Very few would openly confess to such a thing, but the truth is, I don’t like most people. Or, feel the need to be chatty, for the sake of being social.
I've read Dictionary.com's definition of antisocial, and I can’t justify myself as:
1. unwilling or unable to associate in a normal or friendly way with other people: (He's not antisocial, just shy.)
2. antagonistic, hostile, or unfriendly toward others; menacing; threatening: an antisocial act.
3. opposed or detrimental to social order or the principles on which society is constituted: antisocial behavior.
4. Psychiatry. of or pertaining to a pattern of behavior in which social norms and the rights of others are persistently violated.
Maybe it’s depression. Maybe it’s lack of energy. Or, maybe it’s because it took a long time for me to recognize the fine line between ‘ministering to others,’ and behaving like a pandering sycophant.
If you’re brought up in a religion that advises you to make a friend of your enemy, when is it time to step back and secede from a relationship that seems to be benefiting the ‘former enemy’, while doing nothing for you?
And, you can’t exactly ask advice of the person that taught you to minister. Especially when you can’t help recognizing their behavior as somewhat lapdog-ish, also.
So, you go into therapy (hopefully with someone intelligent that doesn't have a personal agenda) to work out what seems abnormal to those around you. If you’re lucky, you find out abnormality is actually, quite normal.
Is that a contradiction? Hmmm.
‘I used to walk into a room, and wonder if anyone there liked me. Now I walk into that same room and wonder if there’s anyone there I like.’
Perhaps moving to the Pacific-Northwest when I was an impressionable teenager had a hand in it. A 14 y/o Californian moving to the ‘burbs of Oregon, with only two months left in the school year? I might as well have worn a 'Kick Me, I'm A Dickhead' sign on my back.
Yah, native Oregonians are taught from the cradle to loathe Californians. Something to do with property values, realism vs. materialism, rain vs. sun...take your pick. So, right off the bat, no one was gonna like me.
Luckily, I got one small break. It came in the form of a ‘locker-share'; my new school practiced students sharing lockers. (Talk about trust issues!) And, this lowly freshman got partnered with a senior who’d had a locker to herself since the beginning of the school year. (Cue ‘Dragnet’ music here)
She took pity on me...eventually. After three weeks, she clued me in that I’d violated the cultural aesthetic practices of one of Oregon's most upscale locales; apparently, holding my large Goody comb in my back-pocket was a no-no.(Remember those large-tooth Goody’s?) Well, it was the norm in the Bay Area to have them sticking out of your rear-pocket, or Dickie's painter-pants—ready to repair what you imagined to be blight in your coif.
Unfortunately, in 1983 Lake Oswego, it meant you were gay. (Cue stunned spit-take here)
That's right. From day-one, my new classmates—who resembled the entire cast of Pretty In Pink—assumed I was a number-one fan of Joan Jett. (During a time when it was as synonymous as a Scarlet Letter on your chest)
When you’re the new kid, and lonely for your old friends, you’re eager to fit in. And being told that you've failed, right out of the gate, can make you a little desperate. So, what did I do? That’s right. I became that pandering sycophant.
But, not for too long. Once I’d sussed out whom I did and didn't genuinely like, it was suddenly summer break. A relief from the disapproval of simply being a Californian...and briefly mistaken for being a lesbian. (‘Not that there’s anything wrong with that...’ Seinfeld would say, fifteen years later)
Meanwhile, you’d learn right off the bat that this single-n-childfree Gemini is a plain-spoken sort...but with a mature sense of tact, discretion, and finesse. Also, like most of my zodiac ilk, I’m drawn towards intelligent and creative folk. Conversation over any worthwhile topic that has nothing to do with a Kardashian or 'Real Housewife' will capture my attention.
However, if one uses their intelligence to beat me over the head with what I don’t know, I shut down and write them off—never again to think well of them, much less want to be in a room with them. (It’s semi-funny when Sheldon Cooper does it on The Big Bang Theory, but in reality, you’d likely find your tires slashed)
So, while I don’t agree with being labeled antisocial, I can’t deny that I do have something inside me that just doesn't like being around people much of the time. I expect those majoring in Psychology would love to tear apart my entry here; pouncing on semantics in my writing like an editor with the infamous red pen.
Antisocial? Not entirely. However, I can appreciate Groucho Marx’s notable quote:
“I refuse to join any club that would have me as a member.”