It helped to approach first extended conversation with a preliminary “I have no negative thoughts about myself and my ability in social situations” following therapy discussion. ES was the person I talked to. This made me more comfortable and allowed us to talk at some length. Clear and interesting insight: tension was coming out of a need to “protect myself” from someone or something rather than unease with my social ability.
Conversation with coffee shop guy– calmed myself and asked him if he stayed in town for the holidays. Asked about business there. A likable fellow who in the past I’d feared talking to at length for not wanting to sound prying. Helped to start conversation with a realization of what we discussed in therapy.
Conversation with A — nice, popular guy who took the time to ask about my holiday. Perfunctorily, I asked about his holiday. Thoughts: how do I selflessly express interest in things he’s saying without sounding patronizing or superficially polite? Made more of an effort to smile and nod and say yeah to his holiday story, but grew tense out of “how to” fear.
Insight for both preceding entries–that openness and willingness for other people to engage comes when I’m not “closed up” and trying to protect myself.
A–We met today, and I approached with the “non-negative” attitude, and she seemed genuinely happy to see me. New Year’s plans? I asked. Hanging out with a new guy, a lawyer. Last boyfriend (she broke up with a few weeks ago) was a schoolteacher. Both are close to my age. So, age difference isn’t the issue. What were my thoughts/feelings? I have A’s warmth and attention–therefore I feel “full.” Akin to feeling full when in a relationship, and it’s good, and I’m validated. Learning A is already dating someone else–“resignation/typical/story of my life.” A goes away–emptiness.
ES walked up and mentioned she had a date for NYE, too. Rather than simply asserting “I don’t care” (when I really did), I immediately made a more specific decision not to allow their choices of other men be a negative reflection on who I am. This helped.
NYE is the blackest night of the year for me. Can’t stop negative thoughts–another failed year, no one to celebrate it with, no new successes with finding a true career–this year, a failed decade. Dog walking friend Jennifer texts me and wants to meet for an early morning NY hike.
J — we’ve met off and on for almost a year — probably more of my confidant than anyone else. She set clear boundaries early on that all she wanted was a dog walking friend. I don’t really want her to be anything else, either, even though she’s attractive. I feel completely comfortable talking to her. Helps to carry on the conversation while moving, and not making much eye contact.
Made no New Year’s resolutions or plans whatsoever. Am tired of lofty and ambitious plans that end in flames by Nov 1, inevitably, realization that E still needs to work on basic E comes through.
Mentoring kids — they were laughing at all my jokes. I’m developing an “I don’t care, but do” attitude about this (among other things), since I am beginning to see I probably won’t make the kind of difference I thought I would. We are becoming more like friends. I do try to offer responsible adult opinions on drugs, gangs, racism, girls in a less-direct way.
Carried a serious “I don’t care, but do” attitude to work. Had a few pleasant conversations. They mostly end with the patient stare from the other person–“okay, are you done, did you have anything else to say?” Am having more and more fruitful conversations with a lady named M who has jogged with me before, and still seems open to doing it again.
I like how this “I don’t care, but do” attitude is making it easier to make conversation, but don’t really like adopting such a lackadaisical approach at 33.
Decided to start volunteering to teach computers to the computer illiterate. Adding it here as a possible future fruitful social activity.