The fact that I *was* able to make a few friends on here, or even friendly acquaintances, has been a cool bonus that I wasn't expecting, even after you subtract off the ones that 1) Didn't Work Out and 2) Didn't Work Out In A Spectacular Way My God What Was I Thinking.
Lately I've been running at about a 50% success rate for Getting to Know People I Meet. Like, about one out of two turns out to be swell enough, and also thinks I'm swell enough, to have some sort of regular exchange. The "failures" take a lot out of me though. I'm sensitive when it comes to dealing with people; a lot of technos are, because we don't really like People as a species (an individual Person might break the sound barrier sometimes), we like Things. Lately I've just felt tired of dealing with People, in general, on an interpersonal basis, and that's probably half the reason why I sometimes whine so much.
I keep trying to remember that phase in my life when I didn't have people around. Some of you have heard this story. The short version is that my dad died, I got mugged, I was having Issues at my Workplace, and two of my very, very close friends (of which I didn't have many) decided to go whacky on me, around the same time I was trying to take a giant comprehensive exam (an entire day locked in a room with your lunch in a bag and limited bathroom breaks, doing engineering problems from memory, no books or notes allowed) and finish my engg masters in night school. It never fails, when I have a Big Exam to take, someone will pick that moment to run out on me, make wild accusations or otherwise engage in behavior outside my personal Geneva Convention. Maybe this is like when little kids pick up on their mom's PMS stress and respond by having more injuries and accidents. I dunno. It's not appreciated, whatever's causing it. Eh.
Anyway I kinda declared a moratorium on People. I had coworkers at work who I talked to At Work. I had two friends in faroff states who I corresponded with sporadically, one housemate/fiance/spouse who I saw when he wasn't on the road, a couple neighbors who would pop out and annoy me now and then and my mom long distance. That was it for a few years. Of all these people, two of them (spousal unit and mom) were the only ones who I discussed anything deep or personal with.
This wasn't as hard as it might sound to deal with. I worked a lot. I planned a wedding and a long overseas trip, both of which took up my time. I was also severely injured, bedridden and in pain twice for periods of months, which kinda would have put the kibosh on my socializing anyway. The only weird times came when I had to get recommendations for a clearance or, later, law school applications, and the apps or interviewers would ask about my friends in the area and I had none to name. But it wasn't that strange considering how ppl move around for their jobs and often don't know a lot of ppl in the new areas.
I watched Turner Classic Movies a lot. I wrote in a journal a lot trying to figure out how to get my life back on track. I celebrated a lot of holidays alone (whatsisname was on the road). It wasn't so bad, being alone. I was kind of used to it because when I did have friends, they had often lived in another state or had jobs where they traveled frequently, just like I did some years.
At the end of that time, I simultaneously got online and went to one of the biggest law schools in the country and there's been about a bazillion people around ever since and usually a few on a friendly basis. It's been an odd adjustment, getting used to having people around again. I could probably live pretty happily by myself, although it would take some getting used to now that I'm used to Not being by myself.
I haven't told this whole story to anyone for a long while because a few years ago when I started kind of actively trying to be friendly to people again, after spending a few years snarling at most of them, I made the mistake of telling it to the wrong person(s) and someone who had some axe to grind against me (let's skip the details) mutated it into my being some kind of psychotic sick individual who everyone hated. Uh, yeah. I almost got rid of everybody in my life all over again at that point but I had a couple of people (who are probably reading this now and you know who you are and I *heart* you) who were pretty cool, so I hung in there and eventually everything worked out in the laundry.
So that is why I talk so much about all the f(r)iends crud on here. Because it's kind of new to me. I didn't have many of what I would consider "real" friends before I took my little hiatus from people either, for various complicated reasons, so sometimes I feel like I'm back at about age 19 or 20 in my friendship stage of social development. I also feel like in some ways, the younger people today are much better at making friends than "my generation" was. Maybe it's just that the I-net makes it easier to find like-minded people or maybe the generations have really gained in wisdom. Eh. Back to work.