The end of the world? No... just the next day.
I watched the movie "Adaptation" (Starring Nicholas Cage) last night... It was "pretty good".

I think Cage over-acted the part a bit. The protagonist has a fear of social situations, and spends all of his time second-guessing things he does, and what people thinka bout him, and it ends up paralyzing him socially so that he can't participate normally in society. The part I think was overacted was the outside component of this, it was bordering on cheesy, in my opinion. It just didn't feel genuine, when it should have. I know it was supposed to be serious, but there were numerous times when I wanted to shout at the screen "COME ON, HE WOULDN'T ACT THAT WAY IN REAL LIFE"... That's not saying that he would have stopped second-guessing, or that he would have recognized who cared for him, or anything like that. It mostly was in how transparent his emotions and thoughts were on the surface - it just didn't strike me as genuine.

Of course, my own experience with social anxiety, if you want to call it that, may or may not have any bearing on that opinion one way or the other (how's that for a noncommital statement)... While I've much improved over the years, I do feel those same second-guessing feelings, and like the character in the movie, I've let them get in my way for much too long. Unlike him, I didn't have some grand adventure that all of a sudden releases everything and makes me normal.

You say something, you try to judge what the other person thinks when you say it. That's normal. But I over-react. Way. Unless what I get in response is completely positive, I think that the person is judging me negatively somehow. I cringe internally. A feeling of smallness washes over, and it feels like the world just collapsed around, and I just have to get out of there. But, at the same time, I try to keep up a facade that it didn't matter, so unless you are looking closely, you won't see that on the outside (unlike in the movie). And really, the conversational exchanges I attach so much importance to probably didn't have any such importance to the other person, or I completely misunderstood the importance.

If I'm making friends with someone, and especially if I might have some interest beyond friends in that person, I turn on the "second-guess" mode and overanalyze everything that's said, looking for a chink in the armor. And when I find that single chink, my mind blows it up into a full-blown issue, and I become convinced that the person is merely humoring me, and is secretly disgusted with me. So, I give up. I write that person off. In some cases, they may remain a friend, or I may decide they don't want me around at all and so I'll give them that wish.

I'm sure at some times I'm right. I don't want to be that pest that hangs around because he didn't get the memo. The problem is - I *didn't get the memo. I missed the clue-train. When God was handing out social skills, I was hunched over a science fiction novel reading it. I have no clue what the social signals are that you are or are not interested in someone. So I analyze everything. Somewhere in there is the truth, but there's also a lot of things that just really don't matter, and I can't tell the difference.

I wrote someone off this summer. She travelled out of the country for a semester at school abroad. We were good friends before we left, so I figured I'd stay in touch by email. I sent her an email, just asking how things were going. I got no answer. A few weeks later, I sent her another email, but it was more along the lines of "Hey, wondered if you got my other email - I never got an answer"... Well, folks.. openly fishing for communication like that should have prepared me for any kind of response even from a friend. She emailed me back and said simply she didn't have anything to say, so hadn't emailed me. I took that, in my thick skull, to mean that she had no interest in talking to me. I took THAT to mean she'd decided I wasn't really a friend, and had become one of those guys who wouldn't leave her alone that she complained to me about before. I took THAT to mean I was nothing but a nuiscance to her. And, so, I decided the whole friendship was imagined on my part, and that in truth, she'd only put up with my presence out of pity, and just didn't have the heart to tell me she hated me - but I got the picture.

I decided last night, maybe I'm too quick with those kinds of things sometimes. So I sent her a brief email, just saying what was up here in the last few months, and asking her how things were in Mexico. She replied back enthusiastically. I guess maybe she is at least still a friend after all. Her original response was to an email that was pretty much demanding a response, and it could have caught her when she was busy settling into the country she'd moved to for the rest of the year, and who knows what all was going on at that time. But in my mind, her entire efforts of that response were focused on the fact that she hated me and I gave no slack for those other things.

I need to stop doing that. I have sabotaged so many good things in my life that way. I've only ever had one romantic relationship that "worked" in my life, and that ended over 3 years ago. I now see the reason it worked too. The person I was with had the same problem I do, in some ways, but different. She was agressive in approaching people, in a way most women aren't, and that allowed me to open up to her rather than having to convince her to open up to me emotionally. But, what I didn't know at the time was that she placed extreme demands upon those she was close to. For me, those demands in a relationship were constant reminders that I meant something to her. I couldn't just not call if I thought something was wrong, because she would call me and demand my time. She literally did not allow me to quietly back out of things, and I didn't WANT to back out of things, really, I wanted it to work. So it did. I found out later that she was that way with almost all of her friends, though, and that if they didn't have time for her on her terms at all times, she would write them off as friends. To this day, I'm the only person she considers a true friend. I think it's because we both know these twisted signals that we misinterpret, so we don't send them to each other.

That wasn't a healthy relationship though. I shouldn't need someone's demands on my time to tell me that I'm important to them. That's just... stupid. And, as "just a friend" I find that my ex's demands are pretty high, and I know that's why she burns through friends so quickly. She pushes them away actively, while I just with draw. The two disorders sortof cancel each other out, but they're still there.

The friend of mine I almost wrote off over the summer, I need to recognize that she isn't that way. She doesn't play that same stupid game my mind, and my ex's mind plays. Most people's don't. I just don't know where in my life all this went wrong, and I missed out on the clue train.

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