I am antisocial.
By and large, people annoy me.
This grand revelation, I suspect, will come as no surprise to you.
When given the choice between going to a party where I will know a lot of people only vaguely, or staying home with one person I know very well, I will always choose the latter.
Part of this social anxiety, I think, is due to the fact that I am living in a place where I don’t want my children to go to school. Because I don’t want my kids to go to school in Mayberry, I am having a hard time visualizing myself living here for longer than the next ten years (enough time for us to conceive, bear, and raise-to-school-age our first [and subsequent] child). I guess I subconsciously (or totally consciously, now that I’m admitting it) rationalise that since I’m not going to live here for longer than that (not a confirmed fact, by the way, just my own supposition), then it is silly to make friends I will only have to part with in a few years.
That, and I really hate small talk.
That, and I have a hard time trusting people.
That, and I generally like my own company as well as any other’s.
That, and it takes so much effort to develop friendships—friendships that usually turn out to have been a colossal waste of time in the end anyway.
That, and I’m just antisocial.
In high school, I had a group of four really close friends, a dozen so-so acquaintances, and a broad circle of kids who really irked me. One of my close friends always aspired to be more popular, make more friends, broaden her social horizons…and I could never understand why. In fact, it kind of made me feel bad, like, what, we’re not enough for you?
As for me, I had all the friends I needed. I never considered myself clique-y; I just assumed that my friends were my friends because they were not otherwise opposed to an alliance with me, and that those who weren’t my friends simply didn’t want to be. It didn’t offend me, and I never intentionally excluded people (although I have heard recent accounts to the contrary, but I still maintain that I wasn’t a cruel person; just…content with what I had, I guess).
But I digress.
In watching Pride and Prejudice three times (A&E twice and Kiera Knightly once) during the course of the last six weeks (and countless times in my life prior to last month), I have pinpointed, in Jane Austen’s own words, my exact problem: I embody neither the best of Miss Bennett nor Mr. Darcy, but instead, the worst of them both.
I am one part Elizabeth Bennett, who declares, “There are few people whom I really love in this world, and even fewer of whom I think well;” and the other part Fitzwilliam (great name) Darcy, whose “good opinion once lost is lost forever.” The pride and prejudices of these two characters are sources of inspiration—whether I knew it or not—behind my generally-bad attitude toward people in general. Like Miss Bennett, I am slow and stingy with my love and affection; and like Mr. Darcy, when said affections are thwarted, I seldom bother to rekindle them.
It takes me a long time to make friends and even longer to forgive them when they (inevitably) treat me ill.
So in other words, I am a cause lost.
But perhaps not entirely.
Because I’ve decided to make some changes in my life.
It hasn’t been easy. It might not ever be easy. But it is a noble effort, one worth sacrificing some comfort and insecurities and movie-nights-with-bonbons for.
Come back tomorrow and I’ll tell you all about it.