This having a network thing is not without its challenges. Now that I’m taking my interactions with people who are not my very best friends more seriously, I’m realizing a few things. The first is that my Truth Tourettes extends to others. Or maybe I should say that I wish it did.
What I mean by this is that it drives me crazy when people pretend like everything is fabulous every.single.time you see them. And by “people” I mean fellow stroller-pushers/park visitors/playgroup attenders that I see multiple times in the space of a week. While it might be reasonable to accept the fact that other people are not (technically) required to share their deepest darkest secrets with me, I am chronically unreasonable. At least when it comes to sharing. I have expectations.
My expectations do not require the complete and immediate baring of the soul, but I do expect something. I need it. Something that seems real, something that has a hint of unique authenticity about it. Maybe dimensionality would be a way to describe it. One-dimensional interaction is frankly painful. It’s not just that it’s boring (which it is), but that it’s actually uncomfortable. When you’re holding everything in, you’re withholding yourself. Pulling back. Maintaining a distance. It’s a thing that can be felt.
All of this is made worse when it is clear that this person with the smile duct-taped across her face is miserable. When every non-verbal message within 10 feet is flashing “Danger, Danger!” in bright white lights. It’s (quite) possible that I put more faith in my intuitive ability than I really should, but when it seems clear to me that something is UP with a person, something very usually is. And even if my gut is completely off and everything really is perpetually-sunny-thankyouverymuch, is that any way to live? Perhaps it’s because I can’t even imagine such a life that it strikes me as mind-numbing, but come on. A person needs some valleys. They make the peaks all the higher, don’t they?
All of this to say that I need some intimacy in my friendships and (with important exceptions) I’m finding that hard to come by. Why all this “Yeah! Everything is Great!!”? Is there a prize for being totally together in all of your social interactions? If that kind of behavior earns you a prize I bet it’s something really vacuous and fake. Something like a lifetime supply of Cheese Puffs. A lose-lose for sure. Not that I’m bitter.