The biggest mistake I make, time and time again, is letting myself bond too quick with especially charismatic people.
It is a common mistake, it is why people become rock stars: because they care capable of letting large amounts of people feel, inexplicably, “close” to them, even though they have barely met, people become attached.
I am not that bad, I understand that total strangers, despite a winning gaze or haunting lyric, don’t really understand me, and more importantly, that I have no idea who they are. And I don’t believe charming people I have met only a handful of times love me based on a good conversation.
Where it gets hazy for me is the middle ground, these semi frequent acquaintances who have a piercing gaze, who listen closely, who have a cultivated and attentive manner that allows me to feel that giddy sense of intimacy that is should be reserved for true connecting but is nonetheless elicited by the sense of undivided attention and affirming eyes. That fucks my shit up.
I think in order to understand this there might need to be an undercurrent of, shall we say, awkwardness in your past. Perhaps a less than robust history of quick connections and easy rapport. And as someone who is, despite a tendency toward gregarious and overly (nervous) chatter, actually pretty shy and insecure about social interactions, “connecting” with someone still feels like a rare treat. To sit and gab for hours effortlessly, to have moments of sharing that feels natural, is such a novelty to me, especially with someone reasonably available within my social circle that I immediately imagine a friendship closer than might actually be warranted. I imagine that a rare chemistry is fueling these moments, not the mad skills of a social butterfly. And what I always forget, without fail, is that those who have such a winning personality, those that have a way with people don’t understand, is this very assumption, because they experience this with most, if not all, of the people they interact with, reserving true close friendship and intimacy for those who they have a long demonstrated history of trust and caring. Which makes sense. Because that is the basis of close friendship, not a handful of generally pleasant interactions spattered over time.
And as one can guess, this generally leads to disappointment, on my end, at least. It leads to completely unfounded feelings of rejection. Like a jilted lover I find myself yelling “but you said you would love me forever!” after the platonic equivalent of a successful one night stand and some sweet talk.
And, of course, this has other even less desirable effects: to an increasing sense of shyness, a tentativeness around forming friendships, an evolving tendency to never take the lead in forming social attachments, as I don’t want to assume anything, don’t want to put pressure where it really isn’t deserved. And it leads to self doubt…did I really just bond with that person? Or do they just have social skills?
Also, to be only fair, I realize it isn’t okay to reject, across the board, or dismiss, charismatic people based on the presence of that trait. That is like refusing to love beautiful people: ultimately a poor and self-defeating strategy.
So the only safe tact to take is to very tentatively build expectations, and to remind myself of how few things are truly personal in this world. To reserve real love and expectations for those with a demonstrated history of interest, with an ongoing indication of investment, and to let that spiritual sense of love and connection be more of an accompanying motivator, that an actual impetus. The proverbial cherry on the Sundae, not the meal itself.
But, like I said, it is hard. I am a thirsty creature.