I had a very sheltered upbringing, because my parents felt they fucked up with their first child. I remember, as a kid, I was open, expressive and honest. I knew I was weird. I never hid it. I knew people liked me being weird. I remember once, an older cousin commanded me to bring him a glass of water. So I peed in a cup and…you get the idea. I am not proud of it but, it’s a fun story.
Later on, all that changed. I grew quiet. I built an armour around me and I installed a filter on my mouth. I still have remnants of my old self though. Sometimes I’ll feel the urge to strike up a conversation with a random stranger when I’m drunk. The conversation goes really well until the alcohol wears off.
So now, I’m trying to release the Kraken; I am trying to bring back my old self. Turns out, it’s not that easy when you are 27 years old. People get offended very quickly. I can’t stroke a guy’s beard and tell him it “feels” good. I can’t stare into a girl’s eyes and tell her it reminds me of my dead dog. So I’ve toned down the approach. I’m trying out this new method, where I slowly reveal my weirdness and see if it plays out well. Hope I don’t get fired.
I don’t get invited to a lot of parties and if do, I refuse immediately. Its just my inability to socialise. No big deal. But I went to a party today. I went because the person who invited me put it in a very interesting way. This is kind of what she said:
“I know your issue with a large group of people. Yes, there will be some of those ‘fancy stuck-up rich people’ that you talk about but most of them are humble and best of all, they have a good sense of humour. There will be people of all ages(there really was!). There’s no way all of them will react badly to your craziness. You don’t know these people. You might never see them again. So go ahead and embarrass yourself.
So I did and… I wouldn’t say I nailed it but I sure as hell survived it. The highlights of the event were:
I did not offend anyone
I weirded-out a few but they’ll be alright
I talked to everyone
Didn’t get uncomfortable with the ladies
So I am here now. I am still alive. I am looking forward to the next party. Actually, no. Not immediately.
Two years have gone by since I moved to Kolkata. Life’s been great so far. However, whenever I get too happy my phone does a good job of reminding me that I have zero friends outside of work. So I did what anyone else would do in these situations. Drum roll… ta da! I turned to religion.
Last Sunday morning I decided to go to church. Thought I would go see what our friendly church-goers are up to. I was expecting to see a lot of the “lets all stare at the new guy to make him super uncomfortable” routine. To my surprise, no one gave a shit and it felt great. That was until halfway through mass. I noticed a lady wearing cargo shorts staring at me. She looked at me and smiled. Then I did the unthinkable. I looked right back at her and without any hesitation gave her a super wide smile. There were no negative thoughts like “Is she super religious? Should I go talk to her? Will she kill me after mass?”. All that was going on in my mind was,” Fuck yes! I did it! Finally accepted by society. That’s all that matters. It’s all uphill from here”.
I was walking back home when I was stopped by (you guessed it) lady in the cargo shorts. After an initial “Hi I saw you at church” introduction, began a questioning spree “Where are you from? You don’t look like you’re from here. Where do you stay? Do you like it here? Do you have some cash on you?”.
Just like any other day I was sitting in my office planning how to deploy artillery around the campus when I heard the boss say something. My brain could not process what was coming out of its mouth. It kept making a weird noise. It sounded like “Party” aka nightmare. “We are having a party at my place tomorrow. I would like you to come” For some reason my immediate answer was “why?”. But what I really wanted to ask was “why should I come? You don’t own me. Why do you always refer to yourself as ‘we’? Are you a legion or something?”.
Long story short, what should have been a perfect evening with my drums, Rick, Morty and Mindhunter is now ruined because I have to talk to “people” instead. Thanks a lot life! I don’t think it’ll be that bad though. Unless a whole group of people try to corner me and force me to talk. I resort to arson in those situations. Which is highly unlikely given my celebrity status in the office.
“Speak your mind man”, said my boss after discussing my salary. “Dude, if I spoke my mind you would need therapy to get your normal life back”.
Its not just him. Its everyone. Family, friends, strangers. “Speak up. Let it out”. I actually do not have any fear of speaking. It is what I say that I am afraid of. All of these people who say “Speak up. Its ok. You can tell me anything” will just run away if I start talking because I am a real person. I don’t sugar coat things. I say things as they are.
However, I also tend to say a lot of random nonsense that I consider to be “jokes”. These have some sort of a magical property of repelling people away instantly. Its quite useful sometimes.
I am extremely lucky to have a handful of friends with whom I can “speak my mind”. But fuckin “life” comes in there too and fucks it up for everybody. I wish I could live with my friends for ever. No, there’s nothing gay about it. Hell, we don’t even live in the same country anymore.
I’ve never had this trouble until I reached high school. Because until then, my mouth did not have a filter. I used to speak my mind. It was also during this time that I had friends. Many friends. Aha! Eureka!
I am now at a point in my life where I have completely lost the ability to socialize. Yes, its 100% gone. I did it! Woo hoo! Feels great. I feel like I deserve a medal or something. Or a hug. I prefer the hug over the medal actually.
I tried. I gave it my best. How can you conquer something that deep down you know you don’t want? I have begun to really really like not talking to people. I am very happy by myself. Ha ha. But it worries me because I know that’s not good.
I’ve tried. It doesn’t work. I am talking about casual talk. I can’t hold a conversation for more than a few minutes. Either one of us gets bored quickly and the conversation fades. I’ve been trying to fix this for a long time. I tried to fix it only because I wanted to feel normal. What’s weird is that I never realized that I am not good at talking to people until now. Up until now I never had to put in effort to make friends. They came in plenty at school! I am in my late 20s now. I am still close friends with my college mates. However, now we live in different parts of the world and that fucking sucks.
For the past few months, I’ve been forcing myself to start conversations with random strangers. Funny thing is that it worked. Almost everyone I talked to responded very well. It is what happened afterwards that I didn’t like. I quickly got bored of the talking. So I modified my approach. I blurted out only the important things and then I walked away. Ha ha. Weird and proud!
I’ve stopped trying so hard because I found out that deep down, I don’t really care. I’ve realized that I enjoy being alone, doing things only I like. I keep myself company. Going to watch movies alone has opened up a whole new world for me. I now immerse myself in the movie. I don’t have to worry about weather the other person likes the movie or not. You might think that I am trying to fill the void in my life by doing all of this but no. I know what its like to be with someone. I know what its like to be with a group of friends. It doesn’t quite work for me anymore. Then why blog about it? Well, its because I am not entirely sure if what I am feeling is right. Initially the title of this post was “I am not good at talking to people and its okay”.
Friends- The best thing that can happen to anyone. Any problem in life is made easy with them. My friend circle is very small. So, moving far away from home has resulted in me getting completely cut off from them.
Like any normal person would, I prefer like- minded people. In my case, that seems to be a little too much to ask for because(how do I make this non-cringe worthy?) my type doesn’t come in plenty! So now I’ve broadened the approach. I try to talk to whoever comes my way. This has resulted in many awkward conversations, sometimes giving off wrong signals and even turning flirtatious. I wish there was an easy way to do this. There are apps to do this sort of thing but I’m terrified to use them.
I realise now that I had been taking friends for granted. They came in plenty at school! You didn’t have to put any work into it! There were so many people around me that I had the luxury to choose people. But now, things are different. I have to work hard to make good friends. I have to, dare I say it, ‘be outgoing’. The funny thing is that I never meet good friends this way. I meet interesting people only in interesting ways! It usually happens by coincidence. It’s like the universe sends them to me. Since the universe has been awful quiet lately, I am forced to find friends on my own. I never realised it would be so hard. I am forced to make myself appealing to get to talk to people. I know that there is a natural tendency for people to want to hang out with other happy people. I have also heard that successful people hagout with other successful people. I interpret it as ‘smart people prefer to keep their smartness fresh by hanging out with other smart people’ which is probably ignorant but hey! I don’t differentiate them when they seek my friendship!. Unfortunately, I tend to repel successful people very quickly!
I am now at a point in my life where I could really use a few good friends. I am not a total introvert who does not talk to anyone. I have a few friends at work. I very rarely get to hangout with them outside the office. My friends from college are my closest. I was the happiest person in the world when a few of them came to visit me. I had the best time of my life.
I like watching talk shows on YouTube. Apart from the top ones, I also like those types where common people get together and talk about day-to-day problems that everyone face. Its even more awesome if they are funny and are also friends with each other. This leads me to think that my longing to have a group of friends has peaked to such a level that I like to watch people on YouTube have a good time! One positive thing that has come out of not having any friends is that my imagination is running wild. You know it is time to make friends as soon as possible when you start to imagine having conversations with imaginary people!
So here’s the thing about me that is really messed up: There actually was a point in my life not too long ago when I had a good number of friends. I enjoyed their company very much. However,as we hung out more and more, I started to get sick of them. I wanted to go back to my lonely miserable condition. I am not sure if it had anything to do with the group that I hung out with but I really felt bad about it. I thought something was wrong with me. I was literally hunting for friends the whole time and when I finally had what I wanted, I wanted to get rid of them. It is really hard to describe the feeling of not wanting too many friends. But that is not even the worst part. I actually wanted to be ALONE at that point. The people who I hung out with had not done anything to upset me. Its just weird.