I have a lot of problems, probably just like you. Unfortunately, I have a hard time identifying with some of you out there because my problems, when explained, sound a little nuts.
Let me walk you through what I mean. We just meet. I say hello, smile broadly and easily, and probably nod my head too much when you’re talking because I’m trying to come across as attentive or cool or something and all I can manage is overeager puppy. I’ve noticed that some of my female friends are excellent at a combination of the artful “look-away” yet demurely laugh.
And suddenly, I’m once again a gangly, acne-prone teenager with no idea how to do my hair or real sense of how to read people- OH WAIT! I am still that way. It actually gets worse after that initial meeting. I start reading too much into previous conversations, I become concerned when someone forgets to tag me in a photo, and I suddenly start viewing all of my flaws magnified tenfold.
And it really goes downhill from there. I ask you how you are, we talk for awhile, and a little part of me dies when you don’t ask how I am. I ask you to coffee and we have a good time, or maybe you and your significant other come to dinner and I enjoy it! But then, then you don’t call back. You seem pretty disinterested and busy with your life and obviously since you barely know me, why would you call? Isn’t it more normal to just like some statuses on facebook and then ignore me in real life? And even if I do take the online route, you know, comment on your blog post or status or congratulate you about your new job… you ignore me. Hate or mistake? Annoyance or oversight? I know you always are attached to your phone, so why wouldn’t you see it? WHY NOT, DARNIT?!
I have to say, technology usually only makes me feel worse about my social life. It becomes a game, and not even a truly interactive game, but a passive aggressive one in which acts of hostility may be masked by “mistakes” or computer errors. An overview of what I’m talking about:
Instagram: My life is awesome, don’t you want to see everything I’m doing and eating? Look at my nice clothes/nails/hair/significant other/vacation spot. Oh and this also means I have a smartphone, which makes me pretty darn hip. Funny video related to my point.
Twitter: What I have to say is sooooo important/wise/funny I need a live feed.
Facebook: Do you even have friends? Who do you want people to think you are? Let me just post a few awesome party pics to make sure I’ve gotten my cool person vibe across.
Really, it’s an awful lot of things getting in the way of true interaction. You’re right, it is handy to see life updates from people without having to care enough to give them a call and just ask. We’re so connected but disconnected.
I don’t know if this is a direct result, but I find myself extremely anxious when I’m around as many people as I interact with on a daily basis online. This is concerning. When walking your resume to a prospective employer becomes having social polish among your peers… something is off.
When I talk myself down from all the anxious thoughts rolling in like storm clouds, it comes down to a sense of insecurity because the people I’ve been talking to in person since January really don’t know me, and I am scared they won’t look past my awkwardness to figure out who I am. I’ve spent ample amount of my life being socially duped by people who “get” how the “game” is “played.” Notice my ample use of quotation marks? Yeah, it’s because I don’t believe it’s real.
Even if I get socially steamrolled every day for the rest of my life, I’m not going to start being the kind of friend who writes people off or judges them for quirks. We are who we are. If you don’t love others, you certainly don’t love yourself, and if you don’t love God, neither of the first two are possible to the degree that God has planned for us. Clearly, I’m still working on this, but I am so glad it’s truth.
LOVE PEOPLE! MAKE FRIENDS! CALL/MEET/TALK TO PEOPLE!