty sure I'll be heading up no later than the 22nd, and possibly earlier if there's more to do along the way. I can certainly come by and visit for the day or something like that. :)

Thu, Dec. 10th, 2009 10:52 pm (UTC)
firesplace

I kind of have an odd question for you, then...What need are you trying to fill?

That must sound weird, but I'm serious. When you say you're discontent with the quantity of socializing, what's behind that? Do you find that you want more people to go to [insert activity here] with? More people to invite you to [insert activity here]? More people you can discuss [topic here] with? ...Or is it just that you feel you 'should' have more friends?

I found that I'm seriously happy being a hermit most of the time. Every so often, I get a kind of 'no one likes me' funk going on...which generally seems to stem from a vague sense that I 'should' have more friends. Truth of it is that I already don't have enough time to keep up with most folks that I genuinely want to - like you! - and having more would just be a problem. ;)
OTOH, I DO want to meet more yarn-obsessed folks.

For what it's worth, I wouldn't find it an imposition at all if you stuck your nose in and I finally got to meet you IRL! I'm dissapointed it's not worked out in all the times we've passed through each other's stomping grounds. =D

Sat, Dec. 12th, 2009 02:03 am (UTC)
zqfmbg

It's a perfectly valid question, and I didn't think it odd -- I'm still trying to figure it out myself. I guess I want the option to socialize but the option to decline it as well. I also find myself envious of people who can go to a place and have a whole pile of people turn up because they're around; I never feel like I fall into that category. I suppose maybe it is just that I want more friends, but I'm not sure I want to do what it takes to make more of them, bad as that might sound!

As I commented to Laura, I'm planning on driving up to visit my folks over Christmas, and so I expect to be wandering through there at some point. I figure I want to be with my folks by the evening of the 24th, and preferably earlier (the 23rd might be ideal), but since I'm effectively off starting the 18th, that leaves a lot of time to lazily work my way up I-5. So I'm definitely going to be around. I presume in that space of time there's something that'd work out for you guys?

(And while I know some stuff about yarn, I'm definitely not like my wife, who was once obsessed with it... and is now obsessed with making it. Go figure. XD)

Sat, Dec. 12th, 2009 03:26 pm (UTC)
captainkira

My heart goes out to you, cause I am similar in many ways and I know how it is. If it's any consolation, my SAD has been far worse this year than usual, and many people I've spoken with have said the same thing. All I can suggest is to hang out to the close relationships you have. Since you're aware of your tendency to isolate yourself, you can take precautions to avoid doing that. This too shall pass, right?

Sat, Dec. 12th, 2009 04:32 pm (UTC)
sdanond

For what it's worth, I'd always wanted to know you better, but I imagine like me, we have no idea what to talk about. I'd hop back on irc, if I could remember the server bemani was on!