Remembering the appropriate quote from the Breakfast Club.*


So, hey, self-doubt is a fucker, huh?

I have it in droves.

A marvellous person I know asked for advice about it yesterday, in the context of ‘why are my so-called friends so shit? or is it a problem with me?’ and I instantly regretted pretty much everything I said.**

It isn’t the first time.

I’m a robot hermit who only pretends to be wise.

(Fake it ’til you make it, even if it never happens, eh?)

By and large, we’re all just bumbling through here. I’m not the best friend (again, robot hermit), but I can understand why I know so many people, myself included, who feel alienated in the age of constant ‘busyness’ and instant communication. I am that jerk who might miss six events in a row because I can’t face dealing with people, or staying up for things that starts around the time I like to be in bed. I’m not good with confrontation or high emotion (including my own). I like to keep my private life pretty bloody private. I get nervous when people are very, very friendly, even in a non-stalking way. It’s probably not ideal for a balanced, reciprocal friendship (if such a thing exists). If I like you, I might knit or bake you something at Christmas, but I will rarely notice a new outfit or haircut until someone else points it out. Oh, and I have to really, really focus to remember to say ‘how are you?’ back to people. Not ideal in almost all friendship situations.

So, basically, don’t be my friend, ’cause I might be a shit one. I think the people who still want to talk to/hang out with me get my quirks. But those people are pretty few. That’s fine, mostly. Sometimes. This week, I’m okay with it, anyway.

People are constantly seeking reassurance, but aren’t feeling it from our plugged in world as it works most of the time. A Facebook ‘like’ or a retweet, or dozens of them, are not a substitute for substantial human communication or empathy. So, yeah, it would be nice if more people broke free of their busyness bubbles, or Netflix mara/tweetathons and made the effort. We aren’t all THAT busy. What’s a post-work beer and face-to-face chat in the grand scheme of things? Or, for the robot hermits, a FB ‘Hey, how are things? We haven’t chatted in a while’? Or a card to a relative you haven’t seen in ages, just to say ‘Hey’ with the subtext of ‘I’ve known you my whole life and only hear about you through the crappy/creepy family reunion newsletter but I do think of you sometimes’?

Okay, for some of us, this is a huge effort to do a tiny thing. But try? Please? Let’s remind our friends that we are still friends.

On a 100% unrelated note, my dissertation advisor from many moons ago, Steve Hewitt, was on ‘The Current’ yesterday talking about police infiltration and espionage.

* Found it! Well, one of them. ‘We’re all pretty bizarre. Some of us are just better at hiding it, that’s all.’
** Except maybe this line: ‘As I say fairly often in the face of “WHAT is WRONG with PEOPLE?” hysteria, “We’re probably the weirdos. It sucks, but c’est la vie. Wine?”‘ Of course, now I realise I was semi-plagiarising John Hughes there.

4 thoughts on “Remembering the appropriate quote from the Breakfast Club.*

  1. Erica

    I realized the other day that I can have an entire conversation with someone while I’m totally tuned out and not listening to them at all (it was a lady I don’t particularly care to talk to, but she works on my floor at work and we were nuking our lunches at the same time. We were chitchatting in the kitchen about my pregnancy, and she was telling me all about the pregnant ladies in her unit. I couldn’t for the life of me tell you the who or what or why of ANYTHING she said). Social interaction is hard.

    Sometimes it’s really, really nice that you (you, specifically, Megan) don’t ask much in terms of meaningless chitchat and catch-up. When you talk, I’m genuinely interested in what you say because you’re an interesting person who doesn’t force me into smalltalk. I’d far rather hear about what you’re reading or something than have to take the time to answer “And how are YOU, Erica?”

    All that to say that you’re not broken, I like you a lot, and your way of interacting with people is totally fine as long as you’re fine with it. (Though I’m a total homebody, so I put less weight on those face-to-face interactions that other people seem to value so highly)

  2. Jackie

    What Erica said. Sometimes I think I disorient people because I *start* conversations with things like, “Hey, do you have a pedal wrench I could borrow?”

    I can do the smalltalk thing, but would much rather discuss ideas. I miss the lunch conversation at my old office for this reason – it would very quickly become, say, a discussion about which of us would be eaten first in a cannibalistic situation à la “Alive”. Or if you’d rather die by shark attack or falling off the CN Tower. Come to think of it, there was a lot of death. Hm.

    As for holiday gifts, yeah, they are to me like these weird obligations along the lines of small talk, and painful. Sometimes I’ll see something perfect for someone, sometimes not, and I’d rather avoid the stress altogether.

  3. Erica

    CN TOWER!! (The shark thing would be pure ominous terror and pain. The tower would be “Oh shit, I’m screwed. But hey! I’m flying!”)

    Just saying.

  4. megan

    MY PEOPLE. Small talk. Feh. Blech. I nearly said “why are you still here?” to the FedEx guy once after he started babbling about the weather over the previous week recently.

    We should all move to New York:

    (I can’t reply to both at once, so maybe you’ll never see this. Boo-urns.)

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