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(no title)

Posted by james on May 9, 2001

I don't use this word often, and I've tried not to. But it just seems the only word to use...

I suck at keeping friendships. I just spent an evening (morning?) with a good friend until 6 in the morning, and all I'm left with is the feeling that I really enjoy this, so why do I never call her? Why do I always wait until people ask me to hang out before I do anything? A bunch of people around me having been asking themselves the same question (about me), and some have been asking me.

I heard an idea at some meeting or other, proposed by someone who moved around a lot their whole life. If you never spend much time in any area you learn how to make friends quickly, but you don't get the chance to work on keeping friends. It seems to make sense, the similarities are there. .. but it seems like a cop-out for me.

What do I do? I'm very accepting towards new people, and I want them to feel comfortable. I hang out with people a lot in group situations. I go out with people who want me to go out with them. I don't take a proactive stance and call people to go out, or find ways to see other people. Maybe it's the place I live in.

I live in a house with revolving doors. The doors are always moving, and people are always coming in and out. In the past week there's been someone over until at least 2 am every night. People know this is a place to come to hang out, see other people, do fun stuff. And that's perfect, that was the goal of this house. But that means that I have people around a lot.

And maybe that's what the downfall is of my relationships... they're too convenient. It seems like my friendships should take a turn for the worse if it gets less convenient to see my friends. I should have some kind of motivation to find ways to meet them, because I miss seeing them. But somehow I seem to lack that part of me. Maybe it's broken.

I'm also an introvert. I've asked many people what it means, and have tried to coble together some sort of definition I can understand. And this is what Princeton University thinks it is: "a person who tends to shrink from social contacts and to become preoccupied with their own thoughts." The fact that I'm sitting here at 6:00 am seems to corroborate this. But if I am an introvert, with a tendency to be alone a lot, then I'd find myself overwhelmed by this house. I've got a certain amount of energy for seeking out other people. If there's always people nearby, right in my own home, that I can interact with and see regularly, do I just get lazy about spending the energy to find anyone outside that small group?

I think I do. I think I get satiated in just spending time with people, and forget that I haven't spent time with certain people because I've spend my energy for the day. I've gone out, I've had fun. I've talked to three different people about the rights and wrongs of th world, the state of music today, and why we can't look through dumpsters at night<font color="red">*</font>. Why would I then turn around and look for more people to talk to? I've had my fill for the day, ready to spend a nice few hours at home alone doing whatever I want to... alone.

Or maybe I'm just a forgetful, thoughtless, and lazy person. It's very possible, and everyonce in a while it looks very true. I've been trying, with certain people, to turn this around and make a point of not acting the way I normally do. But I find I'm back at the start... why didn't I call them? Why don't I try to bring them into my world, instead of simply waiting for them to show up in mine?

I still don't know. There are thoughts I haven't put up here, other ways the puzzle pieces that are my actions might fit together. Maybe I'm missing some pieces, maybe I've got others wrong. I don't know yet. But all things told, I'd rather forget about all this physicological crap and simply try to start hanging out with my friends more.

<font size="-1"><i><font color="red">*</font> it's because anything in the dumpster belongs to the dumpster people. And we're actually stealing their stuff by taking trash out. I think if I saw someone walking away from the dump with a candy wrapper I knew had come from my house, and some guy walking away from my house with a candy bar in hand, I'd be more pissed at the second guy. But hey, apparently it's the same offense.</i></font>

(no title)

Posted by james on May 5, 2001

It occured to me the other night how I react to myself in social situations. There's times when you're hanging out with you friends, and you have a lot of fun. Everyone's talking, contributing, there's usually a lot of joking around and making fun. I was telling someone just a bit ago, during a serene moment of the day, how I used to always take a moment out of any hectic situation to gain perspective. I'd be having fun with my friends, then suddenly get the urge to walk around the building by myself just to be quiet for a moment. It gives you perspective you can't see while you're in the situation. You start to drop preconceived notions about what's going on around you, and think about questions that until then have been drowned out by the noise and activity... why are you here? Why is the thing you're doing fun? What would this look like to someone else? After a little bit I just rejoin and continue whatever I was doing... the questions are not supposed to directly affect the things I'm doing, they're just supposed to give me the moment to see whatever it is I'm doing from another perspective.

I was thinking about how little I've done that lately. I do things with friends, and never take the time to appreciate what's really going on. My mind is too engrossed in whatever's happening, whether it's on the conversation in front of me or the reactions people have to each other. I simply float along as if the things going on around me were some kind of current, and I allow myself to be swept along with it. It's not a bad thing... I guess I just miss the perspective.

There's another thing that seems to happen when I remove myself. I'm usually an underspoken person, and I enjoy being that way. When I'm having fun with my friends sometimes I'm more outspoken than I would usually be. And when I remove myself for a moment, it's as if I can hear the echos of the things I've said still ringing in my ear. If I haven't been too outspoken, I don't even notice it. But if I have, I get the feeling as if I've just yelled something out in a sudden lull in the conversation, and my words carry across the room. They echo in my ears, making me think back about what I've said and how I said it. It makes me think about my words to see if they were too outspoken, if I lost track of how I'm acting and allowed words and actions to happen without forethought. It's not a horrible thing to be lost in the moment... but somehow, it's just not me.

(no title)

Posted by james on April 24, 2001

It strikes me that people need to be free to talk in order to be free to be themselves. Through the different sorts of people I've come into contact with recently, I've become more and more aware of the differences people have. One of those differences is in speech; not simple superficial things like how large a vocabulary a person uses, or if they speak fast / slow / other. More like the ideas and thoughts behind what a person says, and the reasons behind the methods they use to say things.

I was thinking about how I interact with people I don't know very well. If I don't feel comfortable in a group usually I'll be more quiet and less like myself. I don't feel as comfortable to be a person with flaws exposed, where I don't have to worry about my actions and words being given the benefit of the doubt when it comes to possibly ambiguous inuendos (not sexual innuendos, just any kind). I don't feel comfortable to make as many jokes, trip on as many objects, say things quite as loud, or say things that I know are risky. Most risky things for me to say involve simply pushing the limits of what you know a specific person is comfortable with. Once you've pushed those limits you know where a person stands, and what they're comfortable with. But when I'm uncomfortable with a situation, I don't do this; I even back off more.

There are ways that I've seen people act this way even in the most comfortable of environments, with their close friends. Either in action or speech, they do things that convey that even in this safe environment they're still on guard, like a rabit that never quite relaxes when it's in the open meadow. One possible reason is that they're uncomfortable with themselves. After all, you never quite escape yourself, even in the most comfortable situations. Another reason could be trust... even with close friends, there's still something that doesn't allow them to trust anyone completely. I don't know the reasons, I don't even know if I'm close. But I do think that whatever the reason, when a person doesn't feel free to act and talk, then they can't really be free to be themselves. And that's poor, because if they never can get past that I'll never see what they are. Plus, maybe they'll never see it either.

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