brundolf 2 months ago

Something I've learned is that you don't love and connect with people because of who they are; you don't often find people you magically feel close to or interested in right at the beginning. You can't hold out for that.

You love and connect with people because... you love and connect with them. The more time you spend, the more you share about yourself, the more moments you have together- relationships will usually become deep and meaningful as a result, almost regardless of where they started. If you ask questions that tug on the threads of a person's life, you'll find that almost everyone is interesting. If you take a leap and invest time and energy in people, you'll find life-giving connection you didn't even know could have been there.

It can be hard to bootstrap this process. Like financial poverty, it takes energy to invest in the interactions that eventually lift you out of the lack of energy, which can be a catch-22. But the advice is the same: scrimp and save at first, and then spend strategically until you can get the flywheel going.

But I can almost guarantee that the boundary you're facing is your own shortage of energy, not a shortage of opportunities for connection. Not to trivialize that; it's still a hard place to be in. But I think it would be more productive to re-frame things as such.

  • uniqueuid 2 months ago

    The same goes for spouses, by the way.

    You don't have a happy marriage/partnership because you met the person of your dreams and then both accidentally stay the same person forever.

    Happy marriages exist because people continuously and mutually change each other in a positive way.

    • dkersten 2 months ago

      This is something that always bothers me. A lot of people forget that you have to work on relationships and then eventually they fall apart. I'm of the opinion that a belief in "soulmates" or finding "the one" or whatever is a big part of the problem: if they're your soulmate, then everything should always be perfect, right? and if its not, then that means they weren't actually the one, so end of relationship and move on hoping to find the true one... But it doesn't work like that in real life, no relationship is perfect all the time and both people need to work on them. Relationships are like gardens, they don't stay beautiful if they're neglected.

      • senorqa 2 months ago

        I think we can "blame" romanticism for that imaginary vision of a soul mate. I really like Alain de Botton's take on Romanticism https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sPOuIyEJnbE

        • BasDirks 2 months ago

          Romanticism, that sweet youthful foolishness. Living tragically can be beautiful, and lead to deep despair.

        • beaker52 2 months ago

          Thanks for sharing this. It was an important watch for my wife and I.

        • dkersten 2 months ago

          That's a great video, thanks for posting it!

      • iratewizard 2 months ago

        I think understanding "soulmate" -whether or not it exists - can be understood by looking at the antithesis. I know I've been in a mistake of a relationship where I had found the opposite of a soulmate. The things that made her awful for me are characteristics I used to filter people out until I found my wife.

        There's definitely an argument that soulmate don't exist. That anyone can be the one that you want as long as you see it through until you feel indifference. For some people, though, that indifference comes much faster. Trust and respect erode way faster than can be undone.

        • dkersten 2 months ago

          I think its pretty clear that some people just don't get on, so I don't think its true that basically any two people can "be the one". You need some kind of shared values and ideals first. Beyond that though, I think most people can work if both are willing to work on it. My main point is that a belief in the romantic notion of someone being "the one" seems to give people a false sense of complacency: if they're truly "the one", then surely you don't need to work on the relationship, and if the cracks start to show, that's clearly a sign that they weren't actually "the one". In reality, life isn't so rosy and we have to work on our relationships, even if we get on amazingly well with that person.

      • imwillofficial 2 months ago

        No, the concept of a soul mate is that you have a bind that transcends this life, that there this is a journey your souls decided to take together before your birth.

        Ups, downs, whatever, it will work in the end, because that was the mission. To teach a lesson. Maybe the lesson was how to overcome differences?

        Now the common modern usage of soulmate just means “person was meant for me” and that’s open to 100% of your criticism.

        • guerrilla 2 months ago

          Do you think they were using the meaning that nobody's heard of or the modern one that everyone knows?

          • synu 2 months ago

            For what it’s worth, I’d only heard of the one you’re saying nobody has ever heard of so I thought it was a useful comment. What others are describing as soul mates I have heard described as an expectation of love at first sight, whereas soul mates are like the old couple that’s been together for 50 years (or one that’s on their way to that).

            Since people seem sensitive about it I’m not trying to say one or the other is right just sharing how I’ve heard the terms used.

          • imwillofficial 2 months ago

            “Nobody has heard of”

            You are not everyone.

            But I included the second caveat to cover each potential usage. Maybe you’ve learned something today

            • guerrilla 2 months ago

              Just gonna trudge on with the pedantry then? Nobody means literally nobody when they say nobody. It's a rhetorical exaggeration.

              • cgriswald 2 months ago

                The other poster was actually pointing out something insightful: That the term "soulmate" can (and does) mean different things to different people. What you call the modern usage... isn't. It's used to describe multiple concepts including "the perfect puzzle piece human" and "someone I am bound to through thick and thin". The former is problematic because it allows people to bail at the first sign of trouble while taking no responsibility whatsoever. The later is probably better overall, but I've seen it used to rationalize staying in an abusive relationship.

              • shepherdjerred 2 months ago

                > Nobody means literally nobody when they say nobody.

                This is a funny sentence because you're using "nobody" in the exact way that you claim "nobody" else does.

                • guerrilla 2 months ago

                  I mean that's half the joke, but am I though? :)

                  • imwillofficial 2 months ago

                    Maybe take that one back to the drawing board. It’s got some potential.

        • JohnHaugeland 2 months ago

          > No, the concept of a soul mate is

          there truly is no limit to what people on HN will argue about

      • every 2 months ago

        We have been together for over four decades and are cautiously optimistic it might work out...

    • brundolf 2 months ago

      That's a big part of it, though I think it's fair to be a little more selective when there's only going to be one person in that role for the rest of your life

      But there's no such constraint on other relationships. Those deserve an abundance-mindset; go out into the world, see what people are like, don't assume you already know what you're looking for, see which relationships stick. You have almost nothing to lose.

      Edit: That said, lots of people are way too far on this end of the spectrum even when it comes to life-partnerships. The key is to dial in and not overestimate how much you actually know about other people, the world, and even yourself.

    • jiggawatts 2 months ago

      An analogy that might appeal to machine learning enthusiasts:

      The quality of friendships and romantic relationships can be thought of as the dot product of two high-dimensional vectors. The elements of the vectors describe mutual interests, attributes that are important for relationships, etc... The dot product means that as your interests and personalities are more aligned, the relationship can become stronger.

      (Aside: There is good scientific evidence that the opposites attract myth is just a myth. The converse is true. More similar people find each other more attractive.)

      But here's the rub: by default the vectors are already fairly aligned by the simple fact that we're all human. We all have some baked-in interests, wants, and personality traits that align well with the same in the fellow members of our species.

      Secondly, most people meet people that are physically near them, which means that statistically, their "vectors" will align significantly better than chance. Like... way, way better.

      I can sympathise with the author of the blog article. I get it. I really do.

      I'm a political refugee, and three decades later, I still don't quite fit in with the people in my new home. Combine that with esoteric interests and a shy personality, and I start to look like the author an awful lot.

      But I've had surprisingly little trouble living with romantic partners from hugely different backgrounds. Literal polar opposites of the planet, different religions, you name it.

      Turns out that they're just... human. They want hugs and romantic meals, trips overseas and back rubs. Same as everyone else. It really doesn't take much at all to "align". It's basically our wired-in default!

      Essentially, the best we can do is optimise this dot product, but there isn't anyone on the planet that will reach 100%. Despite this, we can get a surprisingly good match without even trying, because we're all already set up for being a 90% match for each other. People like the author are complaining about being an 80% match, not a 5% match.

      I got to my 90% by simply finding partners that were also political refuges and/or expats. That's all it took. I didn't have to change my personality or become a different person.

      To put things in perspective: There are people that put up with abusive spouses. Seriously, think about that! If you don't think you can get along with a friend or a romantic partner, just consider for a minute that other people find physical abuse tolerable, because it's just one dimension in a high dimensional vector where everything else mostly aligns. I mean... sheesh... just... don't hit people? You're already way ahead of a surprising fraction of people just by doing that one thing.

  • hoherd 2 months ago

    > But no matter the medicinal virtues of being a true friend or sustaining a long, close relationship with another, the ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement, neither of the other nor of the self: the ultimate touchstone is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.

    David Whyte - Friendship

  • kstenerud 2 months ago

    That has not been my experience at all. Of the many relationships I've had in my life (romantic, platonic, family, etc), I can count on one hand the number that became deep and meaningful.

    Yes, deep relationships take time to develop. But there needs to be a lot more than simply time spent together; you need to be compatible as well.

    But when you DO develop these deep and meaningful relationships, it's the best thing in the world, and something to treasure!

    I was a LOT more strategic in my relationships leading up to my second marriage, and it paid off in spades.

    • azemetre 2 months ago

      What do you mean by strategic? Like willing to be more vulnerable with others?

      • kstenerud 2 months ago

        Like looking for certain broad points of compatibility. For example, dominant and submissive traits are very fundamental to our nature, and too big of a mismatch here will be a source of conflict (two dominants) or unfulfillment (two submissives). There's a lot of wiggle room and nuance of course, but in broad strokes some people want to make the decisions, while others want to have those decisions made for them. It's important to take stock of where you want control, and where you want to give up control (and find someone who's somewhat close to your complement).

        You'll want at least some common interests so that you actively enjoy some of the things you can do together and are not always doing things together for the others benefit (although that IS important some of the time). You'll want somewhat similar approaches to home life (a major source of conflict). Some compromise is healthy, but too much is stifling.

        Honest, open and respectful communication is an absolute must in both you and your mate (with the odd slip-up that you make a point of correcting). Vulnerability basically comes with the territory here, since you can't be fully honest and open without becoming vulnerable. We all have our secret hurts and shames and desires and insecurities, and they'll always be a source of weakness if we can't trust our partners with them (after which they become a bond of strength).

        Having a deep relationship with another human being is a humbling experience, because it's impossible without sharing empathy and burdens and trust. It forces you to live outside of your own little world, and I'm beginning to think that I likely wouldn't have been capable of such a thing in my youth, even if I'd known then what I know now...

        • syntaxfree 2 months ago

          I find the whole dominant submissive thing misleading. I’m sexually submissive (or at least that’s what populates my fantasies) but tend to be more dominant in real life. Then: women tend to manage day to day life with me and “tell me what to do” (this occasionally crosses some wires in my head too) but I’m the one to take bolder decisions (initiatives, but my partners tend to follow my lead) like moving houses/cities, making large purchases, having children.

          My dad (from an older, perhaps more misogynistic generation) always said he and mom had an equal relationship but he was Captain of the ship. This has been the rule in my life: in crises, when taking bold steps forward, when taking risks, make-or-break decisions, I’m the Captain. Even if I often tried (before kids) to have women with my play the domination game outside the bedroom too.

          I’m an existential dominant, I guess.

  • new_newbie 2 months ago

    This is spot on from my own experiences. I'm currently in that sort of a position where I'm aware my energy (which I've started to refer to as currency with my therapist) is low.

    It refreshes every day (the amount depending on sleep quality) and even at the best of days it's not enough to do an iota of what I was previously capable of doing.

    Personally, in my situation I believe the answer to be antidepressants and will likely be going on them soon. Once this "situation" becomes lived in, it becomes harder to escape from... especially whilst self-isolating. Antidepressants increase neurotransmitters (which ones depends on the class of drug) and aid in this positive-thinking and habit-formation. Psilocybin works acutely through this mechanism as well (increased serotonin -> neurogenesis -> escaping mental ruts + more easily forming habits).

    (note: when people 'cure' depression through psilocybin it's typically by being exposed to an extremely different perspective of the world. For example, "I forgot how beautiful nature is" or "every stranger has an amazing story" or "the world is so big and so much to explore". Taking those learnings back with yourself is one way to help depression, but in that class the depression is usually sub-clinical.)

    People who start Prozac, for example, and get positive results tend to report a much better ability to learn and to maintain hopefulness.

    This situation is not always due a chemical root cause (i.e. passing of a loved one) but staying in that state for much too long will cause a learned depression that we will accept as our truth of the world. At that point, SSRIs and other medicines have a role.

    • danenania 2 months ago

      You know what’s best for you. I’m wondering though if you’ve tried the non-pharmaceutical options already? Daily exercise, time outside, eating healthy, limiting screen time, sleeping well, and all that.

      A lot of studies have found doing these things to be at least as effective as SSRIs. They can create hormonal and neurochemical changes that are just as strong. Check out some of Andrew Huberman’s podcasts for more on this. I wish you the best in any case with whatever route you take!

      • atlas_hugged 2 months ago

        I’m so tired of hearing people say this as if we haven’t already googled every non-medical intervention imaginable before resorting to meds.

        Nobody wants to be on meds their whole life.

        Nobody.

        Why do people always assume I and others like me “took the easy way out” and always say “well did you just try exercise/sunlight/chakra/insertdietyhere??”

        Before I finally got a doctor that could help I was tormented by people like you because I thought I wasn’t good enough. Everyone else does these things and they’re “cured.” Why can’t I do it? Their response every single time was disbelief. “You’re just not trying hard enough.”

        Just.

        Just.

        Just.

        Just.

        I’ve grown to hate that word. People that say it tend to enjoy being dismissive of real problems. I honestly don’t care to look thru your comment history, but I know the odds are pretty high I’ll see that language over and over… The thing is, my experience isn’t even unique. It’s super common. Yet there’s always people like you that try their best to make us feel like we aren’t doing enough and it’s our own fault. The odds are the person you’re talking to is not a complete and total idiot and they already tried everything up to and sometimes including shoving Gwyneth Paltrow “healing crystals” up their vagina before trying meds. I’m incredibly fortunate medication was able to sort of help. I can at least tolerate life and be somewhat hopeful for my future. Not everyone is so lucky. My brother, for instance, is suffering from treatment resistant depression. My family are all trying to figure out how to help him before it’s too late. If I heard you or anyone say “did you just try exercising” to him in my presence, I’d find it exceedingly difficult to not break your nose, because I know how much that kind of talk will make him bed-ridden and suicidal.

        • danenania 2 months ago

          Honestly, I’m just sharing this stuff because I deal with depression too and it has helped me more than anything else, including SSRIs—I tried one years ago and found it to be worse than the depression. For me learning about the biochemistry involved really helped it click to the point that I was able to change some negative habits.

          I realize that what works for me won’t work for everyone, but it might for some. I’m by no means trying to imply anything negative about anyone who concludes that pharmaceuticals are the best (or only) option for them. I sincerely wish both you and your brother the best.

          • ungamedplayer 2 months ago

            You used just in the response, knowing how much they hate it.

            • satisfice 2 months ago

              Don't expect to bully people into not using perfectly reasonable language. My language is not for you to dictate. Just deal with it, or stop trying to talk.

              • PJFSXESBSZNI 2 months ago

                Yes of course, you may use language as you like.

                I've made an effort to remove "just" from my writing for another reason: It doesn't add much.

              • worthless-trash 2 months ago

                No! stop trying to bully me into telling you want to do, you stop trying to talk!

      • new_newbie 2 months ago

        There's a point where you're so broken that it's really not reasonable to build those again.

        For reference, I got into this position by doing a 30 week natural bodybuilding prep. I've done a variety of extreme physical feats including watercutting 16lbs over a day and all the others that come with wrestling too.

        All of these demand extreme willpower and discipline to the point of being considered indoctrination. If I detailed these things or shared pictures, no one would doubt I'm capable of building habits or routines normally.

        Right now I struggle to get myself to cook breakfast.

        In my scenario, where I don't have lifelong clinical depression, low dosing antidepressants as a crutch to build out of the hole is viable. For others (i.e. people who have attempted suicide as teenagers), it's kinda a necessity.

        Depression and anxiety is on a spectrum as well, and it goes very deep sometimes.

        And to follow-up, I did try those suggestions. Good, natural sleep helps the most and gives me the best emotional stability I've had recently. Unfortunately it's not enough. I've been trying to build for months now and I'm still nowhere.

        To put it another way, there are a myriad of ways to increase testosterone levels besides using TRT. Many of those methods are the same you suggest. However, if you're castrated... it ain't gonna do anything. A parallel with neurotransmitters exists (i.e. serotonin, dopamine, norepinephrine, ...) and I don't believe I am quite in that boat yet but there are many who are. My ex girlfriend attempted suicide at 11 and 18, and has successfully used prozac with, fortunately, no side-effects

        For sub-clinical depression, I firmly believe you're correct and building those habits goes a long way.

        • danenania 2 months ago

          Makes sense. Sounds like you’ve thought it through and tried the other options. I hope the meds help.

      • headsoup 2 months ago

        The fact anti-depressants have such serious potential side-effects should mean anyone considering them is at least hopefully fully informed and has exhausted other options.

        I'm sure many people find it insulting to have such 'obvious' solutions proposed, but you don't know who it might be helpful for.

        • danenania 2 months ago

          I think a lot of people know these things can help, but brush them off as serious options. Like they see them as homeopathic cures or folk wisdom vs. antidepressants being the real deal medical option. Add that changing habits is difficult, and people tend to dismiss the non-pharmaceutical options before giving them an honest try. It's hard to put the effort in if you're skeptical it's even going to help at all.

          Learning about the science behind it might change this perspective. For example, staying up until 3am looking at your phone or computer screen will mess with your hormone levels as much as if you took steroids. If you're doing this regularly and suffering from depression, there's a much simpler and more scientifically proven treatment available to you than an SSRI. While it does require more effort to change habits than taking a pill does, it's also more likely to make you feel better.

      • guerrilla 2 months ago
        • danenania 2 months ago

          You seem to have missed that I was asking a question.

          I’m aware that low energy is a symptom of depression, but it doesn’t always render a person incapable of taking any of these steps.

          I think that some people who are in a bad place don’t know that these ‘natural’ remedies can change someone’s brain chemistry as dramatically as drugs do. Perhaps knowing this can help provide the motivation to try.

          Antidepressants can have some unpleasant side effects and can be hard to get off of, so it’s worth trying alternatives first imho. But of course the best solution depends on the person and their unique situation.

          • guerrilla 2 months ago

            > You seem to have missed that I was asking a question.

            No, I didn't. Your question presumes that doing such things are possible and they are likely not.

            > I’m aware that low energy is a symptom of depression, but it doesn’t always render a person incapable of taking any of these steps.

            You are misinformed. It often does.

            > I think that some people who are in a bad place don’t know that these ‘natural’ remedies, especially when stacking them, can change someone’s mental state as powerfully as drugs do. Perhaps knowing this can help provide the motivation to try.

            Yeah, this is harmful psuedo-scientific thinking. Yes, those things can change them, but again, your assumption is faulty. They cannot change them if they cannot be enacted, which depression often prevents from happening.

            > Antidepressants can have some unpleasant side effects, so it’s worth trying alternatives first imho. But of course the best solution depends on the person and their unique situation.

            Yeah, they're terrible. That doesn't make your suggestions useful or insightful.

            Your posts amounts to "Have you tried not being depressed?" which is frankly insulting.

            Not only that, but you insult their and everyone they know's intelligence by thinking you could be the first one to think of these basic things (the same things advertised everywhere.)

            • danenania 2 months ago

              I say “it doesn’t always”. You reply “it often does”.

              Seems like you’re just looking to argue.

              Frankly, I don’t really care whether you find my question or my suggestions useful. They weren’t meant for you.

              • acheron 2 months ago

                The poster you're responding to is just trolling all over this comment section for some reason. "Just looking to argue" seems right.

        • philliphaydon 2 months ago

          > The point is that a depressed person can't do those things. You seem to have missed that.

          A depressed person can. The hardest thing for a depressed person is starting. But often when they can start they feel rewarded. But starting is the hardest thing in the world.

          Then there’s the problem of biological and neurological depression. Medicine doesn’t help with biological depression much if at all.

          • guerrilla 2 months ago
            • philliphaydon 2 months ago

              > Please don't spread misinformation. You hurt people when you do this.

              Do you know what pre natal depression is? Anti depressants do not always work. Because it’s not a serotonin issue.

              Don’t tell me I’m spreading misinformation when I’m literally going through this right now with my wife.

              • guerrilla 2 months ago
                • philliphaydon 2 months ago

                  > and some respond to treatment

                  > much if at all

                  Same same.

                  I’ve spoken to more doctors in the past 5 months than I can count on my hands. The conclusion from all of them is that this is biological depression caused by the pregnancy which medicine most likely won’t help, which is also hindered by the fact she’s pregnant and that limits the available treatment. And this is different to, and quote “neurological” depression happening in the brain which would need constant treatment, so we can only manage the anxiety and bide our time till delivery day.

                  What you’re saying is that the doctors and the stuff I’ve read is wrong and medical science doesn’t know what they are taking about.

                  • guerrilla 2 months ago

                    > Same same.

                    No, it's not even close to the same. Plenty of depressions of all sorts are even curable and many others are treatable. One has to look into exactly what they have to determine what to do. What you were saying is super fucking dangerous man.

                    The doctors don't think that your wife's antenatal depression will respond to medication. That's all you know. Cut the reset of the fat out before you hurt someone.

                    > I’ve spoken to more doctors in the past 5 months than I can count on my hands.

                    That sounds terrible, but it doesn't matter how many doctors you talk to if you can't understand what they're talking about or they're dumbing it down for you or something. As I said, all depression is biological. The alternative is impossible. Zero depressions are non-biological. That's nonsense and an indicator you don't totally grasp what's going on. Not all psychiatric depression requires constant treatment. Some is long-term but temporary. Some is caused by brain tumors. There's a very wide spectrum of what can be going on and it's not okay to make sweeping generalizations like you're still doing.

                    I'm not saying the doctors are wrong, I'm saying that you didn't fully understand what they said or are not communicating it correctly. I understand you've been through a lot and that you've been doing your research too but you need to tone down your epistemic confidence here and come at this with some humility because you're producing some sentences which are flat out false and others that are nonsensical. I know what you mean now, but I still don't think you do.

                    • dang 2 months ago

                      Your account has been posting tons of flamewar comments and comments with swipes in them. This thread was particularly bad because of the way you crossed into personal attack.

                      Would you please review https://news.ycombinator.com/newsguidelines.html and take the intended spirit of this site more to heart? We'd appreciate it.

            • nostrebored 2 months ago

              This comment added nothing. As someone who’s been clinically diagnosed with MDD multiple times, the answer has always been doing more stuff. One of the strongest impacts of SSRIs is on complacency, not motivation. Psychoactive drugs can help, but if energy and motivation are what you’re looking for, why not stimulants?

              Doing that stuff feels terrible and impossible, but my strategy now is doing activities that create an accountability buddy structure. Most group activities lend themselves to this. Some give you it for free: try going to a CrossFit class and asking someone for their number and to see if they can text you the next time they’re working out.

              • guerrilla 2 months ago

                The comment added that those statements of his are false. His statements are in complete ignorance of anhedonia, for example, and as you said yourself "feeling terrible."

                I addressed the rest of what you said in other comments.

                If you're currently able to do CrossFit though, then I would never refer to you as or consider you to be currently depressed.

                • philliphaydon 2 months ago

                  So you say that depression prevents people from doing anything at all, period. If that's the case then you're spreading misinformation.

                  Plenty of people who suffer from depression are able to do things.

                  • guerrilla 2 months ago

                    Pretty big leap between doing anything at all and CrossFit, right?

                    As I said elsewhere, of course exercise helps, but if they can't do that they it can't help and many people can't. Presumably, if they could, they would. Suggesting CrossFit as a starting point is insane nonsense.

                    • PJFSXESBSZNI 2 months ago

                      Hi! I realize people are trying to help by suggesting things they've seen work before. It's usually best to approach this with sensitivity. Sometimes depression resists treatment. The interventions that work can vary. Some cases may need electroconvulsive therapy or deep-brain stimulation-based treatments.

                      Many issues can converge on the loose collection of symptoms we call "Depression". Different cures for different causes:

                      Increasing activity. Resolving adverse life circumstances. Modifying hormonal states. Modifying nutritional states. Reducing inflammation. Curing an underlying physical illness. Ending a relationship. Starting a new relationship. Spiritual council or practice. Travelling. Taking SSRIs. Taking certain supplements. Ketamine. LSD. Taking MAOIs. Taking mood stabilizers. Climbing out of poverty. Moving to a new town. Ending a toxic relationship. Prescription amphetamines. Getting a sex change. Electroconvulsive therapy. Deep brain stimulation. Transcraial magnetic stimulation. Trauma therapy. Cognitive behavioral therapy. Occupational therapy.

                      Everyone: What has helped for you?

  • alexpetralia 2 months ago

    An essay I had written on this

    https://alexpetralia.github.io/relationships/2019/02/22/what...

    > "In essence, vulnerability engineers good conversation. Vulnerability appeals to our common humanity. In the real world, you and I may differ in every respect imaginable. But in the abstract world - in the world of beliefs and ideas and emotions - there is something fundamental that transcends all human division: divisions of language or race or culture or class. That something is the human condition. It is our primal beliefs in fairness and reason and competition, or emotions of pride and anger and revenge, all of which have been baked into our very existence over millenia of evolution. The common ground is there - with everyone; if you can’t find it, just go deeper."

  • sdwr 2 months ago

    I love this comment! Feels like the perfect words coming from a great direction.

    Adding on:

    - the perfect is the enemy of the good

    - it gets easier, you just have to do it every day

    - we forge the chains we wear in life - jibjab hotdogs

  • yojo 2 months ago

    Of note: bootstrapping is (potentially) hackable between two willing parties. At least per Aron’s study[1]. Who knows if it would replicate.

    At least in my own relationships I have seen the pattern of escalating personal self-disclosure leading to deeper and more meaningful bonds.

    Honestly I think this is why alcohol plays a role in so many early friendships - the disinhibiting effects make it easier to admit personal details to people you don’t already fully trust.

    Doesn’t mean you need to get tipsy to make friends, but you’ll need to find other ways to open up.

    1. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.1177/014616729723400...

  • AlexCoventry 2 months ago

    Looks like maybe too many people are loving and connecting with this website. I'm getting a Heroku application error when I try to access it.

allenu 2 months ago

I sympathize with the author. I'm in my mid-forties now and have recognized that I haven't been great at maintaining friendships. I think I've experienced something similar during the quarantining portion of the pandemic, where I didn't really interact with anyone directly, at least not in person.

I had a job, so did interact with people over Zoom, and I will admit that that helped. A few months ago, however, I quit my job and now I don't have that regular human interaction. It's been quite an eye-opener to realize that this situation (not having friends to spend time with) is something I've passively allowed to happen. Many friends have started families or moved away, but I do recognize there were some I could have continued to cultivate.

I've worked on learning more about myself in the last few months and I've come to recognize that a lot of this situation is due to social anxiety and other behaviors that I've developed over the years. I also recognize that it's something I can actively work on improving. It's important to believe that you can be flexible enough to change your own behaviors or ways of thinking that lead you to be alone.

So, I say to this poster, it's true that things like idle chitchat may not be your cup of tea, I think it's important to realize that many people don't enjoy it either but just use it as a social grease to move into more deep conversation or connection. I might be mistaken, but the post makes it sound like the author is already set in his ways and that it's unfortunate that the world doesn't adjust to his preferences. Anyway, my advice is to not give up on human connection and be flexible enough to recognize that maybe your own limiting thoughts are preventing you from connecting.

  • colinsane 2 months ago

    > So, I say to this poster, it's true that things like idle chitchat may not be your cup of tea, I think it's important to realize that many people don't enjoy it either but just use it as a social grease to move into more deep conversation or connection.

    it took me probably 7 years after moving out of my parent’s place to learn that “smalltalk” and “idle chitchat” are not necessarily the same thing. the “aha!” moment was attending a conference with a much older coworker and seeing him strike up conversations with the people sitting next to him which in the course of 15 minutes went from surface level to incredibly personal, sometimes philosophical things that i would never have thought a stranger willing to discuss, prior to that.

    in my taxonomy, “idle chitchat” is talking about things. “smalltalk” is learning about each other. “the weather sure is nice today, isn’t it?” => idle chitchat. you’re not likely to understand a person from that starting point, except that “wow look, we both like the sun”. “where are you from? what brings you here?” => smalltalk. you’re encouraging the person to reveal some small amounts of information about themselves which you can use to probe further and hopefully find something fascinating (about them, about a topic you haven’t thought much about, or about yourself and how you relate to something in contrast to them).

    now i take conversations with strangers (or anyone really) as a sport, as a challenge. “how can i use these precious moments we strangers share to discover something new? to leave one of us pondering something novel later in the evening”. sometimes these lead to lasting friendships, usually not. but still frequently beneficial to my life. important to identify the situations where smalltalk has the possibility of going beyond surface-level things though. an elevator ride — probably not. a conference, a party, a group activity, anything where people have already put themselves out there more than normal — seems to select for people more likely to “get” smalltalk, or maybe it primes them to open up more, idk.

    • purplerabbit 2 months ago

      Your comment has inspired me to change my outlook when participating in “ephemeral” conversations (conversations with people that I likely won’t ever have a chance to see regularly)

      A couple of people I’m close to have always relished these conversations and I’ve never understood why until now. Thank you!

      • sethammons 2 months ago

        My wife is much better at initially talking and connecting with people. Last evening, she got the cook at our table (one of those places where they show off with spins, tosses, and such). He loves old westerns and samurai movies and will now be watching Paint Your Wagon upon our suggestion to see Clint Eastwood sing. Learned he is a stamp collector and rent is steep and that his son is in the navy. It was much better than just watching him twirling spatulas

    • ungamedplayer 2 months ago

      I too treat it like a minor sport. If you do it repeatedly to the same people it can flower into a a more meaningful relationship.

      Some people don't have strong relationships in their life and even strangers making an effort can brighten their week.

    • kerryoco 2 months ago

      the race to find a good question :) Nice framing

  • Shugarl 2 months ago

    > I think it's important to realize that many people don't enjoy it either but just use it as a social grease to move into more deep conversation or connection.

    I disagree. I'm like the author, but I do make sure to always listen when I'm with a group or if I'm around people. And either they're really good at hiding the deeper conversation, more interesting from me, or they just tend to smalltalk for the sake of smalltalk.

    • allenu 2 months ago

      You're not wrong. Chitchat often isn't started with the intent to move into deeper topics. Maybe a better way for me to phrase it is I think small talk is a social convention we use to open up ourselves to the possibility of more connection.

      Talking about the weather to a stranger in the park is a low-risk way to connect. Once we're talking, maybe we'd both find something else we have in common and go from there, or one person isn't interested in going further, so we part and feel like we've lost nothing. It wouldn't be as effective, I think, to go in with the intent of talking about philosophy with a total stranger.

      Quick aside: I went on a first date with someone once who told me she wasn't interested in small talk and preferred deeper topics. She broke out a notebook and started asking deep questions about me, which I found really off-putting. It didn't feel to me that we had progressed to that level yet. There's something about human nature where, to most of us, we feel the need for some ceremony of going from mundane topics to get comfortable, and then eventually deeper ones. It felt like she violated that rule, in a sense, which threw me off.

noduerme 2 months ago

>> I cannot take seriously all these fleeting pastimes and bucket lists and ultra-specific cultural critiques when the world is a horrible place that is going to implode soon if we don't do something about it.

This seems to preemptively foreclose interest in any kind of initial conversation or meeting anyone where they are. And does so because there's something more important. Everything everyone does is a waste of time because the world is imploding and we should be doing something about it.

Well, what's the author doing about it? Volunteering? They might meet people they wanted to talk to, even agreed with and could have serious conversations about non-ephemeral things with, if they spent some time trying to be part of the solution, by helping any of literally thousands of organizations that could make use of their time and energy to try to prevent or reduce the severity of an implosion.

Otherwise how is sitting around feeling sorry for yourself any more noble than people doing their bucket lists or having stupid surface level conversations?

  • eloisius 2 months ago

    I agree, and I'm surprised to see so much positive feedback in the comments here.

    Being disinterested in 99.9% of what other people care about isn't special or interesting. It's just refusing to meet people where they are. If someone is too special for you to connect with, I guarantee that ascending to the lofty heights that they think they inhabit to engage with them will not be worth it. Even if they could articulate where they want you to meet them, and then you went out on a limb to discuss supernovae collapses, or whatever big important thing, I think you'll discover that their special tower above all the fleeting pastimes and bucket lists of the normies would suddenly shift to yet another inaccessible place.

    People who genuinely inhabit interesting or rare positions or have special life experiences still love to share their story with other people. No one lives in a tower because their ideals and life story are too special for anyone else to get. They build walls to keep people away. Of course it's never a good idea to tell someone else why they do something, especially a stranger on the internet, but in my experience with people that do this, it's not because they are special, but rather because they are not, and they like the game of making other people pursue them while they continually shift the field so you can never get to them. It's best not to play. If they get lonely enough, they'll do something about it. Hopefully it's a group activity, therapy, or a dose of humble medicine and going to talk about the weather with strangers at a language exchange meetup.

    • noduerme 2 months ago

      > going to talk about the weather with strangers at a language exchange meetup.

      Or bars and cafes. I'm an absolute hound of places where people loosen up and start talking. Social circles don't have to be planned and managed through an app. On any given evening I know I can go somewhere to talk about politics, or about family, or about local happenings, and I'll know 80% of the people there and meet 20% new ones. There's absolutely no guarantee of having a unique high level conversation, but those do happen and inch by inch that's how we get to know each other, agree and disagree, and move forward in this huge experiment called life. The utter oversimplification of the occasionally stupid aspects of human interaction into something that someone cannot engage with is something I don't accept. A hundred or more years ago it would be the recipe for "Notes from Underground" or "The Stranger" - a capacious look at what happens to man if he retreats from society into his own brain, builds his own ideas on nothing. I'm a fan of man vs. society. I'd never want to tell anyone to be a member of society. But there's a new, special kind of alienation that comes along with all this message board posting. It's getting to hate your own kind before you really know them. It's what causes castout kids to pick up assault rifles and disregard human life. It's too easy; it's a lazy kind of hate. So yeah the kid's on the floor and spewing nonsense. It's our job, more or less, to pick him up and dust him off. It's hard to ignore because it's a real societal problem.

    • FollowingTheDao 2 months ago

      > Being disinterested in 99.9% of what other people care about isn't special or interesting.

      The fact that you think this tells me that you cannot meet me where I am.

      > People who genuinely inhabit interesting or rare positions or have special life experiences still love to share their story with other people.

      Appeal to purity.

      >It's best not to play. If they get lonely enough, they'll do something about it.

      Yes, it has led to at least one of my attempted suicides.

      • noduerme 2 months ago

        Come on. You can disdain everyone and everything, and claim that people are incapable of having a serious conversation, and where does that get you? To a world where you believe no one is as smart as you and no one can possibly relate to what you're going through? Have you stopped to consider that all the human beings on this board, and even those around you on the street, have inner lives and complicated thoughts and sometimes when they talk "surface level" they're just trying to establish communication so they might be able to talk more seriously once they get to know you?

        People are a jewel box. You find the good in them among the garbage, and almost every person has something you can absorb from them, even the negative ones. This is called being a member of your species. Like it or not, you are one. Look around and instead of feeling superior, appreciate the fact that every other human here has trodden upon the same lonely paths that you have.

        • FollowingTheDao 2 months ago

          > You can disdain everyone and everything

          I can, but I am not.

          > and claim that people are incapable of having a serious conversation

          It is not about seriousness, it’s about my interests.

          > You find the good in them among the garbage

          I’m not saying what they like to talk about is garbage, I’m just not interested in it. You’re the one making the value judgment. I don’t think that people who talk about football are stupid or disinteresting or lowbrow, I’m just not interested in it.

          > Look around and instead of feeling superior,

          I do not feel superior, I feel inferior. You see, you cannot come to my level. I’m not saying it is higher or lower, maybe just different. Not better, different.

          • noduerme 2 months ago

            > I don’t think that people who talk about football are stupid

            Hah. I actually do think they are, and I've had four years of not talking to my brother because he feels insulted by my opinion of his sports obsession.

            There's nothing wrong with value judgments.

            I don't know what your interests are, because you haven't expressed them. You've only expressed disinterest. Surely, if you have interests, there are other people with more knowledge in the area than you have, who you could learn something from. You can't possibly be the most knowledgeable person in everything you're interested in.

            Nor is anyone with your same interests likely to be a saint, or even worth spending time with in other capacities; but you may find you have something more in common with them than just your mutual interest if you care to look.

            > I do not feel superior, I feel inferior.

            You're not inferior. You might be self-loathing. That's ok. Everyone worth anything has been at one point. The only people not worth shit are the ones who never felt inferior.

            • FollowingTheDao 2 months ago

              First, I’m 55 years old. Stop acting like I haven’t seen shit. I could’ve better worded it to say that it makes me feel inferior. I don’t believe I’m inferior and it doesn’t cause depression. The loneliness is what causes depression.

              And I’m not about to express my interest to sun stranger on the Internet that I don’t have a biological or physical connection with. That’s not the connection I’m looking for.

              And the fact that you think people who talk about football are stupid Is depressing. Football, to me, is stupid. But not the people. It’s not a value judgment to say you don’t like football it’s a value judgment to say people who like football are stupid.

              • EUV071STR48 2 months ago

                Interesting comment exchange, both of you.

                The tone of your conversation seems almost enraged to me. That's why I want to get in quick. Because I don't quite understand why your positions didn't lead to a more light-hearted approach to the world.

                I'm in my 20s and feel a disconnect to (some, most, ?) people as well. I accepted that and called it a day. I encounter other fellow human beings as possibilities without expecting anything. I'm on a walk through life, mostly observe and act only if I want (or have) to. I'm quiet.

                > And I’m not about to express my interest to sun stranger on the Internet that I don’t have a biological or physical connection with. That’s not the connection I’m looking for.

                Can you elaborate why you accepted this argument then? I often wonder about this when internet stuff gets heated. I'm no stranger to this. For me it sometimes is a valve for something and that shows me I'm far from completed. It makes my a little more humble.

                > First, I’m 55 years old.

                I have respect for older people and what they have to say, but I also know my dad. By age (and your assumption), he has seen more than you, but... yeah. I came to the conclusion, it's not the quantity of what you've seen, but what you took from it. You surely have thought about that before, but then I wonder why you had to mention it

                • FollowingTheDao 2 months ago

                  It’s easier not to be enraged when you’re 20. It’s also easy to not be enraged if you’re not homeless living with a mental illness and treated like garbage every day. You know, it’s quite a natural reaction. Like a bear protecting its cubs. The moment you are suffering to such an extent and people ignore you and treat you like garbage and tell you what your experience actually is, you’ll understand why people get enraged.

                  There is a myth about the noble suffering saint. That people who are suffering are supposed to just be quiet and gentle and not mention it and not disturb everyone else’s non-suffering life. But you know what? That’s bullshit. Do you know Jesus kicked over the bankers tables in the temple? No one asked him why he was angry.

                  So you’re saying what I’m supposed to take from this experience that I have had, which I’m sure is nothing like your father’s, is when this person comes along and tells me that I think I’m better than them when I’m homeless with a mental illness I can’t help but to be extremely frustrated. And I hope my anger communicates more than only my words can get across.

                  And on top of trying to cure my mental illness by learning genetics and nutritional biology, I’m also supposed to kowtow to everyone that doesn’t take a moment to understand my situation.

                  You see in this positivity movement people see anger at something negative, but it’s not negative or positive, it’s just a way to communicate More than what words can carry. I know you don’t like to hear angry people, no one likes to hear angry people. But how do you make angry people not angry? By telling them to be more humble? Or do you do it by trying to understand their anger?

                  I worked as a cashier and a grocery store for quite a few years. You meet a lot of angry people coming through the lines. Would it help them if I told them they shouldn’t be angry and they should be more humble? No, what helped was asking them how they were doing and what was going on. If there was any way I could help them. But you see no one else helping me. I’m saying this again because it’s important. I’m homeless living with a mental illness. And someone comes along and says my neurological divergence is something that I think is special and that I’m holding it over their heads like I’m some sort of special person.

                  And I didn’t accept the argument, I responded to a comment. That’s how discussion works. I know a lot of people when confronted with negative emotions like to hide from them. “If you can’t say anything nice don’t say anything at all.“ But what I found out what happens when you do that is people step over you while you’re laying in the street.

                  I do appreciate you asking this question, but I have some advice for you. You’re living by quotations and that’s no way to live. Like “it’s not the quantity of what you’ve seen but what you took from it”. If you think about that for a moment it makes no sense because I’m expressing to you what I took from my experience but there is a rejection of it. For some reason you have the assumption that the end result is i should not show any negative emotion. I’ve been there. I was a Buddhist before I was a Taoist. Believe me, I’m much happier and healthier being a Taoist.

                  Here’s a tip: People who don’t want you to show negative emotions are people who want to control you. It’s gaslighting. We are nit Vulcans.

                  But I don’t want you to assume for a moment that I hate This person I was having a conversation with. Being angry with someone doesn’t mean you hate them, being angry with someone means you love them enough to show them your true emotions and trust that they can handle them. And that’s a free tip for a happy marriage.

                  • FollowingTheDao 2 months ago

                    Ha, see what I mean? I can write my heart out in an effort of conversation and and no response! No even a downvote!

                    What the fck has your technologies done for the world? NOTHING! It is all just a way to get people addicted to something new so you can make money.

                    • unkeen 2 months ago

                      But countless people have read what you wrote. Isn't that something?

                      • FollowingTheDao 2 months ago

                        No idea if it was one or a million. So no.

                        • unkeen 2 months ago

                          Is there any way I can help you, then?

                    • EUV071STR48 2 months ago

                      Sorry for not replying sooner, but I haven't been online here and simply didn't see it.

                      Thanks for the long reply, it was a interesting read. I wish you really well.

                      You mentioned homelessness and mental inllnes several times and I can imagine a situation (I don't know if its acurate though) in which I can understand you. The breaking point for me would be, if I can no longer pull myself out of a misery on my own - without help in sight. That must be very frustrating.

                      Being angry is not bad or anything. It's okay to be angry. It's okay to be and feel (almost) anything. I don't have a problem with that in general. For me personally, I try to stay away from it, because nothing comes out of it. I'm not resposible and if something turns out a way, then it turned out that way. I can't change that - it already happend. I can (if I am in a situation that enables me to) still change how things are going forward. But 'anger' is a bad companion for that.

                      My fortune is, that I still have parents where I can occupy a room in the basement. Constant (several years long) failure and mental illness are no strangers to me as well. But I came to the conclusion that it does not matter the slightest what other people think about me or how they life their lifes. It does not take away anything from me and I have to accept that. I'm curious, but I stopped comparing (for example). What I can understand though, is, that I am in a lucky spot to have a working support system. If that breaks apart, I don't know if I would go sour and cynical.

                      To make one point clear, I don't really have a stance here, I'm just interested. I didn't meant to attack you, if you fell like this was the case.

                      About: “it’s not the quantity of what you’ve seen but what you took from it” - I know this was a cheesy thing to say, but it was a interesting realisation for me to have in the past. I was raised christian and had rose tinted glasses on for the most of my life. When I 'woke up', it really buffled me how different people actually are and that there is so much more nuace to everything. And most imporantly, there are people (in your age, eg. my parents and friends) who keep their glasses on their whole life and don't even know it. They're missing out big time. After seeing that, age is no longer a 'trump card' for me. Nevertheless I try to (hopefully successful) respect the old. But I don't accept a "I'm old, my argument is based on my rich experiences" any longer. (This is not a critique to a religion, but what people in my environment made from it.)

                      See, I can 'write my heart out' (a little) and go in ramble mode as well.

                      I hope you have an above-average day today, FollowingTheDao. I wish you very well :)

            • mlyle 2 months ago

              > > I don’t think that people who talk about football are stupid

              > Hah. I actually do think they are

              I'm not super interested in sports. But I think there's not much value in snap judgments that discount people because they happen to like one non-harmful thing.

              If sports are your number one interest, you're not likely to end up my best friend. But, otherwise...

              Even being mostly disinterested in sports-- my friends and connections that feel differently bring me little treasures of interest from their domain. Perspectives. Work ethic. Improbable things that have happened. Subcultures of fans and their views. Statistical analysis. Adversarial thinking in sport. Coaching. Analogies that many people understand because of their understanding of the story in sports. Etc.

              This is the benefit of having connections to people who like different things and have different perspectives. You can count on them to curate the "best" of their interests to share with and explain to you.

              • noduerme 2 months ago

                > Perspectives. Work ethic. Improbable things that have happened. Subcultures of fans and their views. Statistical analysis. Adversarial thinking in sport. Coaching.

                These are all great aspects of sports and life. I wasn't trying to say I don't appreciate them. I probably ended up sounding like an anti-sport zealot. I'm not. I went to a minor league baseball game the same night I wrote this comment. My beef with my brother stems from my issues with the NFL in particular, pro sports and the militarization thereof in general, and also the unhealthy obsession with basing your identity on things like the record of the team you root for. There are lots of positive values that can be inculcated and obtained from sports, in a pure game. But I have an allergic reaction to the way celebrity pro sports is used in America as an adjunct to military recruitment, not to mention suppression and indoctrination of the working class. And I really have a problem with how spectatorship is used as a placebo for having an actual hobby or home grown set of interests.

  • koboll 2 months ago

    That line revealed to me, as someone who has dealt with similar things, that his real problem now is depression. It's not just sadness, it's an inability to perceive a future where things get better, or even a future at all.

    Sadly this mentality tends to make it more difficult to do the things you need to dig yourself out of a depressive episode. It's self-reinforcing.

  • FollowingTheDao 2 months ago

    > This seems to preemptively foreclose interest in any kind of initial conversation or meeting anyone where they are.

    Everyone wants us to meet people where they are, yet no one wants to meet people where we are.

    You see, if you do not understand what we are going through, you can not meet us where we are. It is hard, maybe impossible, for you to meet us where we are, harder than it is for us to meet you where you are.

    I would no doubt be able to talk with this man and we would know where we both are.

    I volunteer, but that does not do anything. Yeah, it helps others, but it does not help others meet me where I am.

    It is like you are telling Aurê that he has to meet everyone where they are.

    (If you think I am being condescending writing this then that proves you cannot meet where I am.)

    • noduerme 2 months ago

      I don't think it's condescending, I just think if you find yourself in a situation where you actually need to work with other people, it becomes impossible to view them as one-dimensional checklists. Maybe they don't like you or you don't like them, but you can no longer simplify each other so easily. And maybe in the end you think that wasn't worth it, but you still take something from the interaction.

      For the record, I'm not telling you what to do or how you should feel about people. I've spent so many years in roles facing groups of people that, at times I love them and at other times I want to kill them. That's just how it goes. Hell is other people, said Sartre. Of course he also meant that being abandoned by them is hell, too.

      I'm not trying to be opaque here. I'll say what I meant more plainly: If you have any humility or self-awareness, you will realize that nothing, absolutely nothing you are experiencing has not been experienced before. You are entirely unique, but your reactions to the world are not, and there's a great deal to be learned about how to be okay in the world which other people will be happy to show you if you don't deny your commonality with them.

      • FollowingTheDao 2 months ago

        > you find yourself in a situation where you actually need to work with other people,

        How can I get this across to you. I work with people all the time. What I am saying is that they do not work with me. There is nothing I can do to change that and it is lonely. When I talk about the things I want to talk about after listening to them for hours I get strange looks and they change the conversation.

        This does not happen with everyone, but it happens with the majority of people I meet. How does someone who sees the ultra violet spectrum of light share that experience to someone who does not?

        For a white European I know I am neurologically genetically different than most. (Yes, I know my genetics). This has caused me to express a bipolar schizoaffective phenotype every know and them, but ordinarily it makes me different.

        So even coming here of Hacker News, most every thing I say gets downvoted before people even ask me why I think the way I do. But you know, it is so easy to get up votes here, just submit a post about ADHD. ;) So like I said, I can meet people where they are, but I do no think people want to try to meet me where I am since they can just quickly find someone else like them in the world.

darkerside 2 months ago

I have been down this path before. The author might benefit from a healthy dose of Stoicism. Yes, everything is imploding. It always has and it always will be. Yes, nobody truly understands you, and we're all putting on a show to make it through the day. That doesn't mean there isn't something real that has value in this facade of a fleeting existence.

You can shut the world out if you like, but it is your choice. You can engage with it in all its horrid imperfection, and it will engage you back. Not on your terms but on its own.

  • Xeoncross 2 months ago

    > You can engage with it ... and it will engage you back. Not on your terms but on its own.

    So true, instead of trying to survive like most of humanity has done in the past, we've reached a point where, in our comfort, we now expect much more from the world. We expect relatable movie plots, novel twists, Disney endings, and the ability to push 'reset' on bad outcomes.

    Why is the world so messed up when everything looks so good on Instagram?

    • ungamedplayer 2 months ago

      Are you kidding, those modelling poses look ridiculous!

      • noduerme 2 months ago

        Someone is going to probably ban me for saying this out loud, but when artificial duck lips started appearing on living human women was about when I knew this had all gone too far. Like, who's going to love you after you surgically alter yourself to look like your Instagram profile?

        • worthless-trash 2 months ago

          Who knows mate, I guess its all short term thinking or maybe popularity is more of a sexual attraction factor nowadays.

edjroot 2 months ago

To the author (and to the poster!): Thank you. I couldn't have found this at a better time. I'm right now (privately) writing about things of a very similar nature and this has made me indescribably inspired and grateful. I know a lot of depressed people feel the same, but I have to repeat the cliché that it's as if he's writing about my life.

> That's why I love writing- it feels like I'm talking to someone who gets me.

Beautifully said. I keep ignoring this lesson for long stretches of time until my mind is in such a messy state that I sort of instinctively can't do anything else but write and write and write, which I've been doing for a few days now, nonstop, after months (years?) of self-neglect. The contents are usually very similar, repetitive, self-deprecating and apparently unproductive, but more often than not I come out of it reinvigorated and more hopeful about the future, and sometimes with slightly less messy thoughts as a bonus.

I've wanted to start a blog since I was a teenager and be as open about my thoughts and feelings as the author of this post is, but I still haven't gotten over the fear of judgment about letting my existence, let alone my boring, dumb, coward, pathetically self-loathing self, be available to an unboundedly large audience of complete and potentially hostile strangers. The voices in my head are right now telling me: “Almost no one cares about what you have to say. Of those who do, many will care only to the extent that they can use it to ridicule you, or worse; and, if people like that ever find you, it's all over.”

I guess this comment is, if anything, a gesture of appreciation for this person's courage to be vulnerable. But it's also a painful challenge against these voices.

They're now begging me not to post this comment, or to delete it as soon as possible. They're screaming, telling me I know I will regret posting this.

But I won't be listening to them today.

satisfice 2 months ago

Why are all you people talking about this?

A man puts an anonymous blog out there with no way to be contacted. He wants to talk AT us. He doesn't want communication.

I came here curious about what people could possibly be commenting on. It's like you are all peering into a petri dish. This is a man's life. He's probably very depressed. The whole situation is just sad.

  • 9530jh9054ven 2 months ago

    It's on the top of the HN page for whatever reason, and seems to have resonated with some here, and given others just something semi interesting to talk about. Certainly seems to have gotten you talking about it, even if it's to try and understand why others are.

  • tasuki 2 months ago

    I found it well written and easy to read. Was a little disappointed there didn't seem to be any conclusion or lesson "I'll try to get out more and talk to people". Perhaps the lack of a lesson was the main lesson.

  • simonebrunozzi 2 months ago

    > with no way to be contacted

    I found this strange. I would have probably left an email somewhere (perhaps an ad-hoc one, not my usual one), just in case someone wanted to reach out. I would then decide whether to ignore the messages or not.

ericabiz 2 months ago

If by chance the author reads this, I’d recommend looking into whether he is autistic. This sense of not fitting in, of not enjoying small talk, and of feeling like an “alien” or very different than most others is common in the autistic community. If diagnosed, or even if he volunteers/makes an effort to meet other autistic folks, he may find some common ground he hasn’t found in the neurotypical world. I wish him the best.

  • arrow7000 2 months ago

    I'd second this and also recommend looking into if he has ADHD. I've just gotten diagnosed and it explains huge amounts about myself, including why I've found it so hard to bond with people and even to find the motivation to go out and meet people.

  • onos 2 months ago

    Is it the case that autistic people often relate to one another better than they can with the non-autistic?

    • guerrilla 2 months ago

      My experience is both yes and no. Some people are so incapable of connecting with other people that it's even worse than a normal person because you have to both drive everything and compensate for everything (which you may for some reason know more about.) When you do meet people functioning as well or better than you though, then yes, of course you quickly identify common ground and can bond on that. It doesn't mean you'll necessarily get along in the long run though.

      • tcrisco 2 months ago

        Yeah this is pretty much me. After being diagnosed every social falling out for my entire life in education made sense, but it depressed me because I was essentially a pig in a cage with no appropriate strategy of coping. But even after that I kept being awkward and made too many mistakes with too many people I thought were my friends, and it just got to the point where I closed my applications for friendship for the near (?) future.

        Now I only have the heart to treat the social goings-out like a hobby such as video games. I can't stand huge swathes of traditional video games except adventure ones; they frustrate me and send me to sleep irritated, and I don't want to drag myself back to them again for no real benefit day after day. I keep thinking that why should trying to make friends in a world not meant for me be any different? I'm generally happier now than when I hit my lowest lows from rejection by people that I thought I got along with for years until it was all over in the span of a few hours.

        I firmly believe my only hope to find companionship is through the identification of mutual suffering in another autistic or schizoid individual, but that does not seem likely with how invisible I am on the internet and in public. Read all the posts about how communication online destroys everything and everyone, etc. (HN is not immune to this either.)

        By the way: something that I've rarely seen people discuss is that this pathological inability to be interested in people extends to therapists as well. Therapists are people, too. I feel truly satisfied in life by telling my therapist over and over again how this companionship hobby never works out instead of trying to get better. I even explained this exact positive association to her face in the hopes that she would catch on. Her response: she couldn't help me, because she "was only human". I guess that means I require a superhuman to get through to me. In fact, by then I had already suspected as much. That was the moment I lost all hope in the profession.

        From now on I'm more likely to think that someone that recommends me to go back into therapy after 11 years of failed attempts is some kind of delusional. I think I am just an incomprehensible person, genetically or otherwise. The therapeutic outcomes for psychopathy are widely pessimistic; why wouldn't the same apply to someone like me?

mensetmanusman 2 months ago

Community is showing up.

Find anywhere and go there once a week at the same time.

  • vlunkr 2 months ago

    This took me too long to learn. We're told over and over to "be yourself," but sometimes you have to make an effort to be like everyone else. I see in the author and in myself sometimes a weird sense of pride in having unusual opinions and tastes. This isn't going to win you any friends or impress anyone. If you're just waiting for someone to show up that shares all your thoughts, then you're going to continue to be alone.

    • ip26 2 months ago

      As I like to think of it, “being yourself” and “becoming a friendlier more approachable version of yourself” are not incompatible.

    • ncmncm 2 months ago

      Most people trying to make sense of the instruction don't know themselves well enough to be that authentic self, particularly those perceived as unpleasant. They almost always turn out to be aping somebody they knew, read about, or saw in a movie, and never questioned whether there was a better way for themself.

      The best ways to your authentic self are to make things and help other people. The worse off they are, the bigger the difference you can make.

  • allenu 2 months ago

    This is so true. Friendship and connection really does take work, and a lot of it is just being visible so people become comfortable with you and you with them. A community where you're actively doing something together is helpful as well since it takes away the pressure of the "goal" of making friends.

    I remember years ago wanting to increase my friendship network, so I started going to meetups to meet people. Specifically, a few were meetups for people to meet other people to make new friends. What I found was it felt so much like dating. The events themselves were secondary and to me I felt out of place, like I was trying to impress other people or else sussing out other people to see if they were friendship material.

    A few years later I took up swing dancing and started going regularly to classes and eventually (it took a while) I started going to weekly social dances. With swing dancing, I wasn't there to make friends necessarily. I enjoyed the dancing aspect. After a while, I realized I did make friends and felt part of a community. I recognized other regulars and felt like I belonged. It took a lot of work to get there, but a lot of it didn't feel like work because I found an activity I wanted to do each week.

  • Simon_O_Rourke 2 months ago

    Never a truer word said - get out and (initially) get uncomfortable. It's like money in the bank, it'll save up some nice social kudos eventually.

  • Taylor_OD 2 months ago

    100%. I thought I was good at making friends becuase I always had a friend group I could do stuff with. Turns out I just had a hobby that forced me to show up at the same place 1-2 times a week with the same group of people. I continued that hobby in every new city I moved to and easily "made friends" there.

    It's kind of silly but honestly a lot of friendships are just the people one sees most often.

    • overeater 2 months ago

      What was that hobby?

      • Taylor_OD 2 months ago

        Improv for many years. Recently its been MMA.

  • ribs 2 months ago

    Hells yeah. Show up. People will eventually start expecting you. Then inviting you to things.

    Then you’ll make plans. To do things together. And when the time to meet up approaches, sometimes you’ll feel like you don’t want to go. And that’s when you say to yourself “oh, you don’t feel much like going. How interesting. Now get off your ass and go do what you said you were going to do.”

DoreenMichele 2 months ago

I cannot take seriously all these fleeting pastimes and bucket lists and ultra-specific cultural critiques when the world is a horrible place that is going to implode soon if we don't do something about it.

At one time, we bonded with a short list of people physically close to us because that's all we had. We were forced to do so.

Now we can to some degree "choose our tribe" by going online and talking with people with similar interests rather than whomever happenstance tossed us in with. These are people who may "get" us better than siblings, parents, cousins, neighbors and coworkers would.

Or they may not.

So that's likely part of the issue for the author and many others.

But the other thing is the pull quote, above. Climate change. Eight billion humans. Etc.

It seems too big and too nebulous a problem for anyone to solve. It seems like an apocalypse.

But historically lots of people experienced local apocalypse. War came and wiped out their tribe or village or caused famine for the region and widespread illness. However, a lot of those stories died with their victims, never got recorded and passed on.

We have more knowledge of suffering, more ability to broadcast our stories no matter how much of a nobody we are, more awareness of a larger context that seems like too big a problem for anyone to solve.

If you are at all upbeat, people act like you are in denial. They can't believe a rational person can know what they know and feel like "It's the end of the world as we know it...and I feel fine."

It ends up being a self-reinforcing loop where you don't let in other perspectives.

rendall 2 months ago

> My social life dissolved over a period of years in my late thirties...

This is extremely common, and if you are a middle aged man or approaching middle age, it is probably happening to you.

If you are a middle-aged man, or even late 20s, it is essential that you make and maintain new friendships. It will seem awkward, but make that effort.

Isolated elderly men is a worldwide social problem [1], which can lead to poor health in the afflicted individuals [2]. It happens because middle-aged men stop making friends like they did in their youth.

[1]https://www.independentage.org/news-media/press-releases/iso...

[2]https://www.nia.nih.gov/news/social-isolation-loneliness-old...

  • FollowingTheDao 2 months ago

    When I was living in Italy in the late 80s and one thing I noticed was that the elderly were seamlessly sew into society. I was talking to a middle aged woman about this and she said it was because they know people are more important than money.

randomuncle 2 months ago

I've been in very similar, if not identical states. Often times it's because I've abandoned myself and am living out my parents desires/thoughts/neglect/brushings-aside.

Over time I've come to accept that accepting my parents, friends, reality, as they are is not the same as condoning it. In fact I can't condone or disavow anything I haven't first acknowledged. Beginning with myself.

I can accept myself without condoning my actions. I can extend that same acceptance to others. And I can do what I need to find my own voice.

Comment above mentioned community and showing up. Al-Anon was invaluable on my own path to serenity. I wish I could say more, I've probably already said too much. Forgive me friend.

The pain often feels like it will never end, but in time, with help and support you will learn to deal with your problems and the pain will subside.

Try to be gentle with yourself in the meantime.

jayceedenton 2 months ago

Sorry, the last two paragraphs got to me. You need to lighten up, and start trying to understand your fellow man. Small talk is never just small talk. It's a way of starting to understand another human being in some small way. It's just the beginning.

You've adopted 'not seeing others' as a personality trait. It isn't, and there are no prizes for living a profound, lonely life, hoping to understand something deep about your own soul. Grow up.

Just try taking a genuine interest in someone other than yourself. You don't even need to agree with them, just respect them as beings with as much depth as you and enjoy the hunt for common ground. You may never find it with some, but occasionally you will. And god you will learn more every time.

You don't have unlimited time to fix this. You will realise at some point in your old age feeling like a special and deep thinker is not worth dying alone for.

This reads like a 21st century Holden Caulfield. Sorry that's a low blow, but it comes from a place of compassion. I think some tough love is in order and you need to hear it.

  • abraae 2 months ago

    That's a little harsh.

    A common misunderstanding about introverts is that they don't much enjoy talking with others. For many, it's rather that they are seeking meaningful communication, not vacuous chitchat about the weather or the Kardashians. That's what the author is expressing I think.

    At the same time there are plenty of people who can chitchat about drivel for hours, and will actively stop any conversation at a deeper level. For introverts, these are exhausting interactions. Some small talk really is small talk, and it's not realistic to expect others to just exhaust their energy in trying to move those conversations to a deeper plane.

    • EUV071STR48 2 months ago

      What's the solution if it's actually like you assumed?

      As extensively covered, chitchat is only the start. If you want deep, meaningful communication, you have to start somewhere.

      I'm not discussion about whether that's difficult for someone, but what you describe does not come from thin air. So what's the solution and if there isn't any, what's the most doable approach then?

    • ncmncm 2 months ago

      There is a reason it is called a "conversation". You are not blown hither and yon by the winds of fate. You can steer. Some people won't go where you want to, but there are a lot of people. They might, too, bring you along to somewhere you didn't know you needed to be.

Xeoncross 2 months ago

The interesting thing about life is that you get to choose what you love. That is, what you spend your time and energy on is what you end up loving. Please don't misunderstand me, there is more to it than that. However, there is an attachment that forms when you "invest" in something. You're now substantially more interested in that thing.

Love is the process of sacrificing for something. Spending your time, money, or emotions on one thing instead of everything else. It's a cycle that feeds itself.

The less time you spend with people, the less you love people. The more time you spend on your project, the more you love your projects.

You nailed it at the end. You and me "just needed to love" people more. Lets start by spending more time and energy on them.

HL33tibCe7 2 months ago

I’d strongly recommend discussing your feelings with a therapist

Edit: to expand on this, yes, you identify some real problems with the modern world. But no, you don’t have to live like this. And a therapist may be able to help.

  • xisthesqrtof9 2 months ago

    Yes, asap. This person is going through some stuff that a therapist can help with. Its not something to just accept and move on. Although that's kind of the vibe I am getting from some of the comments here.

MerelyMortal 2 months ago

A (The?) documentary about Aurê and Aurá:

https://youtube.com/watch?v=kGuxaY8HPjs

  • lvass 2 months ago

    Understanding one of the languages used here, and seeing the included subtitles, I'd take no part of this documentary true, the subtitles are just absurd. What an absolute shame, for something so interesting, I don't even understand how something like this happens.

    • guerrilla 2 months ago

      Oh wow, that's incredibly far off... They must be summarizing longer conversations, right????

    • aaaaaaaaaaab 2 months ago

      Could you go into some detail?

      • lvass 2 months ago

        The majority of subtitles are just not what's being said at all, for no reason I could discern. It's not like what's being said is strongly at odds with the documentary, it feels like the person writing the subtitles was mostly guessing what's being said. A lot of things are really off too, they avoided the obvious questions about trying to understand the language, and also made the government look unreasonably effective in a way no brazilian would consider remotely likely to happen.

  • silisili 2 months ago

    Pretty crummy IMO to compare himself to that poor man. He literally cannot communicate with anyone in the world, but wants to. He's constantly telling stories nobody can understand. That has to be some kind of nightmare impossible to comprehend.

    The author just chooses not to talk to people. Not the same thing at all.

    • drakonka 2 months ago

      I also think I'm missing something in this piece. Loneliness and lack of social connection can be crippling and it's a very serious problem. But I'm not sure I understand why the author thinks they're unique in their circumstances, or goes to the point of comparing themselves to a person whose people were murdered, who was then captured and forced to live elsewhere, who is physically unable to verbally communicate with anyone.

      I guess I just can't figure out why he thinks he's the only man in the world going through this (well, him and Aurá) and feel like I missed something in the post. Depression and loneliness are huge, increasingly recognized issues in our society that many people go through. This does not diminish the seriousness of his situation.

    • guerrilla 2 months ago

      This is very judgemental. Casper is saying that he literally cannot communicate with anyone in the world (but for a different reason), but wants to.

      > The author just chooses not to talk to people.

      The post says the opposite: "the difficulties I currently have in functioning."

      • silisili 2 months ago

        Here's the cached version, from another comment - https://web.archive.org/web/20220624083118/https://casperclo...

        I didn't pick up on what you're referring to. I mainly got 'im tired of people' vibes from it. And there's nothing wrong with that...I just don't feel it compares to the man in the documentary.

        • guerrilla 2 months ago

          Thank you! I edited my post. The part I meant was in reference to " the difficulties I currently have in functioning." It made me think he's probably in a disability situation, possibly psychiatric. And then what he's saying in general is he doesn't fit in anywhere, which I can relate to. Other people noted this may be because he's autistic, and I tend to agree, as I am. That doesn't necessarily have to be true though, sometimes people never find their tribe or their person... the world is huge and the Internet seems to just be funneling people into per-existing battlefields rather than trying to hook people up with other cool people.

  • severak_cz 2 months ago

    thanks for the link. I watched this documentary and it's super interesting although very sad.

ChrisMarshallNY 2 months ago

I wish this chap well. I can relate (but that would mean nothing, to him).

I have spent my entire adult life, in a unique community, composed of many thousands of "loners."

Given my druthers, I'd be a perfect hermit. I have been forced to be a participating member of society, and that has served me well.

It don't come natural to me, though. I have to make a conscious effort to run in the Human Race.

shahar2k 2 months ago

when I was 11 (1992) my family moved to the US (kansas) I barely spoke the language, spent 2 years in kansas, had to build a whole new friendgroup but kept in touch with friends back home through the just beginning internet (israel) I dont remember if it was hard to make friends, I do remember some people being complete shits to the foreign kid but oh well.. made some friends, graduated middle school...

when I was 13 we moved to Los angeles, I didnt know anyone, in a fairly small school, had to make all new friends, learn to socialize again, still kept in touch with israeli long term friends (we visited once a year at least), but no one from kansas. Slowly gathering friends here. then right at the end of highschool I realized a lot of people were just circumstantial friends. Social awkwardness caught up with me, folks I thought liked me were just there because of proximity.

Didnt know the college system well enough so went into a local community college, made some interesting friends, kept a couple from highschool kept in touch kept doing things together but mostly slowly rebuilt my "group" eventually figured out I love animation and art, applied to a real art school, and lost touch with all my community college friends..

in college again I built a group, small, I would socialize get close to, but eventually graduated, and lost touch, by graduation I had 2-3 close people but between pickiness and awkwardness I lost mostly everyone again.

as a graduate again worked hard, used okcupid, used meetup made a nice group of friends! ... 3-4 years later people grow apart until a big event happens and everyone breaks off on their own...

working a real job now and this cycle has repeated... maybe 2-3 more times making, keeping friends is a part time job, organize social events check in on people, assume there's always going to be a turnover, I still have friends I knew when I was 5 years old but we talk... rarely (though comfortably when I visit israel) and you simply cant stop life from eroding at that.

to not be alone, at least in the current world, I feel like I have to constantly make NEW friends, find new activities put myself out there, I've met people through dating apps, roomate situations, second hand connections, love interests, I'm NOT the most socially capable person but I keep hitting my head against that lonliness wall and at this point there's a nice deep dent in it to remind me it's not futile.

  • SoftTalker 2 months ago

    "I realized a lot of people were just circumstantial friends."

    It's not a lot, it's nearly all. Friendships with people you see often develop without a lot of effort; it's very difficult to maintain a friendship with someone you don't have physical interactions with. In my own life, it has never happened. Absolutely zero friendships from childhood, school, college, past jobs, etc. lasted after the physical proximity ended.

    • shahar2k 2 months ago

      that's the thing though, I've managed with a few, I have friends where I can show up at their door and stay for a week and it took WORK either contacting them every week or close to it. finding remote things to do, video chatting, whatever find a way to be present for THEM not just for yourself and even then there's a certain turnover.

      this is something that I had modelled for me by my family though, my parents also have friends from childhood maintain friendships over long distances. I wonder if we hadnt moved so much if we'd be more complacent. A huge part of learning how to do this came about because I was living somewhere I couldnt speak the language.

jrm4 2 months ago

On one hand, I don't NOT want to be empathetic, but this feels like a ridiculous comparison, and I suppose it's my hope that the author understands that at some point, and writes a part two with bit of "Okay, I was being a bit dramatic, though it was how I felt."

He has/had freedom to change this in a way that your subjects in the story likely did not.

parasti 2 months ago

When I had this outlook on life, I just called it depression. It's really just a crazy hall of mirrors, twisting and distorting every thought you have. I never got out of it by myself. What finally, truly helped me was a relationship and the accompanying sense of responsibility.

mouzogu 2 months ago

I also saw this doc 2 days ago. Google's Algos are weird.

I really enjoyed it, sad and fascinating story. I think like most people we have a need to share our opinions to some degree but as I got older I felt like it's pointless, or maybe sometimes unecessarily harmful so now I prefer to say nothing most of the time - a lot of my friends or colleague interpret this as depression or lack of motivation, maybe it is to some degree or maybe the circle of things I care about is getting smaller and smaller.

bauski 2 months ago

As others have suggested. If you don't put in the effort the world can get really small really quick. Sure some are born into families that facilitate that kind of interaction from a young age but for many of us it's a constant development that will continue forever. If the community you want does not exist you can't just wait for it to find you. You have to be willing to put into creating one just as much as you expect others to. Especially in our current atmosphere.

tcrisco 2 months ago

I'd like to think I'm in a similar position to the author, although that is a huge generalization. But in spite of the similarities, I don't think we'd ever get along if we met in person. I sometimes think that the only people who can empathize with my situation are the same people who won't try to connect further. Everyone else has no clue what I'm on about, and tries to interpret my life with the tools they were given, pressing me to connect with others with elaborate "life is about" platitudes I'm tired of trying to comprehend. It's the nature of the mindset, it's foreign to so many people that don't understand.

I feel the world outside trying to swallow me whole every time I speak up somewhere. If there was a way to know that people were listening to me without the connotations of words such as "like" and the baggage of being obligated to participate in an ensuing conversation, I would take that for what it is and move on. My belief is that that my place in the world, however flawed, and I wish that the fulfillment I get from living that life every day was better understood.

sam_goody 2 months ago

I was reading a political blog the other day, and someone commented that the young generation is selfish and introverted.

Another answered that they are proudly selfish, and do not see what the issue is - everyone should look out for themselves.

It turned into a mighty interesting thread, which made me think... Most of my day is dedicated to a youth group that I volunteer for. I have a connection to people - in life, not via social network - and it does me good. If I was more selfish, I would be less happy.

A society can exist in which everyone is looking out for others instead of themselves. Some will take advantage, game theory and all that. But the way humans are with social dependence, the benefits of such a system outweigh the losses.

So, get out, volunteer to help others. Along the way, you will gain a sense of purpose, you will build connections, and others will actually care about and respect you.

ljsocal 2 months ago

You nailed it at the end. Loving others and doing meaningful things for them is what makes me feel connected and happy.

Shugarl 2 months ago

> Most of the things- and I mean like 99.9%- that people do or talk about, I just have no interest in (or actively disagree with).

Are you me ? Though I found happiness in my isolation. It feels much better than having to fake my way through social interactions 24/7

closedloop129 2 months ago

Is this real? The language feels a bit too poetic for a rant, especially the follow-up: https://caspercloudwalker.bearblog.dev/a-new-study/ . I think the toast button is a great idea - some social interaction without the need to comment or to log into a platform. But why does the follow-up not have the button? Casper is also suspiciously close to this story: [1].

>My ideas, my attitude, my life story, the difficulties I currently have in functioning- all of these things make me too different to fit in anywhere for more than a singular moment.

Many comments suggest to engage more, or to volunteer. That's an option but this misses the open opportunity. We have social networks where you can meet anybody in groups as long as you know the name of your identity and can search for it. How do you find your people if your identity doesn't have a name, at least not to you? We have all the technology to connect people but we don't have something like a taxonomy of mindsets. How could one start a service to connect like-minded minds?

We do however have music which the author is using on his main page [2], referencing an Aphex Twin song. Would it be worthwhile to create a platform that makes it easy to investigate the social profiles of everybody who engages with this song on social media?

>and i never want to stop listening to Polynomial C

Then again, 'being out of the loop' doesn't seem to be that rare of a condition. It even has a name in philosophy [3]. How come there is no known community, kind of like lesswrong.com?

[1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kaspar_Hauser

[2] https://caspercloudwalker.bearblog.dev/

[3] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spectacle_(critical_theory)

animal_spirits 2 months ago

> And maybe someday in the future, I'll come to the conclusion that I had wasted all this time by thinking I was in some way separate from everyone else, when I just needed to love them even more.

Sounds like you already figured out your own solution.

booboofixer 2 months ago

> The world seems to run on endless positive-vibes-only small talk, and I can't do that anymore.

Hear hear. I do this only so people feel like they have the 5 minutes of attention they want from me and then they feel it's okay to leave me alone.

quadcore 2 months ago

Try to put yourself in his place for a second. The world that this man knew is gone. He lives now in some kind of strange afterlife, spending most of his time sitting alone in a hut waiting to die.

Imagine you're living in absolute security and that you can have whatever you want. After some time its fair to say you'd get a little bored, so you'd want to be a bit surprised, to go on a little adventure. After some time, you'd get bored of that little adventure and you'll want a new one, slightly more intense. Continue like that for some times and you'll want to be exactly where you are now.

prohobo 2 months ago

There's a lot going on here, and I'm sure a lot of people have this problem. When I was growing up guys would talk like this in high school, and it was sort of understood that it's normal and they'd grow out of it. Except I don't think anyone ever actually did.

What grew instead was the rate of suicides, chronic loneliness, drug abuse, and homelessness.

All of our social ills have led to a kind of perfect storm of alienation and pacification to the point that people are so crestfallen that they don't even want to try to fix it. They'd rather bury their heads and try to live some semblance of a fulfilling life without dealing with the problem. I actually see this everywhere now and felt it myself in a lot of ways. Everyone just sort of bottles it all up, explodes periodically, then tries to continue doing the same thing.

In the absence of appropriate help and support, what else can anyone really do? It's hard to feel connection with others when you're in a quagmire that no one seems to notice. It boils down to pure alienation.

Someone recently opened my eyes to how we should go about connecting with others: we all seem to be waiting for someone to "get" us, and free us from whatever we think is holding us back. Many people feel themselves to be martyrs for their own cause, like the author of this blog post. They have pride and blame others for the lack of meaningful connection, holding onto their principles that they believe are important for creating said connection. The problem is that "psycho-social" healing, that is: fixing problems we have socially that are hurting us psychologically, and vice-versa, is only possible through social interaction. Some sort of compromise must be made. Psychologists tout the best way to help someone, whether they are shy, traumatized, or lonely, is to be there with them during a moment and be open towards them. In fact, you don't even really need to talk to them. Why do you think people love dogs so much?

As stupid as it may sound, trying to be like a dog around others when you notice that disconnect might be helpful. Perk up your ears and observe, without negative judgment. You don't have to tire yourself out trying to entertain, you don't have to let people cross your boundaries, you don't have to say anything in particular. Your own inadequacies aren't important, except that you need to be able to let go of negative connotations towards the other for that moment (whether you thought of them yourself or absorbed through osmosis).

The worst thing that can happen is that someone accuses you of being a furry enthusiast, or you accidentally find something interesting about someone other than yourself.

"Going your own way" is a sure-fire way to get hit by the brunt of whatever bad thing may be coming. From a purely problem-solving perspective: we know this is a widespread problem. We also know that alienation isn't the normal mode for human life, since we are social animals and built to rely on each other, so that means that unless all 8 billion of us are fundamentally broken and unfixable, we can find whatever is the opposite of alienation.

All other societal problems are downstream from that, in my opinion. People with strong connections and high morale - the will to live - face insurmountable odds and somehow prevail. It's practically a law of human nature.

Trasmatta 2 months ago

I'm similar to this as well. I've suspected that I might fall under the Schizoid Personality Disorder spectrum. But I don't like psychologizing very much.

rufius 2 months ago

I’m not a therapist, but OP sounds depressed (as in clinically). Might be worth talking to a therapist or psych.

I feel for them. I don’t fully understand, but I do feel for them.

Deletionk 2 months ago

I got very nihilistic when I was in my twenties.

There was a yt video were someone said: you can be miserable nihilistic or life your life.

On my nihilistic side it actually doesn't matter what you choose.

But I'm trying to go the other path.

We are all unique and not at all.

But it's your life and it's your only life,might be worth it to make it work for you.

chachan 2 months ago

Move to Costa Rica. You will be welcomed, loved and find live lasting friends here :)

t0bia_s 2 months ago

"Most of the things- and I mean like 99.9%- that people do or talk about, I just have no interest in (or actively disagree with).”

Then you have plenty time to do whatever you have interest into, right?

ccbccccbbcccbb 2 months ago

God bless you Casper, rest 100% assured that you're not unique in your sentiment about the woeful state of modern society.

Righteousness shall stand, my friend.

  • ccbccccbbcccbb 2 months ago

    And no, this does not imply any "conspiracy theory belief, advocating of violence or racism, or following of any dogma" from my side.

ncmncm 2 months ago

I don't get this: Why not volunteer?

No need for low-quality experiences: you give them quality by participating, and so does everybody else along.

ribs 2 months ago

Posted here on HN by the author?

winternett 2 months ago

Social media has destroyed the sense of local communities we once had. It began festering at the beginning of the pandemic when profiteers realized that they had a captive audience. They blistered us with politically divisive trends (lots of things that had no real bearing or impact on us in reality) that made even good friends become distant ideologically.

We all immersed ourselves into trusting these companies that were really rooted in pleasing investors as we saw them break their own rules of ethical content and conduct. They profited massively, and we lost the most. We were in denial back then, and now we're reaching a new stage of acceptance that we're living on a scorched earth. Most of the popular political voices are ideologues made popular by their far flung views, and some are beginning to question their motives, many are still trapped in denial and following them like a football team.

For the sane ones of us, we realize that human connection has been missing a lot, and it's uncertain if it will go back to normal. Covid is also still a very real and constant reminder that we are limited in how we can operate.

The problem is that we rely too much on the Internet and television for our reality now. Rejecting it and investing in communal life, as well as being cynical of everything presented to us by the Internet will help with recovery. Get out and talk to people outside, especially strangers, expect nothing but to have nice conversations with nice people... We're all learning how to speak naturally again, and it's not easy at all. We're lucky to be alive first of all after all we've been through.

Stop supporting cults of personality ON ALL SIDES. No one is worth a cult following, no matter what their reputation is, there is always a counter point that is also right, and we really need to counter the class-ism and social status that the Internet pushes for profit... It really drowns out people who don't have likes and followers, who may have far better ideas, and it creates a very toxic world for all of us. We all really need to return to smaller community life, understanding that being involved in large communities of people and trying to swim only helps people who are celebrities. Communities like HN should be plentiful on a wide variety of topics, and open to read, but not necessarily seeking to grow as big as Facebook. Firewalled/Paywalled closed communities that manipulate what trends are toxic, identify them and avoid them at all costs... They don't help you to grow your mind and subscribers, even when you pay for premium accounts... If you and people like you have never made it to the front page, they've already chosen their spokespeople, it's never organic.

Also, if you're involved in creating social platforms, now's a good time to re-evaluate how your app helps real people to discover each other and to communicate first... Too many ideas start with monetization planning, and completely overlook the main reason that users adopt a platform.

Start random conversations with people in the supermarket, or pick up a new hobby and meet people locally in public places. You'll be surprised how many people are now so much open to talking with strangers and finding new friends just like you are. Do it without expectations, don't be manipulative (like the Internet too often is), be very real... Let them be the one to ask for your number, don't be aggressive.. Life is too short to waste it on a phone or a keyboard in solitude and frustration.

Just a reminder though, dating apps are all still more terrible than not now, and they are often scary money pits, and soul crushingly frustrating... That hasn't changed... Don't give them any more tries (joking, but also not). :P

  • guerrilla 2 months ago

    > t began festering at the beginning of the pandemic when profiteers realized that they had a captive audience. They blistered us with politically divisive trends

    I'm not going to read the rest of your wall-of-text because I happen to know this all started long before the pandemic.

    • winternett 2 months ago

      After browsing the plethora of other rude comments you've embedded throughout this thread, you not really reading my "wall of text" is probably a good thing...

      Also F.T.R., a wound can very well begin before it starts to fester. Good day.

    • UberFly 2 months ago

      You win the overly-hasty brush-off award.

      • guerrilla 2 months ago

        Why would you read an unsound argument?

newaccount2021 2 months ago

people like this would be a lot happier if they just quit internetting.

Internet People is a tribe of doomed 30/40-somethings. Young people like my kids are fine because Internet Things favored by the Internet People seem lame and passe to them. Yes, Twitter is also now for old people. Deranged old people.

You won't miss much when you stop internetting. A few years back you might miss the Next Big Idea or Massive Revolution...those days are gone. Even look at HN; just a bunch of off-topic and perpetually re-posted links.

  • eloisius 2 months ago

    This is both a flippant hot take and, and weirdly rings true to me. The wifi password was the bottom of Maslows pyramid for me throughout my teens and twenties. It's easy to think that there's the world of stuff and interests, and there's the online watering hole or community for it. There's a reddit for anything you want to be be into. But it's an illusion. The internet is mostly a tribe of outdated millennials, the same stale communities and re-posted ideas.