A part of me wants to avoid human connections at all cost, save for the ones that I have already. They’re not toxic or dangerous. Gaining these friends was no small feat, as it required me to go through a sea of horrific people.
On average, I gained one genuine friend every decade. Based on the suggestion that the average person has 2-5 close friends, it would seem that I’ve done well.
As we get older, we become more risk-averse. The chances that I took in gaining some of these friends were not optimal, and in some cases were dangerous. Other friends were gained through situational events, such as being at school or work. I even gained a few through more modern methods, such as the internet.
At the same time, another part of me wants to find and meet new people to see what else might be out there. This is not to say that my current friends are no good. What I can say about my current friends is that they’re mostly not local.
My one and only local friend lives with me, and I have that going for me, which is nice.
Assuming that I’ll live through all of this, and assuming the world opens back up at some point, this might be an activity that I would want to pursue.
Of course, I need to keep out destructive people, such as Narcissists, Psychopaths, Sociopaths, BPDs, and others. Abusive people, those who put others down, controllers, and those who enjoy dispensing insults need not apply.
The same goes for those who possess ulterior motives.
Many of these people are difficult to suss out at times.
EXPECTATIONS OF MYSELF
The main expectation I must have of myself is to set solid boundaries, and then adhere to them. Trust the boundaries, for I know the author [me], and I know that these boundaries were put in place by me for my own safety and protection.
Sometimes boundaries can get in the way of someone or something that looks appealing. The problem comes from within when I want that person or thing, and view the boundary as something that is standing between me and something that could end up being really good.
That’s how I ended up with my last Narcissist in late 2019. This is something I learned through a combination of solid therapy and sincere introspection.
Do not be a people pleaser! This is something that I have done in the past, in order to display my value as a friend to the other person. I did not expect them to show me how they brought value as a friend. It was a one-way thing.
But there are things that I will expect from others, as well as myself.
A commitment to no drama is essential. Some people get bored unless they have a great deal of trauma and drama in their lives. They can go jerk off elsewhere, because I have no patience for any of it.
Self-respect, along with mutual respect. Self-respect is something I’ve had to put real effort into, so I know it’s not easy. This kind of dovetails into the next point.
Taking personal responsibility for mental health. I’ve written about my Autism and Major Depressive Disorder in the past. These issues can fairly be cited as explanations for things, but they must not be used as excuses for things.
MY EXPECTATIONS OF THEM
So far, I’ve noted some expectations that I have of myself, as well as mutual expectations that cover a good portion of the ground when it comes to expectations of others.
Having some type of expectations is important. Things like civility and taking responsibility for personal mental health are reasonable things to expect.
Most of my expectations of others also apply to me, which is why I view them as being fair expectations. But there is one expectation that I have of others that I don’t have with myself.
That is, I expect that my connection with them will NOT interfere in my connection with myself.
Although I don’t hold this expectation for myself in my own connections, I think it is fair of others to expect this of me. Only YOU can determine whether or not another person is interfering in your connection with yourself. Nobody else can know this.
What does this mean?
A good example can be found in a situation where you’re hanging out with a “friend” after work. This friend is a Narcissist, which means they have their own mental health struggles for which they are not taking any responsibility.
A Narcissist typically has to feel or believe that they are better than everyone else, including you, their friend! This means that they might belittle you in some way.
They might present it as a joke, even though it must be understood that this is not a joke at all! You might laugh with them about it at the time. But later, you might start to take it more seriously. As a result, you could have a lesser view of yourself, or feel self-disappointment, or any other negative consequence.
This interferes in your relationship with yourself. When you feel badly about yourself because a Narcissist “friend” decided to treat you like garbage, it’s the beginning of the end. The Narcissist will ride you hard and put you away wet.
In this case, the “friend” is dishing out abuse [disguised as a “joke”] that ends up damaging your self-esteem. It is true that self-esteem comes from within the self, and others don’t really have a duty or responsibility to lift you up. That said, your friends and other connections do have a responsibility to you to NOT actively go after your self-esteem in a potentially damaging way.
Friends don’t attack you. It only took me 50 years to figure that one out.
IN THE END
Keeping to myself and avoiding people might guarantee that another person will not interfere in my improving relationship with myself.
But really, how healthy is this approach? How realistic is this idea? Based on what I have read, it is neither healthy nor realistic.
The bad people I have encountered are evidence that there are more of them out there. At the same time, the good people I have encountered bring their own evidence to the fold with their presence.
Being older and more risk-averse, it is essential that I find ways to reduce risk in order to enable activity. Setting solid boundaries and adhering to them is very important.
It’s a good start.
Maintaining an awareness of my environment, of those around me, and how I am feeling may also contribute to a safer and more healthy experience.
My natural curiosity has me wondering what else would contribute to a safer and more healthy social experience. As I find them, I will write about them. My hope [and goal] is that I can move about in groups of people without feeling like someone is going to cause me trouble.
And when someone does show up to cause trouble, I will know how to deal with it in a way where I protect myself.
Otherwise, I might end up adopting the attitude of Carla Shaw.
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