My best friend at the moment is a stranger I wave to every day on the beach – I like to think we have the perfect relationship. I suppose I could say that my wife is my best friend but that sort of feels like cheating – sort of like people boasting about getting a Valentine’s Day card from their mother . The reality is that I’m just not very good when it comes to making friends. I feel uncomfortable around other people, and I tend to rub them the wrong way. I suppose the real problem is that I just don’t have any desire to have this type of close relationship. I’ve always been a bit of a social misfit.
I Care About People but I Just Don’t Like Being Around Them
Despite my friend-phobia, I do genuinely care about people. I like to hear from those who are doing well in life, and it hurts me to hear that people are struggling. I may be lacking in some aspects of emotional intelligence, but I’ve no problems when it comes to empathy.
I became a nurse because I felt compelled to help people. Since giving up nursing, I’ve been spending some of my time trying to help people dealing with addiction. I don’t do this because I’m some type of do-gooder or I’m looking for some reward – it is just who I am.
I’ve also noticed in recent months that I can be out and about, completely minding my own business, when I’ll see a complete stranger, and for no apparent reason I experience this intense feeling of love for that person. It has nothing to do with sexual attraction because it happens with men and women – it can even happen with stray dogs. I have no urge to go introduce myself or begin stalking them – it is just this silent desire to wish them well. It’s all very strange, and I feel embarrassed writing about it.
History of a Social Misfit
I’ve no real opinion on the nature/nurture debate, but it does appear to me that I’ve always been a bit of a social misfit. Most of my earliest memories involve feeling uncomfortable around other people. I’ve said in the past that one of the reasons for why I turned to alcohol was that it helped me make friends – it would be more honest to say that it made it bearable for me to be around other people. In the beginning, alcohol took the edge of my feelings of discomfort, but it lost its potency for this as the year went by. Instead of alcohol being a cure for my problems. it just meant that I became a drunk as well as a social misfit – this was not a winning combination.
I’m terrible in social situations. I’m not unfriendly or anything, but I just feel awkward, and I end up saying too much. I nearly always walk away from these encounters thinking ‘what the fuck was all that about?’ I also become demand resistant when I’m part of a group. I always want to do the opposite of the group consensus, and this tends to rub people up the wrong way.
Since giving up alcohol seven years ago, my life has improved in many wonderful ways. The one thing that hasn’t changed is my discomfort around other people. I’ve made lots of online friends, and this is perfect because I don’t have to actually be around them. These people sometimes offer to visit me here in Thailand – to them, it’s a nice idea but for me it is like they are threatening to come and break my legs. With the exception of my family, I’d be happy to only ever have to deal with people online.
Dark Clouds on the Horizon
My painful encounter with career uncertainty last year led to a real breakthrough in letting go. I don’t think that I’ll ever have to deal with that type of fear again. I’ve been on a bit of a high for the last few months because of this new freedom. I’m beginning to suspect now though that some dark clouds are on the horizon because I’m witnessing all the signs that the universe wants to challenge me again. I keep on having intense dreams involving my relationships with other people, and powerful dreams were a bit part of my last encounter. There also seems to be increasing evidence in my waking life that my social skills need to be improved – it is like the universe is determined to make me face this challenge
I know that it must sound outrageous for me to say that the universe would go to the trouble of trying to change little ol’ me. I don’t claim to know how any of this works, but it is just what I experience. I don’t have beliefs about any of this. It just obvious to me that there is something else that is responsible for the positive changes in my life because I’ve been dragged kicking and screaming to all the good things in my life.
It will be interesting to see how things progress with my social awkwardness. Maybe I’m still in the denial stage because I just don’t see it as a problem. I also struggle to imagine what a cure would be like – nothing I can imagine appears very appealing.