The Circle of Isolation
One of the many things that makes being a screwed up person so frustrating is how it’s self-perpetuating.
It’s hard for me to talk to people I don’t know. So I make very few friends. Because I make so few friends, I place enormous value on the friends that I have. For my small circle of friends, I’m intensely loyal.
That might be good in the abstract. Unfortunately, a lot of people find it frightening in practice. Why would this guy I barely know be willing to do so much for me? What does he want? Is he some kind of ax-murderer or something?
And so, new friends run away. Which makes it even harder to get through the initial contact that leads to friendship. Which means that the next time you get through it, the friendship means that much more. Which makes it all the more likely that you’ll scare them away.
I haven’t actually made a real, face-to-face friend in so long, it’s hard to even remember when it was. Mentoring relationships? yes. Coworker relationships? yes. Actual friends, who I can hang out with? I really don’t know. It’s been years.
And that means that it’s almost impossible for me to make any new friends ever. Because the longer it’s been, the more the interpersonal skills decay, and the more that I desperately want that friendly contact, the more likely I am to appear to be some total crazy stalker lunatic.
It builds on itself.
That same basic phenomenon seems to permeate all sorts of interactions with other people. The more I screw it up, the harder it gets; the harder it gets, the more I screw it up. And so, I find myself getting trapped deeper and deeper into a state of isolation; and the more isolated I get, the more isolated I’m likely to get.