Sunday, August 8, 2021

Time to re-evaluate my decision-making paradigm...

Rita Mae Brown, in her 1983 book "Sudden Death" wrote, "Unfortunately, Susan didn't remember what Jane Fulton once said, 'Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.'”

(No, it wasn't Albert Einstein, try actually reading some books rather than trusting the interwebs.

There is truth to that statement though so while Jane Fulton was fictional she knew of what she spoke.

After more than 50 years of life and the death (or at least slow withering away) of more friendships than I care to count, I must conclude that both Rita Mae Brown and Jane Fulton are correct. I must be insane. 

I keep trying and yet each and every time the friendships eventually fall into a place where if I do not reach out, I would not hear from that friend again. Sounds like insanity to me.

In hope of not being insane however I take this quote (probably incorrectly not being a biblical scholar)

"Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen." (Hebrews 11:1)

Perhaps it is simply faith. Certainly, I hope for friendship, and thus far it has been unseen. I should have faith that it isn't me (though it probably is) and that there will eventually be a friend out there for me who will actually think highly enough of me to remember I exist.

I want to be a comfort in tragedy, I want to celebrate in triumph, and in between to just be a friend.

This leads me to the title of this post and to another quote:

"Well, we're in the desert, looking for the source of a river pollutant, using as our map a cave drawing of a Civil War gunship, which is also in the desert. So I was just wondering when we're gonna have to sit down and re-evaluate our decision-making paradigm?" (Steve Zahn as Al Giordino in Sahara - 2005)

It is time to re-evaluate my decision-making paradigm. I must be doing something wrong, or I suppose, there must be something wrong with me. There has to be a reason that this keeps happening. 

The solution does not seem to be that I should swear off friendships, though that may be imposed by the circumstances that surround us now. Meeting people with whom to create new friendships has become very difficult.

As much as you would think I don't actually need a friend, being a shy introvert with a withdrawn personality, I have discovered over the last couple of years that I in fact do need at least one friend. I want to be able to share new thoughts, ideas, creations, fears, etc. with. 

The last year and a half of enforced seclusion have shown me that what little interaction I did have with people, call them acquaintances, colleagues, or whatever, was necessary to my happiness. Not that they necessarily cared all that much about what I was saying, thinking, or making, but it gave me an outlet to talk about these things and at least some (occasionally honest) feedback.

So where does that leave me? 

It is complicated to meet new people now and if you add that to the existing complicating factors of my age and interests, the pool of potential friends shrinks considerably. There are not a lot of 50+ nerd men who don't really care a tinker's cuss for sports and enjoy learning and making new things. 

Because of this most of the people I meet are at a completely different stage of their lives. My kids are grown and take care of themselves while the people I know either have younger kids or are trying to find someone with which to have kids. These differences in priorities may not be completely disruptive to an ongoing friendship, but they make it very difficult.

None of this is earth-shatteringly difficult to overcome. I just need to, as I keep saying, re-evaluate my decision-making paradigm. This, of course, is easier said than done. Just how exactly should I change what? 

Do I continue to reach out to past friends who seem not to be interested in friendships? I certainly do not want to foist myself on someone who does not want my company. Nor do I wish to make a complete fool of myself trying to be friends with someone who does not reciprocate. (see definition of insanity above)

Do I continue to try to find new friends? Do I give up and rely on the cold, abusive, and blighted landscape of social media for my validation? 

re-evaluating ones decision-making paradigm, like tents, is hard. Though, at least, the process of writing this post has helped clarify and focus my thoughts somewhat. I still don't know exactly what to do or how to do it but I think I have an idea which direction to lean.

I truly hope this is the last time I post about friendship, it seems to be a topic I come back to a lot. I suppose that should tell me something as well. 

If you have any thoughts you would like to share, (constructive) ideas of what I could try, or even if you have a similar problem, please share it in the comments. 

Keep Flying.

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