As I wrote my way through my youth in a journal, I went to school with some people for up to 17 years. When I had the chance to be included, something I thought would finally endear me into their group, I wouldn’t do it. I realized who they were and knew they were poison and I couldn’t move ahead in life with them as an anchor.
It was the same for almost every group I’ve been in. The thought of being stuck with the same people because of duty was emotionally too great of a burden. I wasn’t there for the right reason. I couldn’t stay anymore.
A very old girlfriend reached out to me recently, but I couldn’t talk to her. It was a relationship that ended badly. I don’t have the desire to relive it again even though we’ve moved on. That is the point though, I moved on.
Because of my personality, being loyal was a trait that overrode protecting myself. I did a lot of stuff that while during it, was a terrible chore. I did my duty because I thought it was my responsibility. I gave myself completely to friendships when all of the effort was for naught. Afterwards, I frequently felt betrayed by others. They didn’t do any share of the relationship or a joint project.
This first happened to me at single digits of age and continued through my work career.
I recall the feeling of being betrayed by others and realized they were self-centered. I didn’t understand this concept and had to learn about it the hard way. I had extended myself only to have my minimal expectations (some sense of returned loyalty) ignored or rebuffed.
Being a pattern person, I recognized what was going on and finally started withdrawing my full commitment. This bothered me as I hate giving less than 100% to a friendship or a task, and it gave me no satisfaction. In fact I felt I was selling myself short. The outcome was predictable every time.
Finally, after realizing that guarding myself was more important than worrying about what others might think, I started saying no. I didn’t want to anymore. I didn’t want to go through what I knew would be a one sided effort that left me disappointed again and again. I was tired of being hurt or betrayed. Others do it easily without concern for anyone. I had to learn to say no.
This was tough to do at first, but I had to protect myself or life would continue to be tough on me. I was tough on myself more than others.
I found that there is some initial pain on both sides of the relationship, but mostly mine. It has saved me in the long run. I now don’t do a lot of things that I know are just not going to be worth it. I’m much more careful as to what I’m going to commit to, either in tasks or relationships.
I’ve found some peace once I realized that others don’t give a shit usually other than about themselves. They quickly forget about it and me. I don’t get over it near as quickly, feeling that I’ve let someone down, but it passes and I realize that I’ve prioritized myself rather than others because it was necessary. It’s not selfish, rather a means of self-protection for me.
Of course, I thought I “suffered” from Mauerbauertraurigheit, but then it became my friend and I’ve eliminated a lot of grief. I used to give and give until I was overwhelmed to the point that I completely withdrew and couldn’t control doing so. Now, I recognize it in advance and purposely do it when I know it’s not going to be worth it.
I weigh the benefit against the cost and don’t do a “duty” or what I perceive as an expectation. There is a price for my loyalty, it is at least some in return. Otherwise, you don’t see me anymore.
There are a lot of jokes about extroverts adopting introverts and so forth, but the answer on really how to get to know one is less obvious to the world. It is clear as a bright sunshine day to introverts.
I know I have little patience for small talk. I don’t want to hear about surface level nonsense that is mostly irrelevant. It becomes a Facebook discussion on saying anything you can to get the most likes in the conversation.
That is a social rule that was written by extroverts because they are louder and dominate the discussions. When the yapping starts, I watch the introverts shutting down. It is mentally draining. It takes me days to recover from having to listen to this.
I’d rather just not talk and I don’t go to a lot of things just to not to have to hear it. I like the people, but the energy draining isn’t worth it.
On the other hand, if you want to talk about something meaningful, watch me open up. We don’t have to talk about derivative equations, but cut the shit and meaningless banter. I have a great depth of knowledge on many subjects and enjoy the conversation that is intellectually stimulating.
Fortunately, I am not bound by whether someone likes me for what I say or comply to. There are a lot of times I’m grateful that someone thinks I may be anti-social because I don’t want to listen to gossip. It’s usually a hate fest anyway.
I had an oncologist tell me that girls will tell other girls how good they look when it is awful, just so they will wear it and look bad. How effed up is that? They hate each other and I don’t want to hear about it.
So get to know me. That is two fold. Don’t gossip or try to keep the conversation going for the sake of talking. The other is try to go below the surface and show that you have thoughts about something sincere, really anything. Try pets for example. How tough is that?
I’ll do my part and even put up with the introductory small talk to get to know you, but if it doesn’t go past that very soon and you start repeating the same thing, or if it’s just trashing someone else, I’m out.