more scattered thoughts
Post created: 2020-12-30
Thoughts that have been on my mind for some years, still half-formed.
Something about my personality invites people to engage in free therapy. I don't really have a problem with it. If there's one thing I can do well, it is probably listening to people and figuring out what they want. Actually, if you ever have to guess what someone wants, just go with support and validation. If you have basic theory of mind, this is easy -- most people just don't bother.
More recently, I've had growing discontent with the (long-held) understanding that I can realistically expect none of the same support to be returned.
I reflect on life somewhat frequently, and I try to make sure that I correctly attribute joys and stresses to their causes. A nicer way, perhaps, of saying that I am calculative by nature.
For the overwhelming majority of people I know, they bring more stress than joy. That's alright, for the most part. Everyone has their demons.
However, over the past two years -- stress over home, friends, visas, finances, personal health, life -- as I've had them, I've also had the realization that I can't talk to anyone about them meaningfully. It isn't for the lack of trying, either -- those attempts simply blew up or came back to bite me in some way. Sitting in bed at three in the morning and realizing that the most support you've ever gotten is essentially equivalent to thoughts and prayers from Reddit, isn't really the best of experiences.
I'm not particularly unique here, at least as a guy -- see recent posts on HN or Reddit that catapult to the top every Christmas. The nature of modern life in America? Or a phenomenon worldwide?
So, perhaps a new resolution as 2021 begins: a heavy pruning of communication, and a more intentional approach to interaction.
- If people only appear when they need something, drop them.
- If people only share the negatives, drop them.
- If people in general take things for granted, drop them.
- More actively, stop reaching out first. Let dying things die.
- And hold back more on offering help to randoms. It sucks, because I've been there before -- you're at quite a low when you're reaching out to the world at large for help. But I'm running out of emotional bandwidth to spare.
This will probably whittle down a non-existent social life even further, but there's something to be said for quality over quantity. More people are interested in me the therapist or me the TA rather than me the me.
When all is said and done, and expectations rebalanced, I expect to be in touch with maybe 0 to 3 people. We'll see.
A pendulum in the breeze.