Sometimes I don’t really know how to be human. I guess I fake it somewhat okay; no one seems to suspect me yet, at least not that they’ve said to my face. But it’s kind of like someone ripped out the social interactions section of my manual before they shoved me off into the world.
Back when we played WoW, I would ride around places like Dalaran, or whatever city was in vogue at the time, showing Trav my closest friends: strangers that I’d never had any contact with ever but that I’d seen in town on more than one occasion. These weren’t people I’d grouped with or even spoken to. They weren’t guildies or even friends of friends. They were barely more than NPCs.
And I would actually get excited to see them.
I no longer play WoW, but now I have Twitter and a blog. Sometimes people even respond to me when I say things through those mediums. And then I fret over what I should say in response. I fret for hours sometimes. Then I fret over how long it’s been and wonder if it’s too late to respond at all. I draft and re-draft even simple thoughts. I have to read them to Trav to verify that they’re good enough before they can be officially submitted to the world of the Internet.
And then I bombard him with questions about the overall competence and accuracy of my words. I mean, what if I said something that was wrong? Jeez, I actually got a little panicked just considering that scenario while I wrote this. And it was a fictitious scenario! There was nothing to even be wrong about.
The only person I know how to communicate with is Trav, and we’ve developed a virtual hive mind, so it’s not that great of an accomplishment. Still though, even after ten years with him, I preface my thoughts with disclaimers. If I am careful enough, maybe I won’t be judged or chastised. This is something I consciously know that he would never do to me, but sometimes that subconscious just gets in the way.
Even conversations with family are stilted; they don’t flow. I laugh in response to pretty much anything said. Oh, someone died? Nervous laughter. You’re totally excited about your new cat? More nervous laughter. I never realize quickly enough when it’s my turn to speak, and I never have anything to add to the conversation. How could I when I rarely leave the house and no one I know in real life cares about gaming?
My only real life friends are the ones I made in middle or high school — the ones that live, at minimum, over an hour away, thought most live across the country now. And, to clarify, by friends I mean “I stalk them on Facebook.”
I don’t know how to make friends or even to talk to people. It’s hard to overcome the uncomfortableness of interaction with the want for friends.
It would be neat to have a group of bloggy buddies like all the Cool Kids on Twitter seem to have, but I don’t know how to extend myself that far. I suppose it also doesn’t help that I’m not exactly blogging about any of the big names in gaming blogs right now.
Trying to be a Tera blogger basically puts me smack dab in the high ranks of the Chess Club or AV club, or whatever is deemed unpopular at schools with clubs these days. Unfortunately, I don’t know since we no longer have new episodes of Saved by the Bell airing regularly to guide me in all things high school culture.
Don’t get me wrong. I love playing Tera, and I love blogging about it. There’s just a lot of Tera hate out there. From the risqué gear, accusations of sexism, and the Elins to the assessment that its weak frame is riding precariously on its combat just waiting to go free-to-play, it gets a ton of criticism. That makes it harder to find a niche with which I fit in as a blogger.
But I’m getting off track.
I mentioned earlier about my faux friends in WoW, which makes me wonder about the people I’m fond of on Twitter. How do they see me? Am I more than an NPC to them? Am I just some pest that they’ll make fun of with the other popular kids as soon as I turn my back? Are they just more people that I’ve built into friends in my head?
Maybe these are things that everyone worries about with regard to people they don’t know all that well. Or maybe my social anxiety creates mountains out of molehills.
The worst part of it all is that, regardless of how much I want to have friends, I’m terrified of the possibility of being “friends” with someone and communicating with them on a regular basis.
It would be so hard to try to explain all these quirks and idiosyncrasies to a stranger.
Except, that’s exactly what I’m doing right now: telling it all to some stranger. Well, stranger, feel free to respond. I really would like to get to know you. It just might take me a while to design the perfect response.
Just, you know, please don’t ask me to go out and get food or some sort of beverage. There is no way I can eat in front of people. That’s just too big a step.