Wilfully exploring my own social inadequacies

Posted: March 26, 2008 in life
Tags: , , , , ,

awkward.jpgI’m an introvert and I make no appologies for that.  I find dealing with other people tiring and my true solace comes in time alone or with a small number of close friends or family.  I enjoy quiet and relaxed environments with music, not large groups or parties.  This has it’s positives and negatives.  It means that I don’t at all mind the office part of my profession – I like sitting quietly reading, studying, writing, and listening to music – but it also means that the whole “visiting people” thing does not come naturally to me.  Meeting new people for me is generally an exhausting ordeal.  It does not come naturally, nor comfortably.  I may not be diagnosed with any social disorder – although JPod has made me believe I may actually be a high functioning autistic – but I am somewhat socially awkward.  I find it quite difficult to make friends with new people because I do not like small talk and I don’t really know what to do otherwise.  It’s something that I’ve tried to work at but the general awkwardness and discomfort of the situations drives me away unless I absolutely force myself into them.

To those of you who are already close friends of mine, you might find some of this hard to believe because when I’m with friends and people I’m comfortable with I’m actually a fairly social animal.  I like to talk, discuss, tell stories and bad jokes.  I sometimes feel a little like I have two natures in one person, but not in a sacreligious way.  I am socially awkward and find it difficult to make friends when I’m placed in new situations or places, but when I’m with those I know I am a very socially comfortable being.  The real difficulty comes in that a good chunk of my profession has to do with being social with people I don’t really know well at all.  The other part of the difficulty comes in that I am in a new place with new people and have been for almost two years now and I have yet to figure out how to make friends.  I have many good friends in many places, but none within 2-3 of where I am now and will likely be for the forseeable future.

So tonight, I’m mining the depths of my own social inadequacies and I’m not coming up with many solutions.  I’m hoping that maybe you, my current friends who know me and aren’t as socially handicapped as I, can help me figure out how to funciton in my newish environment.  Obviously I have made friends before – or you wouldn’t be reading this – but I’m not sure how I lucked into those relationships.  Any suggestions friends?  What things have I done in the past to deserve you as friends that I have somehow not realized how to replicate?  I’m not alone, I have my wife here who’s my best friend and thankfully far more socially adept than I, but it would be nice to be able to move beyond that too.  So to my current friends, know that you are loved and missed and I’m not trying to replace you nor could I replace you, but if you could give me a clue as to how I should proceed down this road of life I’d appreciate it.  If you think this sounds vaguely familiar, it probably does because it’s not the first time I’ve written about this, it just so happens my own social inadequacies confronted me again tonight.  Don’t worry, I’m not depressed or self loathing, I’m just taking an honest look at myself and wondering if there’s something I need to change.

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Comments
  1. Jon Kramer says:

    Oh J-Pod! I’ve kept my distance from watching the CBC adaptation – it might be good, but I’m not willing to take the risk of watching them butcher a great read.
    As far as friends go, I’m a big believer in the stereotypical saying, “women make friends face to face and men make friends shoulder to shoulder”. Most of the key friendships in my life now and ever are with those who I do stuff with. For the most part, in Westlock, it’s been through playing basketball, video games, and fixing broken stuff. Visiting and dialogue is OK, but I never feel like I’ve made a friend until I’ve done something with them. As far as sports, maybe you could find a golf buddy this spring – someone to watch Bronco’s games with – etc. With gaming, I think you know that I’m your man. And as far as fixing broken stuff… that’s something that usually just comes on its own.
    It’s still a struggle for me – that most friendships don’t feel as close as the old ones – but maybe it’s just something that changes with time… I Dunno.

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  2. bradmoffatt says:

    I would agree with Jon. Most friends I’ve made have come from doing something with them; golf, squash, watching hockey. I’ve personally found it difficult to find the time to carve this into my schedule and therefore don’t have the kind of friendships that I want. I think I’ve defaulted into having aquaintances, which doesn’t really help much.

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  3. Mrs. JK says:

    You could have a “Daddy Evening”. Get all the dads and little kids together and let the moms go out for a couple of hours. You will probably have a blast comparing your parenting skills, bragging about what your kids can do, having stroller races around the gym, and baby food eating contests. I can see this becoming a regular event. 🙂 Perhaps you should write out a description of what kind of friend you want/need. That person may be closer than you think. P.S. I’ve ‘struggled’ with this for a long time too. As Jon said, it kind of changes with the seasons of life.

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