Somewhere along the line, I seem to have lost my ability to play well with others. I don’t socialize well. I used to. I remember a time when I didn’t feel awkward talking to people. I remember being better at small talk and discussing the weather. I could create a topic out of thin air if I needed to. I could talk to most people most of the time.
Now I can barely talk to anyone about anything. I don’t know when I lost my social skills. But I did. I can barely tolerate small talk. I find it strained and awkward and I’m sure it shows. Maybe it’s because I find it so tedious and taxing that I can’t do it any more. Perhaps what I really lost is my ability to fake it. But the net result of whatever I’m lost along the way is that I almost never make new friends.
I can’t remember making more than one new friend in the last 5 years. I have made a few acquaintances. Other than that, I feel sometimes like I’m in a barren wasteland. Or I feel like I’ve become so boring (or… unlikable… but I try not to go down that path) that I simply have nothing to talk about any more. And that without things to discuss in order to establish some commonalities, it’s even harder to forge friendships.
The Husband and I discussed it over the weekend. I used to have work, school, and hobbies. The people at work may or may not have had much in common with me, but often they did because I tend to choose work that I enjoy over work that is simply a paycheck. This tends to self-select for other people who do the same thing. That means that we will likely have a few things in common. Thus, a pool of potential friends. The same could be said for school and hobbies. Both are highly likely to be pools for potential friends because we’re studying the same things, going through the same things, or passionate about the same things we’re choosing to do in our free time. And, of course, there are usually plenty of people at the same rough stage in life.
Now, I am not in school. I don’t have any hobbies. I just work. I’ve cut my pool by two thirds.
In addition to that, I have little in common with other people in my age group. We usually have different experiences and priorities since I chose not to have children. I can’t relate to their stories of annoying teens, potty training woes, or being a grandparent. I don’t have a corporate job, so I have nothing in common there either. Nor can I really talk about the current life experiences of people in school for the first time. I can talk about my past experience with school. But it bears little resemblance to the experiences of being in school today. It’s simply been so long that it has changed too much. Then, of course, there’s the kink.
Being kinky is certainly not enough to guarantee we could be friends. But if I befriend a vanilla person, I will either have to hide my kinky side from them. (And did I mention it’s the only notable activity in my life right now?) Or I will have to come out to them and hope they don’t look at me like I’ve suddenly turned into a monster.
So basically, what I’m saying is that I think I might have missed my window of opportunity for easy friend-making. If I want to make friends from now on, I suspect that I’m going to have to put some Herculean effort into it.