Worse, the harder he tried to be friendly, the faster these people evaporated from his life. And one thing that puzzled Will the most, these were the folks he felt the strongest and most genuine connection to… the safest connections… the people he could get the most vulnerable with the fastest.
Could this be the clue that opened this mystery for him? As Will explored his feelings, he couldn’t help but notice how much his heart hurt and ached as those friends backed out and pulled away. Always politely too busy to chat with him or always eager to change the topic to randomness or looking so bored/annoyed that he was there… it was just watching a wreck happening over and over again.
No one could give him any insight. No one could explain things. Will had a serious puzzle on his hands. That time away in his books had left him out of touch with the social scene. Whatever rules of friendship that had changed, the memo had missed his desk.
During his deep thought break, the concept of a “Great Deception” kept creeping up into his thoughts. What if he was deceiving himself? What if he thought he had made a valuable connection, only it was not so? What if his ego had grown without his knowing and he was feeling himself so important that he was talking way too much about himself and people were tired of him? Did he really lose touch with his social skills? Was he really inept? Or worse, the luck he had in the past was just plain dumb luck and now reality had set and was shaking him awake?
This moment of self-doubt was really messing with Will’s head. He was not sure how to assess his new reality. It could be that his ability was no longer needed and his style of being was outdated. But that sounded crazy and stupid.
It could be that he was over estimating how cool he was and those folks eventually got tired of his immaturity and lack of cool. Or, it could be that he was scaring these folks away by being way too intense and way into his feelings.
Ignoring this mess of doubt would not have been so hard if it was a 50:50 mix of men and women doing the rejecting of him as a friend. He had been really good at connecting with women… and his circle was more women than men. Now, the rejection rate was way higher for the women than the men. What if he wanted to eventually get married? What then?
It was not time to panic. There were ways to learn from this. There were options. Until his heart and mind calmed down, the state of worry was dangerously close to feeling like panic. He had to calm down.
Will resolved in his heart to take a break from forging new friendships. He couldn’t take another weird drop in connection. He had other existing friendships that could use more of his attention. Now, to forget that he was getting rejected… le sigh.
Taking a pad of paper, he wrote furiously all the characteristics of each breakup he could. As he reviewed the details, patterns started to come through. Those would take a bit of self growth to adjust for. The old social skills were indeed dated.
For starters, he had grown from going through the schooling. His older friends knew him and accepted him for who he was. The changes in growth had made him a bit more impatient in doing the socializing dance. His old friends didn’t mind his quirks, so he was good there.
The work environment was not very open to a lot of socializing. They were older, had families, had their own friends, and didn’t share his same interests outside of work. That probably explained why those folks pulled away. They were not up to having a “child” join their ranks. He was probably wearing out his welcome at work and was distracting them from their productivity or getting home to their family with his extensive story telling.
The folks from around his neighborhood had not pursued the additional schooling when he did. What if they were feeling uncomfortable with his new career jargon? What if he had outgrown them? That would explain why they pulled away even more. Plus, given they weren’t tight before, why would they want to become tight now… after all, same hood.