Strange Crossroads

As I venture through coping with anxiety and how to overcome it, I do what any other person does and I turn to Google. There are tons of great sites at my disposal (I personally find SucceedSocially.com to be particularly enlightening and it covers a wide range of topics, and even includes examples) and all of them offer a wealth of knowledge. A common theme, particularly when out and about, is striking up a conversation with a random stranger. Most sites emphasize that (usually) people are open and receptive to someone striking up a conversation with them. A simple, “Hi, my name is… It’s nice to meet you.” will suffice. From succeedsocially.com,

That will break the ice, and they may start talking to you after that. If not, you just traded names, and you essentially have to use another conversation starter to get it going for real. With new people you don’t always have to introduce yourself to start talking to them. You could start the conversation in another way, and after a while it will only feel natural to introduce yourselves to each other – “I’m Kara, by the way”

It’s a low pressure approach and versatile for many situations: at the bar, networking events, at a new job, etc. Reading body language and nonverbal cues is critical, but overall, the average person is receptive. From there, it can merge into small talk (an underrated concept), a comment on the place or situation, current events, etc.

However, and this is speaking strictly from personal experience, there is one area where this is not only a “doomed for failure” approach, it is even blatantly frowned upon and met with open criticism: dating apps. Tinder, Bumble, OKCupid, take your pick. As a polyamorous person, I decided to try the world of modern dating apps. Although they’re open to a wide range of demographics, they cater to millennials so I figured it would be worth a shot. And worst case scenario, even if nothing romantic or physical happens, I could potentially make a new friend and expand my social circle.

To my dismay, though, countless profiles I’ve come across contain a disclaimer along the lines of “Don’t just message me ‘hey, how’s it going?’ Actually have something to say.” I understand the mentality – I really do. It’s way too easy, when someone asks how it’s going, to just answer with “fine” or “I’m good.” It makes sense. Personally, I would be ecstatic if someone messaged me with a “Hi” out of the blue. Everyone has different experiences and I don’t fall into the group of people that knows of luxury of being approached regularly.

But for some people, myself included, sometimes a simple “hello” is the best they can muster up. Maybe it’s anxiety, nervousness, or being shy. At least your honesty spares me the trouble and 99.9% of the time, I move on and swipe left without incident. However, there is a lingering fear in the back of mind: this constant nagging of, “If all these people are this selective on dating apps, does that selectivity translate to the world of face to face interactions? Having no knowledge, background, or prior interaction with these people, if I were to see one out at a bar or somewhere public and desired initiating just friendly, casual conversation, would they rebuke my less-than-desirable greeting of ‘hey, how’s it going?'”

Just something I’ve noticed…

Advertisements

What is a person to do?

I don’t remember exactly when I started this – just that it was a long time ago. And like damn near everything I attempt, it was started with good intentions… and now falls into neglect. I never once believed I could change the world. Maybe just reach someone – anyone. But then what? I’m not one to proselytize because I don’t like it when people try it on me. I think I was tired of fighting cliches; empty statements regurgitated from HuffPo or memes shared blindly. It’s all virtue signalling and I had the ego to take it personally.

Without even realizing it, I’ve developed my own bubble. It’s easy to write off libertarians as nihilists and I’ve even embraced the joke. I mean, say what you want about the tenets of National Socialism, Dude, at least it’s an ethos. But was forming a bubble necessary to be a libertarian, or is it just something that correlates? And is this bubble an actual bubble, or is it something more? Has my anxiety and depression flared up again under the guise of cutting myself off? Or was I just looking for a name for it?

I’ve never been one to conform or fit in, despite the details – if you’re paying attention – that should indicate otherwise. Dude, you do the typical American thing: you went to college, joined a frat, studied engineering, drink copious amounts of beer, and play Fantasy Football. Yeah, I get it. I’m aware. I’m seemingly normal on the outside. But something else separates me… A bubble? Anxiety? Depression? Being a society hating nihilist? I feel as though I’m bearing the weight of shackles that manifest as some sort of scarlet letter. A warning to those around me. I’m not some prince of the dregs of society. If anything, I feel that I lack some sort of calling – despite directly contributing to the production of goods.

Hi! What’s your name?
What do you do?
What are you into?
What brings you joy?

What do you do to disconnect from the 9 to 5?

An exchange that rarely happens – but when it does – proposes the biggest road block. I look at my life and I feel empty. Blank. Floating around, avoiding some unseen fear. Fears of judgment, ridicule, and mockery. So I hide like a hermit, in my bubble, looking to the world around me… hoping… wishing for an extended hand. A hand I would happily extend myself.

Is 30 too young for a midlife crisis? Or is this the chosen path for millennials? I’m 29, going on 21. What I want is different than what is expected. Deviation is applauded, so long as you deviate in a way that is acceptable. Everyone wants to be a hedonist until it comes time to do hedonist shit. So let me be a hedonist. I just want to know I’m not alone in this pursuit. To know maybe there’s something out there. People to revel with who have the same expectations (or perhaps the lack-of).

In the meantime, I don’t know what else to call it.