Wednesday, June 13, 2012

I am lonely.

This should not come as a surprise.

Here are the primary things I want (lack and desire--I'm not sure how much of each) from friends:

1.  They understand most of what I am interested in thinking about without long additional explanations, because they know me well and/or have put thought into similar things.

2.  They are interested in hearing much of what I have to say. 

3.  They are just the right sort of judgemental.  I can trust that they will (for the most part) judge me only by some criteria that I understand and care about, that are related to my own core values even if I don't agree with them completely--and I know that they have some handle on what my values and aspirations are.

4.  We treat each other well.

Leaving aside how much we care about each other and how well we treat each other, very few of my Utah friends fall into the first category.  Many of my closest friends at school have the first two, but not the third. . . the right sort of judgemental is very difficult to pull off.  I would give a lot to have half a dozen reasonably bright people around me for the rest of my life who are in all four categories.  I think finding people like this--and being a good friend to them--is one of the most important skills I could learn.  I wish I had better ideas on how to learn it.

This criteria set is not perfect; my friendship with J, for example, often runs better because she's not in category 1 for me--and she's willing to listen to my long additional explanations till the end of time, which does much to keep me sane.  Also, she thinks differently than I, and has had many very different experiences, which just. . . helps.  Also, it works because she's awesome.  I should call her.  Except my phone isn't working.  Hmn.

I'm lonely, at which I should not be surprised.  It helps to acknowledge this; like many things, having acknowledged it, I can stop furiously trying to ignore it.

I've know this all along, but living St. John's style--surrounded by interesting people, several of whom are one's friends, all of whom are brought together by a common project--is really the only way to go.  This doesn't bring me any closer to knowing how to enact this outside of St. John's.

At the same time, I know that people need times of isolation.  Knowing that however much I reach out to people is unlikely to be satisfying, I can work on reaching out while also trying to make this a useful time of isolation for me.

1 comment:

  1. Finding people is difficult enough. We've talked about that problem in the past. I prefer to be insanely judgmental.

    I often compensate for deficiencies by accepting long-distance friends who I message as an acceptable compromise. The emotional connection is often not as strong. I think I get 1-4 with a large number of the people I deal with online. I think I have a local friend who is good at 1-4, but I have difficulties seeing him on a regular basis.

    Honestly, I think I am lonely too....