Tag Archives: social

Scary New Ideas

6 Oct

I just learned about an unexpected change in my core story: I want to connect to other people.  I want to build close and even romantic relationships.

I’ve always been very comfortable being alone and my innate social skills are…lacking, (It’s a chicken and egg type thing — did I learn to enjoy being alone because I lacked the skills to be around others, I did I fail to learn social skills because I enjoyed being alone too much to be bothered?) so wanting meaningful relationships is new to me.  I do have some wonderful friends, but mostly due to showing up and luck.

I just managed to put everything together and realize that I want to connect to others, so I’m not yet certain how to proceed.  I think I’ll start by being more selective about the people I spend time with; I don’t think learning to connect will be easy, so I’m going to need to start with some exceptional people.  Building on the existing connections I have with my friends sounds like a good first step, and I’d like to ask their help in vetting people for me to try to connect with.

As I learn and things get easier, I think I’ll be able to be less selective and more open and eventually outgrow the need for vetting.  Right now though, asking my friends for help with this project is a sign of progress for me.  Asking for help is a form of vulnerability, and I’m not good at being vulnerable.  Unfortunately, the ability to be vulnerable is a direct measure of the depth of my connection to them.  In order to learn to be good at connecting to others, I need to learn to be okay with being vulnerable.

This is scary, but I think it’s necessary.

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Wishcasting Wednesday: One Day

4 Oct

Jiminy CricketWhat do I wish to do one day?

One day I wish to have a healthy, happy relationship.  A couple of weeks ago I wished to immerse myself in my new relationship, and what I’m learning from that is that I have a very difficult time with intimacy.  (So does he.  If this doesn’t work out at least I’ll know why.)

Specifically, I have a hard time being vulnerable, and people who can’t be vulnerable can’t make connections with others.  I want to connect.  I specifically want to connect with my current partner, but I think it’s important to have the ability to connect in and of itself.  So what I really wish for is to learn the how to make connections; having a happy, healthy relationship will be the tangible evidence that I can allow myself to be vulnerable to others and that I can form intimate connections.

Eliminate! Eliminate!

11 Dec
Imperial Daleks
Image by Kaptain Kobold via Flickr

Reverb10: Eleven Things. What are 11 things your life doesn’t need in 2011? How will you go about eliminating them? How will getting rid of these 11 things change your life? (Author: Sam Davidson)

  1. People who do not appreciate me or treat me with care and respect.

    How will I eliminate this? I need to pay more attention to what people are bringing to my life and strengthen the positive relationships and eliminate the ones that drain me.

    What will this change? I spend too much time trying to fix things and worrying about how to make things work; relationships are not one-sided and I cannot make them work without the cooperation of the other person. If it’s not a collaborative effort to treat each other well and create a mutually supportive relationship, then it needs to go.

  2. The word should.

    How will I eliminate this? I get too caught up in my own expectations. I am a bit of a perfectionist, which is helpful in some circumstances, but is generally destructive. Instead, I’d like to start reminding myself of my goals and thinking about potential next steps. Any step forward is good, not just the steps I “should” be taking.

    What will this change? I think having the discipline to work toward my goals with the sense to be flexible will serve me far better than nitpicking what I “should” do.

  3. Clutter of any kind.

    How will I eliminate this? The first step is to go though everything completely. I’m actually very close with this — one more box and two more bags and I’ll be done. Beyond that is simple maintenance: monitor every thing that comes into my life and either find a use for it or let it go.

    What will this change? Clutter is a distraction at best and a form of self-sabotage at worst. I want my home to be an atmosphere conducive to living and building. Clutter in my home clutters my mind and demands my attention — if only so I can be irritated with it. I want a clear, calm place to start from, inside and out.

  4. Limits on my imagination.

    How will I eliminate this? Not a clue. I’m not even entirely sure what I mean, but it stuck with me as I was making this list.

    What will this change? I do think having a bigger imagination will help me see more ways to move forward, which can only help.

  5. Loneliness.

    How will I eliminate this? I think the first two items on this list are the best ways to go about eliminating loneliness. I certainly have enough relationships of varying types, but being more mindful of what I want and what I am building with someone else will be helpful.

    What will this change? I think it will give me a better sense of boundaries and keep me from becoming too dependent on the people I am closest too.

  6. Lack of dedication to my own well-being.

    How will I eliminate this? All I need to do is listen to my body and my emotions and act on what I need. I can already hear the messages, but I’m not following through.

    What will this change? Taking care of myself? It can only make me healthier in every way.

  7. Doubt in my own spark.

    How will I eliminate this? I have amazing self-confidence, but only in what I already am. When it comes to building and moving forward I frequently doubt my abilities or my chances of success. I’m not sure I can eliminate the doubt, but I can move on in spite of it.

    What will this change? If I can get past the doubt, I can try new things and build my empire. Settling for what I have, as good as much of it is, is not enough.

  8. Withdrawing.

    How will I eliminate this? I can remember to ask for help. I have many people willing to listen and provide hugs, and those seemingly little things can make a big difference. And even if I need something bigger, there might be someone willing and able to provide it, if they know I need it.

    What will this change? I can spend less time handling problems or recovering from difficult situations and more time moving forward. Withdrawing almost always means holding still, or a lateral movement at best, and that’s not what I’m trying to do.

  9. Disorder

    How will I eliminate this? Even a loose plan and a modicum of preparation make a huge difference for me. I don’t have to devote my life to planning and I don’t have to worry when things don’t go in a way I was prepared for, but a little structure makes a big difference.

    What will this change? Disorder, much like clutter and withdrawing, is a huge time-suck. I do not have unlimited time so I want to use it in ways that serve me.

  10. Unevaluated expectations.

    How will I eliminate this? It’s actually not that hard — all I have to do is pay attention to what I’m actually expecting to get out of a situation or experience with a person. (I came across this idea at Enter: Adulthood a few days ago, and it’s already proven helpful.)

    What will this change? Being aware of what I expect will make things easier. It will save me the disappointment of not getting something I didn’t know I wanted and it will make it easier for me to communicate and plan. Unspoken expectations make for unpleasant surprises.

  11. Fear-based decisions.

    How will I eliminate this? I tend to make fear-based decisions when something must be changed immediately, but I’m not prepared to make a change. Eliminating disorder from my life will help. Having faith in my own spark will help. Removing limits on my imagination will help. Evaluating my expectations will help. I will get there.

    What will this change? Is fear ever a good foundation? I was at a Quaker meeting a few months ago, and someone felt moved to say that there are only two forces in the universe: fear and love. I’ll never fully eliminate fear, but I do not want to build upon it.

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Awkward Turtle*

8 Dec
Kismet, a robot with rudimentary social skills
Image via Wikipedia

Reverb10: Beautifully different. Think about what makes you different and what you do that lights people up. Reflect on all the things that make you different – you’ll find they’re what make you beautiful. (Author: Karen Walrond)

I do not understand subtlety, I assume people mean every word they say, and I can’t reliably identify other people’s limits.  All of this makes me awkward and uncomfortable in most social situations, so I tend to avoid them.  On the rare occasions I do go out, my primary goal is to avoid making other people equally uncomfortable.

And that’s the worst of it.  The same things that create the train wreck of my social skills also make me a wonderful friend.  I am loyal and loving and honest.  I do not understand (and rarely experience) self-doubt, so if someone I care about is experiencing it I can easily provide a sincere assurance of the good I see in them.  I’m analytical, which is sometimes paralyzing when attempting to make idle conversation with acquaintances, but mostly means that I have given a great deal of thought to why I enjoy someone and can share that in detail.

It can take people time to appreciate me, but most people do grok that I bear no malice.  My incomprehension of social norms make people, including me, laugh — especially since I’m willing to frame even the worst of it as an adventure.  People who feel stressed or hurt tend to come stand by me, probably because they know that I’ll respect their silence, I’ll respect their privacy if they do want to talk, and will offer everything from a hug to a joke to a sandwich if that’s what I think they need.  I am blunt and predictable and people find that refreshing and reassuring.

I like me.  I actually think I’m rather wonderful.  My social skills might be both different and difficult, but they suit me and have helped me build some incredible relationships.  I’m probably making the best of a bad situation, but it feels good to me.

*Post titled after an expression and hand gesture some friends and I use when witnessing or experiencing awkward situations.  There really are few things more awkward than an overturned turtle.

(Interesting: I’m being prompted to use video game-related imagery for this post, despite my failure to mention my fondness for World of Warcraft.  Is the stereotype of gamers as socially awkward that strong?)

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