Ever noticed something odd about yourself?
odd (adj) singled-out, out-of-place or otherwise alien. This is how my favorite dictionary calls it.
Maybe it is how you behave at certain events, around some people, or how you handle yourself under stress. The ‘oddness’ probably comes from you defying an expectation. Dress codes, imaginary ways that you think that people should act like, expectations of others around you. Maybe you turn into a more introverted version of yourself at parties with no company, but hey parties with friends still exists where you can fully act like yourself. Your happenstance introversion comes from a little push out of your full comfort zone that you can manage with practice.
On the other hand, people with no stable social battery exist. And this post is about them. Their social life is like 1 step forward 2 steps back kind of way. You’ve seen them blossoming once but you rarely see them anymore and you start to notice them just to lose their sight later.
Let me explain. I had this one friend (don’t we all) who would go to a book club, talk to a bunch of people at first, hang out in groups for a while and then completely disappear on everyone just to sidestep into the club a few week later; finding his socialization undone, he had to start over with talking and hanging out process once more.
I’ve always wondered what was going on in the minds of ‘disappearing people’ or the kind of avoidant. What was their motive to just discontinue relationships like Google phases out social apps?
Most of ‘normal’ folks see social life as a natural extension of themselves. You enter sociality with your first baby steps to leave it with your coffin. They talk, go to events and do stuff generally as naturally as they read a book, take a walk in the park or attend college lectures. Even the introverts never give up on sociality completely, they have comfort zones where they chill with equally chill people when they need re-charging.
The disappearing folks did not brought up with the never ending concept of social life. They rather see it as a hop-on-hop-off bus where their default lies with alone-time. This is a separate area of their life that needs constant maintenance and complexity to be dealt with. Where ‘normies’ see normalcy they see a complex web of relationships, needs and wants to be navigated. Their alone-time is designated as the thrive-zone where most of the awake time is spent.
But why it is like that and what do they gain and lose by doing that? I’ve observed (as a person on the street) that something in their very early socialization had been f*cked up in a very intricate way for them to codify socialization as a turn-off-on switch where you can just selectively participate. It does not work that way. They lose big time for that approach and they are intricately furious about it. Let’s look at what they lose.
As a non-smoker I’ve seen smoker people find friendships faster than I could. Than there was people who never went to work dinners, they were the worst in this department. Because they never ‘showed up’ or tested the waters enough to share and to be shared anything. Not even standard office chit-chat. The disappearing people are like the latter, because you never show up, you get less reasons to show up again and because you never show up anyway you lose interest eventually.
‘Normies’ are the ones with complexity navigation abilities, we have other hyper-social people who can not only navigate complexity but create it. Disappearers are the ones who struggle to understand the basic concepts. It is like bringing a ruler to a statistic class in college level. Their stack of tools could never work even if they wanted to. So they try to do the only thing they know of. Protect their self in this complex world by defaulting. One could get so much work done by not observing the social sphere and taking notes.
Another reason for them to behave that way is the internet. Imagine you can access to past-time friendships with an app, socialize and satiate your most basic desires with a touch of a button only to conveniently put them away later. Your brain needs only the glimpse of socialization that you can trick it into with social apps and internet. ‘Normies’ still disagree for they learnt the trap. Disappearing people did not and this is keeping them in a self-assuring cycle. Everybody needs a healthy amount of feedback from people you know, like, admire and want and the opposite in a needly amount. Otherwise the best version you know is possible is the version you are being right now. This is terrible advice for anybody who wants to accomplish anything beyond a simple calculator program in Python.
So, for all disappearing folks. You only need to show up everyday and do it consistently.