Seeking Real Interactions
So I had this epiphany the other day as I was scrolling through my Facebook timeline, I will never talk to some of these people ever again. I mean, I probably knew that deep down, but having those words pop into my head really hit me. I'm on a social networking site, sharing things about my life with people that share the same apathy I have about our relationship. That's insane to me! I sat there and looked at my 422 friends at the time, I don't have 422 friends, I can tell you that right now. I don't know if you added up all the friends I ever had that it would equal 422. That number just laughed at me, mocked me, called me out and made me realize that I spent a good part of my life trying to please people.
You might ask, "How is having Facebook friends just trying to please people?". I look at it like this, I've seen some of the friend requests come in and knew that they were requests I should deny; not out of safety or anger, just people I never was going to talk to again. In my mind, I guess I figured that maybe we'd start talking; but it was always a "hey, I know that guy" type of friend request. I did the same thing when Facebook would help me find friends that I might know, "hey I remember that guy". I'm here to say that's stupid and I'm vowing to never do that again, I'm vowing never to feel obligated to share anything with someone (in person or via Social Media), no pictures, no jokes, no statuses, heck the fact that I'm even alive is irrelevant. My high school life wasn't all that bad, at least not at school. I got along with some people well, was generally well-liked and didn't have too many horror stories of being picked on or bullied. It's not that I dislike these people, they just aren't my friends.
I've had the ability to connect with some people that I was close to that I hadn't seen in a while and it's been fantastic, we've reconnected, shared some memories, laughs and all that other corny stuff. However, since finding myself on my own, being a single dad and home by myself a majority of the time, I don't want the fly-bys. I want real interactions with people, I want to talk to people who care how I really feel about things and who are willing to share with me how they feel about things. I want to avoid all the common courtesy niceties and be able to answer "how are you today?" honestly. That freaks people out, being genuine about your strengths and weaknesses is freaking scary and hearing someone do it is really weird. Good, I hope I spend the rest of my life on the adrenaline rush that comes with being honest, I hope I freak you out a little bit.
The most precious thing we have in our interpersonal relationships is the ability to communicate, the base word of relationship is relate. Relate means "to give an account of", it doesn't mean exchanging half-hearted greetings and thoughtless replies. That's not relating, that's wasting your time. Our lives our stories with ups and downs and by relating with other people by sharing our accounts and listening to theirs, we see where our lives have come together in certain ways. We see where we can share common experiences, lessons learned and wisdom from the hardship of life and words don't even describe how awesome that really is. I spent a big part of my life trying to make sure that people liked me, that I didn't do anything that would cause people to stop liking me and that I was always careful about what I shared because of how people would react to it.
You see, this isn't me, I once was a brazen, brash, loud, provocative young man. I had an opinion on everything and would share it with anyone. Now my life and my goals were a little bit different back then, but there's a balance that can be struck somewhere in this. I used to live life too much and I've found myself not living enough. Not going to concerts I want to go see because I'm by myself, not taking that trip to go see a friend in person - I've just gotten to the point where I've let life dictate to me what is going to happen and I don't want to do that anymore. Since that night, I've unfriended over 100 of the 422 original friends I had and I had fun doing it. As simple and silly as that might sound, I was conquering my fear and reclaiming a part of myself that I've let get away. I don't have time to waste, I have places to take my children, things to see, people to visit and love to find again. I'm so incredibly thankful for the people in my life, it seems wasteful and irresponsible to try to please everyone; I want to take my remaining time on this earth and redeem it by learning how to genuinely love people and actually doing it. Anything else would be a disservice, and I apologize for the disservice I've done to so many of you for the last 10 years.