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.