I have to start with an advisory.
THIS ISN’T ABOUT YOU. IT’S ABOUT ME.
Now that I’ve done the disclaimer, on to the epiphany.
Most of my friendships, I’ve noticed, are based around A Thing. A job, or a hobby, or something where I show up somewhere regularly and provide a service. The Thing That I Do.
The problem with that, of course, is that at some point, the Thing That I Do stops getting done. Circumstances change. I move on.
This is where the epiphany comes in. I don’t inspire people.
I’m competent. I do whatever Thing That I Do well. But beyond that, I don’t inspire people to care. So when I stop doing The Thing That I Do, the vast majority of the people I knew from The Thing go away. Why? Because I never inspired them to get to know anything about me beyond The Thing. So once they don’t need me to do The Thing… they no longer need me.
Examples? I have a bunch.
There’s one person peripherally in my life from the first half of my life (New York). I wasn’t a Chicago resident long enough to do The Thing for anyone, so no friends from those years. While I have Facebook connections from AMF, they’re not really friends any longer. There’s a few from Anthem (thank you). A couple from my time in wrestling (over a decade).
And then there’s the other place. It’s a big part of the epiphany. Let’s leave it at that. Might ruffle some feathers if I take this too far.
I think I realized this on some level before the fully-realized concept hit me. I really haven’t connected with anyone at the Current Day Job (they don’t like to be mentioned in blogs) or at Entercom. I just do My Thing and go home.
Dear Reader, I can hear you now. “Why didn’t you reach out to them?” Well here’s the thing. I did. And that gets back to the original point. Sure, I reached out. Painfully few reached back. I don’t inspire the kind of loyalty that would make someone think, “hey, I haven’t heard from Rob in a while… how’s he doing?”
And after a while, I get tired of chasing people. So the friendships, such as they were, fizzle out.
Just to reiterate, if there’s any anger here, it’s at myself. It’s happened so many times that the only common factor is me.
So while it’s a raw point one last time, at least I’ve learned a lesson. The epiphany. There are friends, and there are co-workers, and rarely do the twain meet.
Of course, the answer to my lifelong bachelorhood is also encompassed by this theory. If I can’t inspire friendship, there’s no chance of inspiring romance.
Sadly, a sliver of self-awareness at 54.5 is not really going to help in the future. I guess all that’s left is to find a time machine and go fix the past.
Before you think about replying, please ponder two things:
- IT’S NOT YOU, IT’S ME.
- If you’re one of the exceptions, thank you, and you don’t need to say anything to remind of that. I know who you are.
As always, I now return you to your favorite Internet meme-fest, already in progress.