It’s not just millenials, or young people today. It’s not just technology or politics at large making things this way. Modern culture is moving to a model of personal control in all situations. Because we have come to a place where almost everything can be quantified and organized, people have become comfortable with their ability to decide the exact parameters of their participation in any given event. It’s not that that they aren’t interested in doing things with other people, or even alone. But any activity or choice they make is now put through the filter of control mechanisms. People want to be able to mold and shape their environment and experiences, and that’s not anything new or different. It’s just that now they’re taking it farther and farther, until they are in control of everything or they flatly refuse to participate. They are withdrawing from meeting any challenges that aren’t easily overcome by a wide margin, or have assured outcomes.
At least 3 people in my life have spent the time to tell me to “keep inviting” them. These are people whose company I enjoy, and I will continue to invite them as I can. But what about them and their invitations? Or are others the ones whose responsibility it is to plan, organize, invite and deliver? I would love to have people who are committed enough that I could just look at them and tell them “keep inviting me”. But the invitations don’t exactly roll in, and I sit here and wonder about a few things.
Sure it’s great to receive a request and sit back and decide if we’ll entertain it. We would all rather assess something offered by others and comply or deny as we see fit. With that in mind, it’s quite a haughty position to take. It levels the entire relationship maintenance back on the other person. Are you really so special, unique and worthy of everyone around you catering to your schedule?
Building community is not a one sided thing, and it takes everyone involved to get the desired effect. The funny thing is, no, we don’t actually need each other any more, we can meet all our own needs without help from anyone. But the benefits of community and mutual efforts go far beyond meeting basic wants and desires.
As much as we can each build our own chosen community that never questions or disagrees with us, how boring, stagnant and unhealthy is living in that delusional fantasy? No one actually needs ass-kissing yes men around, it just serves to ruin them, it’s been proven. We could forever ensure that we never have to accommodate anyone, or compromise with other people, but we do need to look at ourselves when we ask for those things without being prepared to do the same in return for others. In short, if you want so much, you should plan on reciprocating at least a little.
Constant fear of being questioned or analyzed is defensive and recalcitrant. It stems from over punishment and publish shaming, which is understandable. It sure makes sense that no one wants to be scrutinized or held accountable. But taking that to the extreme, repudiating others wholesale because of it: that’s entirely too far to protect your ego. Surely there must be some way that you can imagine spending time with others outside of that cycle. Not every meeting or gathering that you didn’t manage will automatically turn out badly. Just because sometimes you’ve been hurt by this world doesn’t mean you can’t go out and try again. The flexibility and strength of the ability to change is at the heart of how we grow, learn, and blossom.
The silly thing is, all your rigid engineering around the wispy feelings that you have, has never and will never alter the chances that you’ll be hurt again. Yet person after person retreats to the safety of controlling their entire environment. But soon enough, they feel hurt because people aren’t paying enough attention to them. We desperately need other people in our lives and when they hurt us it sucks but we need each other no less because of it. Fabricating a world without challenge or hardship sadly does not ensure happiness.
Aside from all your defenses and fears, the truth is you’re levying burdens on the people around you. If you don’t want the pressure of keeping in touch, you’re basically telling others they have to do it for you. Your cute little memes about how you’re “just bad at keeping in touch with others” is a ridiculously selfish and completely immature cop out that shows you don’t respect the time or efforts of the people who know and love you. If you have time to log into sites, stream video and chill, or scroll through endless social media, you most certainly have the skills, ability and room in your schedule to put effort forth to connect with others now and again.
All the people you txt to when you need advice or an ear are the people you should invite to your life and its events. You too could be the person coordinating a simple lunch or a trip to the movies. No it’s not too much to bear if you want to have friends, and if you don’t then stop telling them to “keep inviting” you. Because either you want to have a relationship with someone, or you’re just letting them spend time with you. If it’s the latter I’ve got a few posts for you, but we can talk about that later.