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a good reason you might have no friends  RSS feed

 
paul wheaton
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Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
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Jocelyn got this from burra and then shared it with me yesterday.  Makes excellent sense to me.





I remember once when I was doing the community living thing I was presented with the question "do you want to be right or do you want to be in a relationship?"   Apparently I mentioned it in a podcast which sparked this dicsussion where I stated:

I think the question is seriously fucked up. It basically puts forth the premise that you cannot be in a relationship unless you sacrifice your values and your decency and are willing to become wholly a servant to another. I would like to modify the question to "what sort of relationship do you have where you are not permitted to be right?" 


But this video sheds a new light on the question.   It is as if the question admits to being fucked up and comes with a recipe for life:  choose your path:

    - the purity of intellect

    - a life full of friends

I suppose, in a bizarre way, I am on a bit of a quest to have both.   Rather than sitting in a crowd of 50 people working on getting 48 of them to be my friends, I wish to start with a crowd of a million people and find a way that 12 of them will be my friends. 

Any way you slice it - what an excellent bit of information.


 
Travis Johnson
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I agree with what the video says, and in my life, found it to be true. I do not think I am of great intellect, but live in a very isolated part of Maine, live a very friendless lifestyle, and am very happy nonetheless.

My take on it is that it is NOT mere intellect that allows the correlation between less friends and happiness, but rather that intelligent people recognize that to be truly happy you must be enjoying the moment.

Here is a case in point; whenever I am doing anything, whether it be woodworking or putting up a sheep fence, if I am in the midst of the project looking at the long term goal of having the fence done, or the kitchen table completed; I am unhappy. It is not being in the midst of the project that there is happiness, but in its completeness. YET, if I just sit back and realize 'I love woodworking', or 'part of a great farming lifestyle is putting up sheep fence', I am very happy. The other day it was 0 degrees out, the snow was coming down, and I was cold...but I was out in the woods cutting wood. The trails through the woods were surreal, the snow on the trees was pretty, and I am doing what I love; an intelligent person recognizes the good and finds contentment in it.

As for people; well they just suck. I am empathetic...I have had some trying times over the years and can relate, and I am smart enough to know others have endured far far more than me so I am sympathetic as well, but ask any store clerk, nurse or waitress and they can go on for hours about stories about people. Punch up "people of Walmart" on youtube and you get a better understanding. The truth is, I don't need to socialize to be happy, I can do that in the mere presence of my wife, someone I have carefully picked and dedicated my life to. We do not live an isolated lifestyle purposefully, yet I find her to be enough.
 
Steve Taylor
Posts: 136
Location: Akron, Ohio
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Go Ants go.  I was a little sad to have read all the way through Even's Log only to find vacant spots in the Ant competition. 

I'm working towards a micro Ant/ Pay it forward program with the intent of getting more people hands on with edible and medicinal perennials.

I agree with the statement about choosing a path of purity vs popularity. But I also desire to do both and am trying to.

 
Miles Flansburg
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Wow, I knew I was a genius so it was nice to have some u-tube guru say so ! I have absolutely no friends and dream of living in a cabin in the middle of nowhere and never seeing another soul again.
 
Roberto pokachinni
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do you want to be right or do you want to be in a relationship?
  I found this a very interesting question.

I was once in a relationship with a woman who I thought was probably more intelligent than I, and I can be certain-at the bare minimum-that our intelligence systems were very different, and... often... differing.  The result was sometimes argument, instead of discussion.  At one point in a non-argumentative state, she commented that in a remembered conversation about addictions with her brother (Who I figure to be at least as intelligent as either of us) she was recalled to have said that she had no addictions, and her brother was recalled to have instantly burst into laughter and said: "Oh, don't be silly, you're addicted to being right!"

It is this form of being right that was epitomized by the brother's astute observation above, that creates the dichotomy, where righteousness precludes the possibility of relationship. 

I think the question is seriously fucked up. It basically puts forth the premise that you cannot be in a relationship unless you sacrifice your values and your decency and are willing to become wholly a servant to another. I would like to modify the question to "what sort of relationship do you have where you are not permitted to be right?"
 

I completely, but hopefully with the space to be wrong, or right, respectfully disagree.  You or I are still absolutely permitted to be right, and be right often, but if you or I are so attached to being right that we can not in that same moment conceive that the other person's point of view might, possibly, conceivably actually be right also, then we have a social problem-(which will automatically put us on a pedestal above the other).  Our vast intelligence may be able to help us with this... or not.  That is going to be our choice to figure out; it's everyone's choice, intelligent or not.  Not being right does not make you wholly a servant to that person, it does not force you to sacrifice your values or your decency, it forces you to be willing to accept that you might just be wrong, despite all present evidence bouncing around in your synapses and neurotransmitters which seems to be contrary to that perspective.  That's it.  If you or I can't do that, then you or I will lose friends, left right and center, guaranteed.

I thought the video was well put together, but it seems to be looking at a very fucked up individualistic nihilistic and hedonistic culture (that most of us are unfortunately intrinsically interconnected with to one degree or another), which is the direct seed of a cycle of violence, conquest, colonialism, imperialism... etc, but which is not the only culture on the planet, and I doubt that the same 'truths' in this video would also hold true in many other cultural patterns to the same degree where mores and societal norms are built as a cohesive working system that provides long term healthy social structure.  

The video seems to omit one key fact.  Intelligent people tend to be focused and driven by their passions, projects, inventions... etc and as such, (out of sight-out of mind) the relationships go by the wayside.  I find, personally, the more time and energy that I put out to develop and hold relationships in a way that shows compassion, integrity, and mutual value, the more those relationships strengthen, build, and become resilient.  The less time and energy I put toward building such relationships, the more isolated I become.   

I personally believe that this is a permacultural concept that deserves a great deal more attention than it has received and I'm grateful for this thread for bringing it into my day today.  I think I'll call a friend.

 
Marla Kacey
Posts: 130
Location: Wyoming Zone 4
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Oh, Paul, thank you! 

I'm sitting here smiling like a fool.  I've been alone for 30 years and sometimes (often actually) wonder what's wrong with me.  But I never feel more alone than when I'm in a large group of people.  And I'm far more often happy when alone than with others.  There are of course a few exceptions.

Committed relationships, in my experience, translate to me committing to serve.  But I have dreams and goals that others around just don't seem to understand, or maybe just don't want to understand.

And now this guy says I might be a genious!?!  Gonna be smiling for awhile, I'm sure.

Thank you again Paul!  And thank you for permies.com!  A community I find great comfort in.

 
Kim Goodwin
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I shall post my reply in quotes.

"HERMIT, n. A person whose vices and follies are not sociable." ~ Ambrose Bierce, The Devil's Dictionary

“The Hermit is an important tarot card with much to tell us, but he tends not to be so welcome around the bonfire.” ~ Thomm Quackenbush

"Hermits have no peer pressure."  ~ Steven Wright

"Frank the Hermit: You see, you know that is the trouble with living half way up a cliff - you feel so cut off. You know it takes me two hours every morning to get out onto the moors, collect my berries, chastise myself, and two hours back in the evening.
Second Hermit: Still there's one thing about being a hermit, at least you meet people.
Frank the Hermit: Oh yes, I wouldn't go back to public relations."  ~ Monty Python's Flying Circus, ep. Full Frontal Nudity

And a couple from the American hermit genius herself:

"They say that God is everywhere, and yet we always think of Him as somewhat of a recluse."  ~ Emily Dickinson

“My best Acquaintances are those , With Whom I spoke no Word” ~ Emily Dickinson

“You ask of my companions. Hills, sir, and the sundown, and a dog as large as myself.” ~ Emily Dickinson

“They say that 'home is where the heart is.' I think it is where the house is, and the adjacent buildings.”
― Emily Dickinson

“I don't profess to be profound; but I do lay claim to common sense.” ~ Emily Dickinson

And one last one, a whole poem:

“The Heart is the Capital of the Mind—
The Mind is a single State—
The Heart and the Mind together make
A single Continent—

One—is the Population—
Numerous enough—
This ecstatic Nation
Seek—it is Yourself.”
~ Emily Dickinson
 
Kim Goodwin
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And one more thing.  I've been a hermit all my life. Although I've also done very social  - even public - things; yet it was always for a distinct purpose, a goal other than socialization.

I believe a hermit is one who is quite contented with her own company.  The non-hermits I've known in life are not so.  That seems the distinction to me. 
 
Roberto pokachinni
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Some friends of mine had a publication which I took part in called 'hermit's unite'
 
Tracy Wandling
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It's funny - I spent my whole youth being sad because I didn't have lots of friends. But I now know that it wasn't a lack of friends, but a lack of people who I found interesting and pleasant to be around. I kept thinking that I wanted to be out there with the 'in' crowd, but when I was I found myself bored to tears. So there I was, small and shy and wishing for friends, but at the same time, I was too smart for my own good, and I think now that I held people up to very high standards. Nobody stood a chance.

Now I find that mostly I love my own company. I find me fascinating. Often unfortunate for the man I live with. 

I think that one of the reasons that I don't go out much and 'mingle' is that I don't want to be disappointed when I don't find anyone interesting to talk to. And it's exhausting trying to keep up with or listen to conversations about stuff I really don't care about. Some think that this is snobby, and I was recently accused of having too narrow a field of interests. (That would be the man I live with). I actually have a very wide field of interests, but I can't often find people to talk with about them, so I keep them to myself. My field of interests does not include watching the news, or reality TV shows, or talking about the news or reality TV shows.

All of this used to bother me and make me sad, but now I'm quite happy to spend my time with me and my books - and my permies peeps - and let other people carry on and do what they find interesting and fun. Without me. It's quite a relief, actually.

Cheers
Tracy
 
Tj Jefferson
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Interesting video. I think anyone who is trying to be intellectually honest will have differences in opinion at some point drilling down from the macro level to the micro. This requires either forbearance or compromise, and I think intellect does not lend itself to compromise.

An example: Two vegetarians meet socially and start considering a deeper relationship. It turns out one is vegetarian for ethical reasons, one for presumed health reasons. The ethical vegetarian meets another "ethical" but one believes in husbandry for increased yields and another doesn't believe in owning/maintaining domestic animals. Each step of the drill-down narrows the number of people who are intellectually like-minded. But a simpler person would just stop at the first level, they may be doing it for virtue signalling or other reasons. This is true of any complex human decision. I have to compromise with myself to live with my family. It is part of the sacrifice of companionship.

The beauty of forbearance is that once developed, it allows interaction with people vastly different, because you start from the premise that none of us agree completely with anyone else. But it is a mindful decision! It takes effort which, I think, is why he describes people finding some happiness in solitude... 
 
Maureen Atsali
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I always heard it as, "Do you want to be right, or do you want to be happy?" 
And I always wondered, "Why can't I be both?"

I have never had many friends, but I have a deep appreciation for the few that have stuck with me.  I am not a social butterfly, in fact I am quite awkward, and I am grateful to have a spouse that loves people, loves talking, and is generally well liked by everyone.  So he handles most of the PR for our farm businesses.  I am also thankful for the internet, for groups like Permies where I have been able to find like-minded people, and who's eyes don't glaze over when I talk about the farm.  (Heh, well, maybe they do, but since we are all hidden behind our respective screens, I don't know it!)  I live in a geographically very isolated place, I am further isolated by language barriers, and huge cultural differences.  Sometimes it can be lonely... but, not so much.  I like my life.
 
Eddie Conna
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Location: Los Angeles for now, Maybe Idaho soon...
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I'm not sure I agree with the analyzation of this "study" entirely.

First, one must define "friends" as there are several levels of friendship.

Close friends:  Those people you can call at 2 am to bail you out of jail, or whatever.  These are people you share intimate details about your life with.  

Down to "associates".  people who you may refer to as "this is my friend" but in reality, you only know them in passing, but genuinely do like them.  And there are 100 levels in between.


There are a number of reasons why some people don't have tons of friends, and that's simple... because some people can really, really suck. 

Not everyone, but I can tell you, I've witness more 'friends" screwing each other over for business, personal gain, whatever. 

Some will, after a short time, go right back to being 'friends" with the same people that screwed them, (or that they screwed) because it will somehow benefit them business wise.  Not me.  Once someone violates my trust, they're done.   This includes when a friend screws over someone else... because if they will do that to another person, they'll likely do it to me if given the chance.

now perhaps, living in Southern California, and working in the entertainment industry, I'm seeing this more than people in other areas do.  But in talking with friends all over the US, I can attest, this happens everywhere.  People can be amazing creatures... and they can be some of the shittiest, most short sighted, selfish and greedy beings on the planet...  Which is why the environment is under threat the way it is...

That's my 2 cents, which isn't even worth that much....
 
Xisca Nicolas
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I have never been told that I wanted to be right, but that I am too often right!
And I think I developped intelligence as a child because I was not feeling good with my peers, I found that people were not the same in a 1 to 1 relationship or the same person in a group.

And I could not stand to loose what I viewed in yself as intrisic qualities.

But this is the opinion of someone who has a poor capacity to stand social stress. This has been talked about in other topics I participated in too... My training has already given me the answer: some people have had some stress they could not cope with around birth, and this damages part of the nervous system, and make us be awkward in social relationship. This means we do not learn to feel some signs, but we have more time and freedom to develop the intellect.

I know people who shut up and can stand much more than me, and they can still focus on the relatioinship. I cannot because I am angry when people abuse. I am not more abused by others, as I have noticed some people are abused as much as me, but they are able to shut it down in a way that I cannot.

The paradox is that I am a very good and relyable friend to those who understand that I am not there to humiliate them by being right. I am not proud of being right, I just put this at the service of all. 

REsume: this is just a problem of the autonomous nervous system.
Just get to know about Stephen Porges and the polyvagal theory.
The capacity to co-regulate with other humans beyond anything is done by the ventral branch of the vagus nervous, which is part of the para-sympathic system.

If you want I can detail more about this...
If some accept that I am right with it!!!
lol
 
It's just a flesh wound! Or a tiny ad:
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