I was having a DM (private) conversation with some women on twitter recently where we were discussing the various ways in which some men contact you on twitter with ulterior motives. It wasn’t until the conversation had finished that I realised I had been by far the most vocal, with the most stories to tell. There could be all sorts of reasons why that might be the case. As far as I’m aware, I’ve been on twitter longer than most, if not all of them, and bar one person, I also tweet the most frequently, therefore my tweets reach more people. I also have this blog which has a small, but steady readership and I am the most outspoken about DM perverts, it’s even in my bio. If anyone wanted to wind me up, that would be a good way to go about it. We also know that some men like a challenge. But there was one possibility I hadn’t considered before, that I was to blame.
As a single woman, many attempts are made to matchmake me with other men, but I’ve started to notice that when this happens, if the guy in question plays along, it’s still me who is told that I have feelings for them, not the other way around. I don’t mind the matchmaking in the slightest, I love playing cupid myself, it’s just the imbalance that bothers me. I appear to be somehow giving off a flirtatious vibe without realising it, why else would it always be directed at me? So if my idea of how I’m behaving is so different to how it’s being perceived, that could extend to any number of things. It’s a scary prospect for someone who thinks they know their own mind.
A lot of this blog has been about me trying to analyse why people do or say the things they do. A clumsy attempt to find out what motivates their actions. Perhaps I was wrong all along and I was somehow making it happen. I fall out with a lot of people and I struggle to trust anyone. It’s no secret I view everything and everyone with suspicion and I’ve been told many times that it’s not a healthy way to live. Hearing it over and over again chips away at my defences until I feel I should try to let someone in, at least a little. Not completely. Never completely.
But as soon as I do that, I’m already waiting for things to go wrong. It’s inevitable, despite all protests from the people involved. It’s always the same. So similar in fact, that I could mouth the words as they’re saying them. This doesn’t happen to everyone. People don’t say things they don’t mean constantly to the people around me, I’m told. Words like ‘love’ aren’t just thrown around, with no meaning, no effort. Friendships and relationships don’t end that abruptly for other people, repeatedly, always following the same pattern of empty apologies and no attempt at a reconciliation unless it’s suggested by me. Even then, only in the way of a throwaway gesture, which is almost worse than nothing.
Maybe my standards are too high. Maybe my morals are too rigid and inflexible. I know I ask too much. I’ve never thought that was wrong. I still don’t, despite going over and over it in my head. I realise we’re all human. Despite what people think, I don’t look for perfection, I only look for the will to try. To make amends. To only say what’s true. A bit of honesty. That’s what this whole blog has been about. So how can people who have read it all, beginning to end and told me they understand, not ‘get it?’ It’s not complicated. I’ve poured my heart out here. It’s the most intimate diary you could ever find into someone’s mind. So the only answer is that in putting all my thoughts out there, I equip those who may so wish, to hurt me in ways they couldn’t if I wasn’t so open.
I’ve been thinking about the past a lot of late. An ex boyfriend got in touch on Facebook recently. We haven’t had any contact for 11 years and he was probably my most significant ex. The first person I really, truly loved. It was also a destructive relationship that ended so badly, I carried the scars for many years. When I first saw his message, just small talk, a “You still look the same. Hope you’re OK,” I was pleased that I felt nothing. Of course I’d always wondered what I’d do if this ever happened and my thoughts had changed over the years until I stopped thinking about it altogether. Now it had happened, it just felt like a message from an old friend. No feelings came rushing back, but I did start to compare the person I was then, to the person I am now.
I am without a doubt, far more cynical. That relationship changed everything about me. It made me stronger (because it very nearly killed me, but didn’t quite succeed) but it also made me even more pessimistic than I already was. I learned about insincerity. I learned about lies. I learned that people could look you in the eye and lie to you about things that didn’t even matter. He was an addict and I accepted that part of his addiction, but I couldn’t accept it when the lies had nothing to do with his addiction and everything to do with our relationship.
I spent years alone after him, not ever wanting to experience anything like that again, until I met the man I’ve spoken about at length in this blog and from whom I discovered I really was strong enough to walk away now. But while the first breakup left me cynical about relationships, the second left me cynical about friendships as well. I realised I hadn’t just been unlucky, that either my judgement was poor, I attracted dishonest and insincere men, or I made them behave like that. None of these bode well for future relationships of any kind, so I decided to just embrace my own company and stick with people I already know. I refuse to meet anyone from twitter. I have no interest in making new friends. It serves me well. There has been the occasional blip, but my cynicism has been vindicated on so many occasions now, I’ve stopped questioning it.
The one thing that has started to change though, is my ability to bounce back. It takes longer and longer each time. Even the really silly lies strangers tell, now chip away at me. I laugh when people DM me to say they fancy me or want to be with me, after 24 hours of knowing me. I roll my eyes and think about how ridiculous it it. But it also makes me sad that so many people do this, with no seeming purpose other than to deceive. I wonder about how many times they succeed with someone more trusting or vulnerable. A lot of people see it as harmless fun. I can’t see it like that.
When I was pestered by someone I barely knew for my number for a whole day, increasingly getting more pushy and manipulative, I blocked the person and warned others (without giving away his identity) and was told by a woman that I was too hard on him and should’ve guided him back to the timeline without blocking. He hadn’t particularly upset me because I didn’t know him, but to me, the principle was that his tactics would’ve probably worked on someone younger or more vulnerable than me. Too harsh? I didn’t think so, but now I can’t help questioning my actions because the truth is this. There are too many people this has happened with for it to just be a coincidence. I don’t know anyone who has fallen out with as many people as I have. So either I’m wired differently, or I’m a horrible person to be around.
I’ve thought about little else for the last few days and I can only imagine that I’m uncompromising about who I’m friends with because I haven’t had the support of my family growing up. There’s never been that loyalty most people take for granted. I’ve never had anyone on my side. We are very much individuals who make a superficial effort to see each other, mostly for the sake of my niece and nephew, who we all adore. But the feelings don’t run deep. Nobody sticks their neck out for anyone else (with the exception of my dad who is a staunch defender of everything my eldest sister does.) Consequently, she’s never had to fight for anything her whole life and is very easygoing, calm and slightly detached emotionally. I am the exact opposite. I fight. I care. I’m loyal. I’m overemotional and perpetually furious about something. I also don’t do things by halves, which is a destructive way to be. So I can fully understand why I’m not particularly popular or even likeable, but it’s all out there, for everyone to see. It’s not hidden away, waiting to be discovered or to shock, I am what I am. I tell everyone how awful I am. I will spell out every imperfection, every flaw, and tell them it’s fine to walk away and never look back, which some do, with no hard feelings. It’s the ones who deliberately go to great lengths to tell me I’m wrong, before running, that I don’t understand. The ones who will make a token, half assed effort to show they care, which is far worse than a clean break. I’m an all or nothing person, I struggle to understand why anyone would do anything half hearted. In my book, doing nothing is better. There’s nothing to be gained from stringing out what’s long dead, but I am getting better at spotting the people who ignore everything you say except when you ask them to leave you alone, because in reality, it’s music to their ears but they don’t want the guilt that comes with being the one who says it. It’s best to hold the door open for them and let them go.
I mentioned around January time how someone stopped talking to me when I refused to meet them because it was too soon for me. They later got in touch to apologise for their behaviour, but unfollowed me at the same time. Then they emailed me about something and we got into the habit of exchanging emails, until again, they suddenly stopped, on my birthday. I haven’t heard from them since. Now I don’t think they’re a game player or a bad person with an ego. In fact, I liked them because they were anything but the usual arrogant and egotistical people you come across online. It must’ve been me, but then why the apology and unfollow? Why the emails and silence? The only answer is games. I could write a book about the number of insincere people I’ve come across in my life and the more I think about it, the more I’m convinced I’m right not to trust anyone because for all the obvious ones I laugh off with a roll of the eyes and a tut, there is the odd one who scares me with just how good they are with the deception and I’d rather never experience any kind of bond with anyone again than fall into their trap.