I don’t get friendship, so I try not to make friends. It’s a tricky thing, because when I do find someone that I like, I don’t know what to do with them.
At some point in primary school, I decided people sucked. It was around the fifth time I got dumped by a pal. I’d get people talking to me when they wanted study tips or hotdogs for break. But since I wasn’t that athletic, I never felt at peace with popular kids. It didn’t help that I was a teacher’s pet. It was never about sucking up. It was more about coming top in class and being allergic to lying. It made me an inadvertent tattle-tale. Le ouch! So when my my fifth best friend dumped me for one of the popular kids, I decided it just wasn’t worth it and ended up being a loner.
When I first went to high school, I was quiet and sullen. It’s not really my nature, but I was sort of disoriented. Here I was, the loudest girl in primary school, surrounded by 300 girls that felt the same way. Most people tried to outshine each other. I preferred to sit and watch. I mean, it’s hard to out-alpha-female over 300 alpha females.
I eventually made friends with a girl that bullied me. I found her forward and annoying, but she she kept talking to me while I tried to ignore her, and eventually, we became friends. By second term, I felt that I was getting too close. It happened during music fests.
We were performing an event that she wasn’t singing in, so she had to stay in school for the day. I suddenly realized I felt lost without her and had no one to talk to. It was unwise to have so much dependence on one person, so we ishana-d friends. I didn’t tell her that directly – I just started finding excuses not to hang with her. She was still my best friend, and we even became desk mates in 3rd Form, but I just never quite let her in after that lonely day at Saints.
In campus, I had room mates that were really very girly. I don’t get along well with girls, so I changed rooms a lot. I did finally find a crowd I got along with, but I left school soon after. I still talk to some of my pals from campus, but since I’m not that girly, we don’t have much in common.
One of my exes found it strange that all my friends are family. Either that or people from school and work. He felt I should go out and make more friends, but I didn’t really know how, and a large part of me didn’t want to. It’s strange to say I don’t know how to make friends, because I can be pretty outgoing. Most people describe me as warm and friendly, because I’m immediate. When I meet selected strangers, I treat them like I’ve known them all my life. I like people who respond in kind.
Anyway, after I had my baby, I stayed home for a while as I looked for a job. Most of my neighbours were housewives, and I’ve never fussed much about my appearance. Plus my little girl and I have polar complexions even though we have fairly similar features, so many neighbours thought I was the mboch. When I finally joined the workforce, I didn’t get much into the social scene, so nobody knew about my background or my home life. I almost always ducked office functions.
In many ways, I found my salvation online. The Internet let me mix with people while still keeping a safe distance. It started with blogs, but I wasn’t keen on blog-ups. I eventually met one blogging friend after sharing daily emails for a year. I met two other bloggers on the same day, mostly because they were pals and ended up at the same club. I hate clubs.
After that, I joined Twitter and started making friends, if you can call them that. Apparently, I was very vocal on Twitter, and people assumed I was a socialite, even though I’m really not. In a spate of insanity, I decided to meet a bunch of tweeple, one at a time. I don’t do well with crowds. For two weeks at a stretch, I had 15 tea dates with all kinds of people. It was fun, different, and interesting … but it’s not something I’d do again.
At that point, I got stuck. I’d met all these people, done all these blind dates, but … now what? Would I hang out with them routinely? Would we become a clique? Would we go back to just online? I had no clue how these things worked.
Most people meet tweeters in monthly groups or events, so it follows that the gang will reunite once a month. Twitter cliques meet often at Chess Sunday, Poetry night, Blankets & Wine, Karaoke etc. Some even become buddies and meet up every Friday or whatever. Tweet-ups are easy because there’s lots of people, so the focus isn’t on you. You’re bound to find at least one person that you know or get along with, and there’s far less pressure to be fun or entertaining. That’s hard for me because I don’t do crowds and I can’t multitask. It’s easier to just sit with one person and converse, but not everyone agrees.
Anyway, after my large spate of one-on-one dates, I decided I’d wait and see who followed up. After all, I had no idea if I’d made a good impression. Some of my blind dates were fun and I wanted to hang out again. Some people were disappointing. They’re nothing like their online personas. Luckily, I didn’t meet anyone creepy or serial-killer-esque.
I was only home for two weeks – I lived and worked in Tanzania at the time. Out of the 15 people I met, only one asked for a ‘second date’ during that period. We hung out three more times before I left, and kept in touch once I was back in TZ. It got to a point where we were talking every day and hanging out once a week, and I considered him one of my best friends. Then we had a big fight – my fault entirely – and I pulled away, just like I always do. Sigh. Hopefully, we’ll get back to that closeness someday.
After I got back to TZ, some of my other new friends kept in touch, and we’d hang out once in a while when I was home. We still do. Some of those guys are now good friends of mine, and we sometimes talk, both online and off. Out of 15 new acquaintances, I talk to three routinely.
One of the guys fell out of touch for almost two years, but we finally met up some weeks ago at iHub, and it was like no time had passed at all. That was pretty cool. The others just sort of lost contact I guess, though we still see each other online. I suppose in a way it’s kind of sad, but I’m the type that has few friends, not many random hangout-pals, so I guess that’s okay.
Last year, I noticed that I’m an initiator. I decided to experiment and not call friends or family for a while. I sent a message saying I was free in August. I was on a break, and Princess was on a trip. I knew I was really quite flexible, and hoped to catch up with all my working pals now that I had no curfew. I decided I wouldn’t follow up on the announcement. I’d wait and see who followed through.
I didn’t see a single person for six months. And when I swallowed my pride and made those calls, I ended up meeting everyone in a week. Interesting.
With some of the people that went quiet, it wasn’t a big deal. I assume they’re like that and it’s a personality thing. With others, I felt hurt and neglected, and I’m not sure why. Feminine whims I suppose. It’s hard for me being un-gendered. I mean, I’m not enough of a female to do Gossip Girl and spas, but I’m not enough of a guy to do beer, ciggies, and sports bars. I feel weird hanging out at the salon, or meeting chick pals ‘just to chat’. But I also get emotional with my male friends when they don’t return calls. It’s maddeningly confusing.
Anyway, I’m at a point where I’m seeking out people online … again … and I’m not sure why. I guess it’s some kind of cycle. I don’t know how I decide who to meet. I’ll usually do blog comments or Twitter for months, then decide they look like fun to meet. It doesn’t always go according to plan. Some people are deliberately different online. And after that first tea, I’m never really sure what comes next.
It helps when a person seeks me out before I do. Some of my online meetings started with a DM and a phone number. Then it’s easy since they made the first move. It takes the pressure off a little, and friendships like that seem to flourish. It makes me think I should just stick with those and let people find me instead. But sometimes, you just want to meet someone. You just want to see what they’re like.
There are some people that I wanted to meet, but I was unsure. They seem so beautiful and deep that I’m afraid that I’ll look five years old in contrast. But my new friend taught me an important lesson. Depth is human too, and profound people are perfectly capable of everyday conversation, so yay!
I’ve been lucky. Most of my online meet ups have been positive. There were few awkward pauses and no gawky side eyes. Sure, there were some embarrassing moments, like being stood up at the last minute or having a person ignore texts and phone calls. Those ones were ouch. But I suppose it happens to the best of us, and I’ve done some avoiding as well.
Sometimes I wonder about dating. I’ve never really dated as such – or if I did – I wasn’t aware I was doing it. I guess it’s just like my friend thing. I guess sometimes you go out with someone once or twice then decide you don’t want them at all, so you stop taking calls and etcetera, or if you’re nicer, you say it won’t work out. And maybe sometimes you meet someone, you follow up, it’s mutual, and you end up together ever after. Ideally, in a dating scenario, the follow up comes from the guy, because if it comes from the girl and he says no, well, that’s a bit of an ouch. I suppose guys can feel just as rejected, but maybe they’re used to it because it happens more often. Or maybe they just hide their feelings better.
I admit I’m afraid of the dating game. I’ve accepted it’s a man’s world, and that things go much smoother when they’re left in charge. But I’m scared about following rules. I mean, assuming I can hide my feelings long enough for him to ask me out, I have to sit still and wait for him to follow up, which could take up to six months. And all the while, I have squash any urges to call him or text him or smother him, but I have to admit that I’m interested subtly. It’s all very complicated, and sounds really exhausting. Plus, after one date [or six months] he could always decide it’s a nay. It’s so much easier to decide that I’m simply not dating.
So as I start meeting new people that are platonic, I feel a bit uncertain about ‘what next’ and I want to run away just like I always do. After all, I can’t wonder what next if I don’t try at all, right? When I do meet people from online, I lately stick with married guys. It makes it a lot less likely that I’ll catch feelings and act on them. Defense mechanism. It makes sure my friendships don’t turn into dates.
In other news, I was Googling an image for yesterday’s post and ended up chilling with Sunako Nakahara. She’s a girl who confessed her love to a boy that responded by calling her ugly. She was so traumatized that she got into horrors and adopted creepy dolls. She sometimes has sex dreams about Freddie Krueger and Jason the 13th, and she has totally no clue of how hot she is. In typical Manga fashion, her aunt recruits four super hot boys to turn her into a lady. If they succeed, they get to live rent free for three years. Please note that these kids are all 15 years old.
When I first found Sunako on wiki, she seemed really interesting. I could draw a lot of parallels, so I immediately went to tazmo and started downloading. But on reading, I find that she isn’t quite me. For one thing, I got over my horror phase at 12, and two decades later, I still punch like a girl. Also, Sunako rocks at housework and is a brilliant cook, while I occasionally make stuff that’s palatable. Today was a meat day, and I’ve done mince, liver, and quarter. The results aren’t too bad, but maybe that’s because I was on hormones and passive aggressive.
Still, I have chapters to go through and more creepy fight scenes, so maybe I’ll find my salvation when she does. Besides, wielding a Samurai sword sure beats being Aoi Sakuraba. Her spirit is beauty, and she’s a lot like me, but she’s way too girly. I wonder if that means I’ve changed. Hm.
♫ Soobax ♫ K’Naan ♫
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