"...Everything wanna be loved. Us sing and dance, and holla just wanting to be loved. Look at them trees. Notice how the trees do everything people do to get attention... except walk?" --The Color Purple
I was thinking today about other's opinions. We all pretend like they don't matter, but to almost everyone, to a varied extent, they do.
When I first discovered internet messageboards, it was like finding the Holy Grail or the Lost Temple of Hercules. It was better than websites, and better than email. You can interact with several others, to whatever degree of intimate details you're comfortable with, and come and go as you please. Unlike websites, you can always comment when you want to. Unlike email, you don't have to wait for days or weeks (or forever) for a response. Blogs followed, which were equally fantastic things. Read people's thoughts; leave comments readily. Awesome.
I felt a sense of friendship that I'd long forgotten. My old high school friends have taken their lives in drastically different directions than me, and we are no longer close. I hadn't made any new friends for a thousand reasons, mostly because I was too busy being a mom and going through the motions of my regular life. Suddenly I had an opportunity, through websites like MatchingMoms and homeschool groups, to actually meet and make friends with others based on common interests - How easy!
Except it wasn't easy. Every homeschool activity with a group I've been invited to, I've been somehow unable to get to. Our car was broken down. Or we had no gas. Or we had no money. Or something. People begin to get the idea I'm purposely avoiding them. I've started several potential friendships that just abruptly stopped. MatchingMoms brought me together with several moms who exchanged only a few emails before ending contact altogether. Messageboards have shown me several people with personalities (as far as one can tell, anyway) that I adored, and who were receptive to written and email exchanges at first. Then, again, abruptly ended. I don't even know why it happens. It just stops. I send another email or letter. Nothing.
I'm seriously wondering what the hell I'm doing to drive people off. What did I say? What did I talk about that may have turned them off? Am I not smart enough? Educated enough? Earthy enough? Am I too pushy or abrasive? Too young? Too old? Too .. what? I started trying to present myself in a more friend-friendly way. But through all my attempts I'm not even sure what that means. Maybe I'm just not outwardly friendly. Not that I'm aggressive or anything, I'm just not a smiling, bubbly, overflowing with friendliness kind of person. And I hate pretending to be. This is why I'm not a waitress.
It's a natural human reaction to get defensive when your feelings are hurt. This is because we care what people think. I'm likely to say, "To hell with them. If I'm somehow not good enough for them, good riddance. I didn't want to be in their pompous little Good Enough Club anyway." Except I do want to be in their club. I do want to be good enough. I get angry so I don't have to feel bad. I'd really like to be able to be completely apathetic about their lack of interest. I don't want to be jealous every time I read someone's posts about having coffee with the friend they made on the internet or about the latest playgroup they attended. I'd like to believe when I "meet" potential friends, we just "didn't click" and leave it at that. But I wonder. And worry. Because I care what people think.
Everyone just wants to be loved. We want to be seen as intelligent, wonderful people. We want to have friends who adore us as much as we adore them. We leave our childhood to go have children of our own, becoming the providers of love for our children. Sometimes leaving behind the reception of love from others. That's why internet messageboards and blogs are so popular. We sing and dance, and blog, just wanting to be loved.