Sunday, November 14, 2010

making friends

I am an Innie. It's not easy to make friends for people like me. I am anxious in social situations, it takes me ages to get to used to someone's presence, not to even mention some kind of intimate relationship. In addition to being an Innie, I also have some social phobias and anxiety which really don't help. The only way I feel comfortable getting to know someone is kind of by accident. As a side effect or unexpected consequence. Like when in school and realizing after couple months that there is one or two people I really enjoy, and somehow we are friends without thinking about it. Setting me up terrifies me, no matter how good someone's intentions. Social gatherings exhaust me and hardly ever lead to anything significant (unless repeated multiple times in a natural way).

So now, I think I am getting a friend. Slowly. There is this guy who is an intern, who was present in some of my classes... I kept forgetting his name which was embarrassing (twice I didn't introduce him by name to my class b/c I forgot it) and I still don't remember his family name. Our first conversations were awkward and stressful (to me), it was more about what I thought I should have been saying, than any natural creation. But slowly we started to joke here and there, we realized we have some similar hobbies. We started to comment on FB, and somehow a thought came to me: "I think it would be nice to hang out with him, even outside of work".

I like it that way. Slowly, naturally, no pushing, no expectations. If we don't like each other enough to be friends, we simply remain in our work-roles. All this process (that took over two months I think), reminded me how typically difficult my social relations are. I guess I should be glad I am an Innie, it must be a hell for anxious Extrovert with social phobias...

A while ago I was teaching my kids on the meaning of our sages' saying "find yourself a teacher, acquire for yourself a friend". And I guess I was right, we are "acquiring" friends, not just "finding" them. It's a hard work, full of tension, possible pitfalls and risks. Once in a while worth engaging in.

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