I am socially dysfunctional.
Here, it says so on the label. Synonymous with “socially inept”.
It wasn’t always that way, or maybe I just didn’t notice just how bad I was at being social until I was away from the game of human interaction for a while. But now it is painfully obvious that I either don’t get the rules of human engagement, or they’ve changed and I’m working off of outdated rules that have seen numerous revisions since I last dusted off that mental bookshelf.
I’d left my hermitage several years ago and returned to Facebook after ten years of eschewing any form of social media while I tried to get my head screwed back on. That’s not to say it was screwed on right, but it was atop my neck, which was a better place than being at the bottom of a bottle like it had been for the previous ten years. During those particular ten years, I’d basically alienated everyone who ever knew me, as much on purpose as it was on accident. I ended up with a zero-sum support network and no friends in the end.
So I went to Facebook because, well, that’s the best place to go looking for old acquaintances (and the occasional old flame). I started off with a single goal — to make amends. See previous paragraph: I, either on purpose or by my drunken actions, had pissed off nearly everyone I had ever known.
Some were great sports about it, which made the job easier. But I also had a few cursory “Well thanks, but fuck you anyway.” Not so easy, but I earned those responses and accepted my fate in that matter. Mostly. A got ghosted by a few others — no response or reply. There were few surprises in the responses I received, the most poignant and possibly painful being the most honest: “Yeah, you did me wrong and treated me like shit. But hell, we were young and stupid. But it was still an asshole thing to do.” Not even someone really important said that, and yet it cut to the quick.
My rule was to apologize for the slights I remembered committing and let the others I had alienated know via proxy that if they felt I owed them an apology, they just had to remind me what I did (liquor is great for destroying memories) so I could own that offense and I would apologize. Requests trickled in and I met each and every one. In the meantime, I thought I building a community after years in my hermitage.
But during this whole time (almost two years of Facebooking), I just couldn’t ever get the notion that I was truly developing or redeveloping friendships. Something just felt off and, when things started getting toxic in May of this year, I felt claustrophobic and went on FB detox. With very few visits to check messages that might have been left behind, I have avoided Facebook entirely since then. Instead, I resumed blogging — mostly because I prefer long-form pieces over trite mass-shared phenomena and I learned quickly that Facebook basically abhors longer-form writing.
Since then, only two of those myriad friends have attempted to contact me, and the silence speaks volumes. It goes both ways, of course, so I zipped off a few messages and whatnot and received terse or no responses. Am I criticizing those two? No. But I hold it as an example of my social ineptitude. I mean — I can’t even hang on to two friends.
So keep that in mind if I post comments or whatnot and something seems off about what I write. I’m working off of Social Interactions Rev 1.003, while the rest of the world appears to be on Rev 7.00156. I’m a bit gimped in terms of social skills, so keep that in mind and assume that my intentions are probably not mean and nasty or have some darker purpose.
I’m just socially dysfunctional and broken.