I’ve been alone for too long right now: a tirade about e-mail, communication, and human interaction
After a week of being surrounded by exceptional people, I have succumbed to yet another bout of isolation and a tiny bit of sadness.
While I was in an environment of positivity, I have come to realize that those surroundings aren’t sustainable. I tried to emulate the same attitude. I tried to continue to promote positive change. I e-mailed everyone I was supposed to. I followed up with every single person, individually. I have not heard back from anyone and it’s been a week. It’s so frustrating when you’re trying to make a difference and you’re bogged down in people who won’t take the two minutes to respond to your e-mail.
E-mail and the internet have been my only forms of social interaction lately. It’s been a passive form of socialization, but I live far away from most of my friends, and I need to be focused and studying for my exam. However, I’m just getting depressed and I am not enjoying the present company of my very (and increasingly) conservative family who also do not subscribe to fostering a positive environment.
I’ve become dependent on e-mail for friendships. It’s the one of reasons why I got rid of Facebook; I didn’t want to rely on technology to continue my friendships. However, these e-mails have come to be the bright spot in my usually monotonous day. And so many of my friends are really, really shitty at responding. I had been e-mailing one of my freelancer friends (hem hem unemployed). Although I was chaotically busy at the time, I still took the time to make a response and when I saw something that reminded me of him, I sent an additional e-mail, unprompted. When he still didn’t respond days later so I called him out. He replied in a snippy, condescending manner, suggesting that I had gotten too used to instant gratification and I needed to be patient with him. It’s now been over a week, and I still haven’t heard a response. If I ask him again, it will be the third time I ask him to continue our correspondence. As much as I crave the interaction, my dignity is not worth that much.
The people I love are busy. They always have been. I have come to realize that people won’t often make time for me. It’s a simple fact. It’s why I have a difficult time, a very difficult time, saying no when people ask me to hang out. It’s because I am not a person who is thought of. This is not a “woe is me” realization, but just a point of fact. I jump at those brief moments of interaction because I do spend most of my time alone. I am perfectly fine with this, though. I am very comfortable with myself and I really enjoy my own company.
While I have learned to love myself and relish my own existence, I still need that other human element. But this is really difficult for me. Through this past year I have learned to lower my expectations. It’s been one of the most important and most difficult lessons I’ve learned and I still haven’t mastered it. It has been a struggle because it seems to contradict the altruistic values that I desire. By refusing to have expectations for others, to me, seems like I view them so low, I refuse to even set a minimal goal for them. I hate that feeling, but I know without these boundaries, I will never be disappointed.
It’s the kind of attitude I need to continue to adopt more fully. When my ex texted me the other day, not completely out of the blue, but a little bit randomly, claiming he would e-mail me in the near future, all I could tell myself was that he would not e-mail me. He still hasn’t, and I am going to continue that mindset. This is an example of where the boundary is working, because now this guy isn’t going to have the opportunity to mindfuck me.
Even so, I hate that I spend the time attempting to write out these e-mails and scarcely getting a response. Although I am supposed to have no expectations, it still hurts my feelings. I have even extended beyond my normal scope and I have attempted to start dialogues with people outside of my normal social sphere.
I know that this isn’t the most personal kind of interaction, but for me, this is the closet personal boundary I can handle right now. I would ideally love to make phone calls and develop more personal interaction with individuals, but I have come to realize I can’t. The phone is too personal for me and I get too attached. It’s strange, but I feel this comfort with the screen. Maybe it’s because even though I know the people I am writing to, I still feel strangely anonymous. It makes me feel safe and less judged. I also enjoy the fact that through e-mail, as opposed to phone calls or even instant messaging, you have to actually think before you compose your words; you have to have something to say. At times, I struggle to find words and I grasp for conversation. While I am quite comfortable in silence, I hate feeling forced to fill that gap. Dead air in phone calls rarely works. Empty space in instant messaging feels rude. Through e-mails, I feel like I can successfully interact while following social norms, while still maintaining my boundaries.
Ultimately it doesn’t take very long to let a person know their thoughts and actions have been reciprocated. But rarely to people actually do this.
I know I need to get out more, but again, none of the people I e-mailed about volunteering have e-mailed me back. It’s all a conundrum.