So, I am not talking about in terms of romantic escapades or pretending to be something that I am not. I am talking about removing my feelings about a person/situation and just following their lead. I used to be so wrapped up in people not treating me well, or keeping in touch properly or just not being a good friend, etc. Now, I just mimic their behavior.
Have you ever heard of the tactic when it comes to attracting people or getting them to engage with you, that you emulate their body language? If their arms are crossed, then you cross yours. If they are sitting and have their hands clasped, then you do likewise. It makes the two of you on each other’s level, therefore making everyone comfortable and jolly and open. It is often used in business.
So, I parrot behavior of friends/acquaintances and don’t go out of my way. I keep myself at arm’s length. I haven’t met a best friend in the 15 years I have been in D.C. I thought I did a time or two, but life got busier as the kid’s grew and I realized if we didn’t have kids in common that we would not even be chums. A lot of the people here just aren’t my type, plain and simple.
I no longer try to get people together in groups, or go out of my way to contact folks unless they make the first move. When I get posts on my social media like: “Oh my gosh, I miss you beautiful! Let’s put something on the calendar!” I say: “Okay! Totally! Miss you too!”. I guess it is a form of lying, I just consider it being a chameleon and blending in. There is no stress involved, no false hope and I don’t get my feelings hurt or waste my time.
It may sound cold or sad, but it makes life easier. Since my daughter was born, her dad was never really involved. When we were married I tried many times to build tight bonds so that I would have comrades to go through mommyhood with. I didn’t have the cookie cutter family like everyone I knew and couldn’t spend money like crazy, because sometimes I had to do this crazy thing that they didn’t-WORK!
One person I became friends with wasn’t married or a mom. She became an aunt to my kiddo. She went to events with us, and I had someone to pal around with outside of my toddler. Which was great because all if my besties lived other places. Then she started traveling with friends, and none of them had a s/o or child, so I began to slide out of the picture rapidly. I went from seeing her a few times a month, to a few times a year. Now she is a mom and tries hard to reach out and I am all- meh.
After these experiences and my realization that the area is pretty transient, I have just gotten used to not having a posse. Outside of my guy and kid, I fly solo a lot. Nowadays, my daughter is so busy that I don’t even spend much time with her. I occasionally meet a friend for dinner or coffee and I do have a couple of ladies that invite me to events, but for the most part it is the 3 Bears over here, 4 with my cat.
So when I see friends who insist that they “have” to see me soon, I just reply with another word to let them know that I feel similarly. Like must or certainly and sometimes definitely. I do miss that close connection, like I have with people who have known me for a long time and really know me. I have just not been able to replace that the entire time that I have been here. Adulting is hard!
So my advice is, if you find yourself surrounded by people who are decent enough, and probably well-meaning but not reliable or consistent, just do as they do, but like you. Like a writer from an area of Georgia where I grew up once said: “When in Rome, do as you done in Milledgeville.” ― Flannery O’Connor
It may not make sense, but it means to act as others do, but in your own way. Live your life and do not put your trust, faith and heart in man. Besides your mom and God, and if you are lucky like I am, your partner and your kid will have your back. Isn’t that enough? For me, I feel that my cup runneth over…