I’m not normally one for New Year’s resolutions (why should we follow through on promises made in January as opposed to any other time of year?) but, as I am an early-January baby, this time of year does usually lead me to reflect, at least briefly, on The Year That Was and What May Come.
Two things leap out: a) I need to stop wasting my time and energy on people who aren’t my friends and never will be; and b) I need to spend more money on my hair.
The latter is a no-brainer: I hate going to the hairdresser and I realized last week that this is actually obvious. Long story short, I looked in the mirror after my latest slap-dash twenty-dollar special at the probably-not-licensed lady down the street and went, “This has to stop. I look like Ward Cleaver.”
Horrified (in the way that only the abruptly enlightened can be), I presented myself shortly afterward at an upscale-ish salon recommended by an acquaintance who has a cute little pixie cut and humbly pleaded “Please fix it.”
She did. It took all of half an hour, cost less than I had feared, and, judging by the compliments pouring in, was bloody well worth it.
As far as the second bit goes, last month I read a sobering little post entitled “30 Things to Stop Doing to Yourself” and was gobsmacked by Thing No. 1, as follows:
Stop spending time with the wrong people. – Life is too short to spend time with people who suck the happiness out of you. If someone wants you in their life, they’ll make room for you. You shouldn’t have to fight for a spot. …
This ties in nicely, as it happens, with Rule No. 6, from The Unwritten Rules of Social Relationships, by Dr Temple Grandin and Sean Barron, about which I wrote early in December 2011 – that rule being “Not everyone who is nice to me is my friend.” It’s a very hard lesson for Aspergians (and non-Aspergians, I understand!) to learn, but an important one to keep in mind as we stumble through life.
As with the hair revelation, I suddenly realized I have been engaged for many months now in yet another of my futile, exhausting struggles to make friends with a couple of people who are, alas, completely uninterested in being friends with me. (Again, a very Aspergian thing to do and the core of our Aspergianism, if you will – the intense desire for friends and the terrible difficulty of acquiring same.)
The details are not particularly germane here, but suffice it to say that my overtures (invites to dinner, a walk, a movie, an evening of board games, coffee, a beer…) have been consistently rebuffed with things like “Sorry, I’m busy,” “Sounds fun – can I take a rain check?” and “Sorry, I can’t make our date – something’s come up” (in one case, the “something” being an urgent need to help clean out someone else’s garage) (I am not making this up).
For whatever reason, that little blog entry was like a bonk on the head – finally, I get it: all of these little blow-offs are a polite way of saying “I’d rather eat boiled sloth excrement than hang out with you.”
Unlike many Aspergians, I am blessed with a small circle of friends. They know who they are, and they don’t do the things I mentioned above. No sir. We hang out, we do things together, we see movies, we eat meals, we go on expeditions and trips. When we say we’re going to do something, we do it unless someone has had to call the undertaker or has an actual internal organ dangling out of their person. We give each other kicks in the butt as necessary, and compliments and strokes that actually mean something. They ask after things that are important to me, and likewise; it’s a two-way conversation.
Sure, we email and text, but that is not the extent of our friendships – rather, it’s just an extension of it, a bit of icing on the tasty, satisfying cake that is Being Friends.
Anyway, I’m sure I don’t need to go on at length about what friendship consists of — you get the point. And (having apparently lost track of it for a period of time) I now do, too.
So, with all that in mind, in with 2012 – bring it on. In with decent coiffures and onward with the wonderful, life-giving friends I already have. Out with “man-cuts” and sharky, vapid people who only get in touch when they want something.
And while I’m at it, out (at last!) with CBC Radio One. It sounds like radio written by social-work students. Enough already.
There. I’m done. Happy New Year, everyone!