March 2019
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emotion explosion - great intimacy practice but terrible stuff brought up, connection despair

icon: "disconnected (a gif of the lovers from the tv show "Moonlight" standing on opposite sides of a door and both looking devastated. One leans their forehead on the door and the other leans their face on their hand on the doorsill. Underneath the repeating gif is the word 'pain' in a handwriting-font.)"

Yesterday and today have been overwhelmingly emotional. Yesterday was emotional in general, but especially intimacy practice. We had two newbies and usually that means a somewhat low-key practice as newbies usually need at least one practice to get familiar enough to participate fully. But not this time! Everyone shared very openly and there was a lot of resonance around the circle. Everyone had intense topics and even truth-or-truth was intense, yet we finished in 3 hours and as far as I could tell everyone felt nourished. Topaz was actually energized! Afterward Topaz and Heather played "pump it up" (I graciously declined). It was the first time we'd had newbies in a long time, over a year I'm sure. I remembered/realized some things that I will explain when I do the intimacy practice talk at TBC.

But it brought up some stuff I had been repressing - my sense of failure at making new friends. I love the people I have in my life, but new perspectives are important to me and so is the process of learning a new person. The idea that I will never make another friend who can nourish and be nourished by me (without causing me or my people damage) or is profoundly sad to me, yet it feels like fact. I feel like a resounding failure. I feel like it is very unlikely that someone new or hardly known will become my friend and be really curious about me and excited to know me and also nourish me. I think people like the idea of me but not me, really. Or they like me but can't or don't want to do work to connect, because I live too far or they're too busy or don't have the energy or whatever. I'm just too hard. I feel doomed. I don't have any faith in people liking me enough to make up for whatever things are drawbacks about me.

I know that a significant number of people like my ideas, and I know there is a lot of long-distance love and I value that. But it is hard to believe that it's not JUST my ideas that are worthwhile when the vast majority of the times I try to make an in-person friend it doesn't work. It just seems logical that there is something about me that doesn't come through online that makes me not a desirable friend. Or that I'm too much work in general but people can opt out of the work online so they still like me there. Maybe it's just that I am so fucking incapable of small talk and in person I'm either animatedly ranting in an impersonal way or I'm completely silent. I don't know how to just randomly chat with people. I can maybe say one sentence, then I'm stuck and feel worse.

I don't have a medium setting. I just don't know how to do it. Every time* I have connected with someone it has been because I had a raw, vulnerable, many-hour mutual reveal session (or we did the online equivalent with LJ) and shortly after that discussed how to go about the friendship deliberately. Even when I was a teenager that's how I did it (scared Allison off for a few years with that). Not only do I feel incapable of some kind of medium approach, I have literally no idea how to do it. And even if I did, it seems like the worst idea ever because it would take so much out of me and then I still would have to figure out how to move from that (which would drain me) to real connection.

And so now, when I can logically imagine new friendship(s), I don't feel hope and happiness anymore. I feel despair and dread of what feels like the inevitable day when I realize that they don't actually share my values or that they're not willing or not able to do the things that nourish me or they can't or don't want to invest in connection with me or that they only want to get and not to give, or worse, they want to give but they can't because they're in a long-term crisis with nothing to spare.

I woke up this morning and cried for three hours because I feel such despair. So sure that no one will really want to be my friend, because it's fucking work.

And there are some people that I think about trying to build in-person friendship with, but I can't even get up the courage to try, because I don't know if I could handle another loss right now.

I'll get through it, I'll get better. I'm just really yearning, but mourning at the same time and it's a bad combination.

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soundofsunlight ══╣reeds╠══
It just seems logical that there is something about me that doesn't come through online that makes me not a desirable friend.

I can't comment on the accuracy of this, but an outside opinion might help. Do you have any friends irl who you met online? If so, would they say you're different irl than online?

Not looking for good or bad here, just different, because the difference might be a problem for some but not for others, so first I would just try to see if there IS a difference, and if there is, then once you know what it is, that might give you an idea of who would mind and who wouldn't.

I can't make friends in person either. For me it is definitely the inability to do small talk, and any other reason people might have for not being able to engage comes from that. Like if talking to me is not interesting enough to be worthwhile, or it's too much work to get a conversation going, everything goes back to that.

I try to explain to people that I don't know how to do that, and they say that's okay and might try topics that are less typical for small talk, but it's still small talk, and I still can't do it, and we both end up frustrated.

I think there's a disconnect in our expectations of how we want the exchange to go, and no matter how carefully we discuss it online, we're still not on the same page when we try to interact in person; that disconnect is still there, and we can't figure out how to work with each other. I don't know how to get past that.

There have been a few people who just "got" me (and these are also people who are comfortable with silence if we can't think of anything to say, so there's that), but with everyone else I've tried with, I can sort of see the problem but don't know how to solve it, and I'm kind of worn out from trying so I'm staying mostly online now. I still want more irl friends too, but it's rarely an option for me. I'm usually okay with that, but it can be really hard sometimes.
Serious Knight
call_me_katya ══╣Serious Knight╠══
You're right in that with the 'medium' approach you do still have to make that leap at some point, and it seems weirder and more of a leap to go from that stage to being closer. Now sometimes it will happen almost automatically, but I don't even think it is automatic, I think it requires one of the people to be more forceful. I suspect in my life if certain people hadn't been more forceful with me I wouldn't have ever had certain friendships. I don't really know how it keeps going if both people are staggering along non committally. That's why I think there is nothing wrong with the way you are. You build stronger and deeper friendships than most people ever think of, and that's their loss.

I can say that I noticed nothing about you that would be 'wrong'. In fact, I spend most of my time with new people worried I'll be too intense, or too dull, and freeze in conversations.

Honestly? It might not be you at all. I've come up against a weird mindset a few times in my life, where people seem to think they have 'enough' friends. Someone actually said this to me when I tried to invite them to lunch, etc. It might simply be that, as horrid as that is.
kmiotutsie ══╣╠══
Hmmm. I hear the things you're saying about feeling not-right, but I wonder also how much it has to do with just how difficult it is already to make new connections after 30ish. Do you think? I know that for a while, I was feeling pretty screamingly frustrated and not-quite-right-enough to build a new community again, but it seems to be a thing that many many of us are having to recon with. Hmm, I also don't want to discount what you're feeling, because it's probably many many factors. I feel similarly, a lot: too loud for this person but too quiet for that one; too rad for this one but not rad enough for the other, like there's no family to be found anywhere. it comes & goes; still haven't figured out how to reckon with it once & for all
on communication, social justice, intimacy, consent, friendship & other relationships, spirituality, gender, queerness, & dreams. Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.
Expect to find curse words, nudity, (occasionally explicit) talk of sex, and angry ranting, but NEVER slurs or sexually violent language. I use TW when I am aware of the need and on request.