(This week’s audio recording: “My Father’s Eyes“, a flash fiction piece that’s about two and a half years old at this point.)
This post may or may not sound defeatist or self-deprecating, but I don’t intend it to be that way. Most of the objective of Me posts is to talk about myself and in so doing, learn about my personality and perhaps solve some things by shedding light on my own issues.
A good friend of mine told me the other day that I’m unapproachable. It wasn’t meant in the context of “I don’t feel I can talk to you about my problems,” though. It was said to mean “You don’t make yourself available for strangers to initiate conversation with.” Simply put, I avoid all social interactions whenever possible.
This isn’t an accident. I grew up disliking people and being largely uninterested with what they have to say. It was probably learned behavior to always have headphones in, listening to music, or audiobooks, or simply be doing something that makes it difficult for somebody to talk to me without seeming like they are imposing on me.
This is the way it’s always been, really. I don’t really make friends, and the ones I do aren’t because I shared a class with them. More likely, it would be because they were mutual friends with somebody else I knew, and by hanging out with certain people I would be hanging out with a lot of people.
Now that I’m not in high school, “hanging out with people” simply doesn’t happen. I go to class, I take notes on the lecture, and then I leave to walk straight to the next class where I stare at my phone until I have to start taking more notes.
Lately, though, I’ve felt pretty lonely. It’s not the same depression I had a year ago, by any means. This is simply the desire to have somebody to talk to consistently. The number of people I’ve met in college whom I would consider a friend reaches a grand total of zero, and I’m starting to think it’s because I’m so habitually distant.
Going into the spring semester, I’ve made it a point to take my headphones out when sitting in class, and to have a more open body language as well as keeping my head up to make eye contact more of a possibility. I find it pretty much impossible to initiate conversation, simply because that’s never been who I am, so now I’m simply waiting for somebody interesting to come along and strike a conversation, and getting frustrated when that doesn’t happen.
At this point perhaps my real gripe is that I have never felt that I needed more friends, so I’ve never tried, and now I’m woefully inexperienced in social interactions. The sense of loneliness is probably enhanced by mere virtue of the fact that I am now actively seeking attention and not getting it. I notice everything now. The few friends I do have don’t text back, the short story audio recordings get (almost literally) no views even when I advertise them in the same areas I do normally, and my blog seems to be getting less attention than it used to, a feat I didn’t even think possible.
Friday I talked about the bumpy road that is actually an air bubble in a bad tire. Right now, this is my air bubble. I know it’s not the road that sucks, its a personal issue I have. I don’t know how to fix it, but at least I’ve identified the problem, and I know that’s a good start.
3 thoughts on “Me — Being Unapproachable”
Is it weird that the first (and, I think only?) solution I’ve come up for this was to attempt to be active in WoW or Minecraft? I’ve had some fun random success interacting with strangers there – most specifically when I those periods in WoW where I was more or less the only person playing, and had to rely on strangers to tackle more difficult content (ProTip: be a healer, everyone automatically wants to be your friend, then you can actively pick the decent people!).
Minecraft was pretty hit and miss though. There were some definite good social interactions (like when we were on the MCMMO developer’s server) and some serious and utter failures (like our most recent playtime, global chat was so painful to witness).
But real life interactions? Gah, I struggle to maintain my decade plus long friendships in good standing. The idea of actively seeking new ones is mind boggling foreign to me!
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Well, I’ve also been described as such. Though they tend to describe it like a shell. People find me entertaining and interesting once they start talking to me, but don’t approach even when I’m doing nothing for the simple reason that I look unwelcoming. Though even after they know me we aren’t ever really close.
My “technique” is to simply talk to random people, it’s surprising how much random strangers can get along. I talk to people who are in the same events as me, or sometimes in “the same boat” so to speak. Like when both of us were waiting for someone to pick us up, or when someone sits next to me during orientation. Of course, beware, results may vary, I once had a person tell me to “&$@# off”.
Funnily enough, my closest friends include someone I met at Pre-U and University joint orientation, that was in a completely different course, a classmate I never spoke to until my graduation trip, and another who hated me for 3 years straight, then forgot why they were mad at me, whereupon we became friends for less than half a year later before they transferred. All can be counted on one hand.
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Perhaps this is all more common than I would have thought. The concept of just “talking” to random strangers is so incredibly weird to me. This entire time I’ve been trying to provoke other people to want to talk to me! Maybe that’s just a “given time” sort of thing.
As far as the friends go, I totally get that. My best friend throughout all of middle and most of high school was somebody that I literally hated the year before we became friends. He was annoying and I couldn’t stand the sound of his voice. It was so long ago, I have no idea how we transitioned from there to being friends. The world is a strange place.
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