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Saturday, 9 March 2013

Finding the balance: Social interaction vs: social isolation

this is approximately how I socialise

I like being in my own company.

I don't get lonely on my own very often.  I don't feel the need to be with other people. I don't enjoy being with most people and, frankly, if I can avoid a social engagement without offending people, I normally will.

I do understand, however, that this is not universal, and a lot of people would say this is not normal.

At the moment, Wife is trying to encourage me into more social activities. With all the changes that have happened to us in the last 12 months, she has decided to be more pro-active about her own social life rather than relying on me for one, and so now she has joined 2 different folk music groups, and her weekends are normally taken up with practice, ceilidhs, gigs and gatherings.  And she loves it. It makes her very happy.

So, understandably, she is trying to encourage me to find something that I am passionate about and locate a group to join. This isn't a new drive on her part, but it is more sustained than it has been previously.  I completely understand her perspective: that finding something you love to do is a blessing, that its fun, that it will help me develop friends and relationships, that she won't feel the pressure of being my entire social circle.

But here's the thing: while I'm not against the idea of having a social life per se, the more she tries to talk/ force me into doing it, the less likely I am to do it.

There is also the fact that the people with whom I am most likely to spend time are people not too dissimilar from me. Gamers, geeks, nerds and social outcasts, and if I'm perfectly honest, most people like that make me cringe, and while I might be happy to game with them, i really don't want to spend social time with someone likely to incorporate RP conversations into real life activities. I just can't deal with that.

What wife doesn't understand is that the biggest issue for me now is one of confidence.  Before I realised the extent of my difference from other people I was bulletproof in social situations: full of confidence uncaring about what other people thought of me and happy to do my own thing. It didn't occur to me that there could be anything wrong or inappropriate about what I said, what I did and how I approached people.   Now, however, things are different.  I am now very aware of my shortcomings in comparison to "normal" people, and i can't stop worrying about whether I am offending people, upsetting people or acting inappropriately.

Which means I am boring. I do nothing. I don't engage in conversation of my own accord, but wait for people to talk to me - which given that I am the silent stranger in the corner happens rarely.

I feel its a conundrum.  I don't want to socialise for the sake of it, but I can see that Wife thinks it will help both of us.  I don't mind doing it, but don't want to be forced into it. I can't be the brash, confident person I was before - turns out ignorance really is bliss.

I will work on it as i don't want to completely isolate myself, particularly with my recent marital issues, but I don't know what the solution is.