The Deception

Of the original friends he had who had pulled away, most were now involved with relationships, growing families, and moving on from his old ways. So, they just were not needing his friendship the same anymore.

Bottom line, Will realized, becoming a mature adult was not as fun as he thought it would be. Especially when he realized that the group with the highest level of rejection of his friendly overture were women who looked drop dead hot. They were also the ones who opened up the most to him initially and were the friendliest with him. He had opened up the most to them. He had poured his heart out to them. And they had fled for the hills. They probably were not looking for his level of baggage… Will lamented.

Somehow, Will had deceived himself into thinking he had a shot with those hotties… both as friends and as potential boyfriend. Yeah, no. He had learned that he needed to stay in his lane. Problem was this, he had no clue where his lane was now that he had finished his schooling.

This was going to be one long lonely path of discovery, especially because the types of people who connected with him on a soul mate level were the ones who almost inevitably rejected him after months of connecting with him.

Time to heal. Time to recover. Time to push and focus on the career. It could just be that this twilight zone weirdness was just because of bad luck and timing. Later, when the stars shifted, he’d try his luck again. For now, it was time to cherish the very small handful of friends who had stuck with him through all the changes he had undergone to date and would be undergoing in the near future.

Epilogue?

A good couple of years had past. Will had kept off the social landscape. He was that model employee who kept his head down and got his work done. He made sure to excel and communicate as professionally as he could. He did all to keep as low a key as possible without becoming irrelevant. The pit in his tummy about his social failings had started to fade some. This was the new normal. A tiny circle of friends who understood his quirks.

One day, out of the blue, Will received an inter-office letter without no information about the sender. Reading through the short typed note, Will was pleasantly surprised to read that his isolationist practices was causing discomfort to the team. A suggested meeting spot was left at the bottom of the note.

Ordinarily, he would not have paid this any mind. But, given all the uncertainties he had about his social skills, he figured the worse that could happen is that someone would be pranking him and setting him up for some office joke. This really didn’t sit well with him. What had he done to anyone to deserve this? He had kept out of everyone’s way and was doing his work just fine.

Curiosity got the better of Will. Late in the day, at the prescribed hour, Will showed up ready to get his ego destroyed. He had to find out why.

Turns out it was one of the quiet members of his team. This lady was always at the top of all the productivity charts. She was loved by everyone. Yet, she kept to herself.

With a sense of relief, he cautiously approached Sam while clutching the note he had gotten earlier that day. Sam saw the note and chuckled. This froze Will in his tracks.

It turned out, Sam knew of the note but had not written it. She had only discussed with someone that it was weird that Will came back so socially broken from his intense schooling. Someone should have figured out why. This other person, who would remain a mystery to Will, had arranged this meeting for them to talk.

As Will listened, he got a very different perspective of himself. He was missed by many. He had many wondering what they had done wrong that he pulled back from everyone so aggressively out of the blue. This confused the life out of Will. Was this for real?

Sam assured him that his lack of confidence didn’t match who they knew him to be and that it weirded out a few people. They needed him to be back on his game. He had brought a certain life to the place and now that he had retreated, work was back to the usual boring productive place it once was. He had to snap out of it. He had to get a life.

While ever more puzzled, Will couldn’t hold back his frustration anymore. He briefly explained that he had simply adjusted to the social cues he was getting and didn’t want to bother anyone. If they preferred, he’d just up and leave. He was young and highly qualified now and could find another job with some work.

Sam seemed to take pity on Will. The man may have had charm going for him, but he lacked plenty of insight into how people worked. People just didn’t often know what to do about his very open nature. The man was a walking open book. While not naive per say, very trusting and very nice. That left some wondering what his long term goals were.

Will listened and pondered. What did this have to do with all the friendship break ups he had experienced? Sam shrugged her shoulders. The only way to find out was to put himself back out there and see if things were any different now.

Later that night, as Will reviewed the conversation once more, he concluded the only logical thing he could. Making friends at work is hard and filled with potholes. Finding romance at work is that much harder. If he was to get back in the game, he’d have to save his experiments for well outside existing network. Taking rejections from folks well outside his usual would be much easier to handle, as he’d not have to see them after.

This time however, he’d not deceive himself. He’d have a wingman to help him figure things out. The last thing his heart needed was to resume striking out in both the friendship and dating arena.

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