As mentioned… one of the things that’s been bothering me increasingly for some time is a feeling of being disconnected from the world here locally.
Also mentioned in previous rantings, I often get these sense of superficiality with my current church… and tend to be amused at how quickly I can scare off the fluffy “oh lets talk to the poor pathetic person by herself” crowd with the slightest hint of real. (Its still hard not to laugh when crossing paths with the one soccer mom who completely stopped saying hi to me whatsoever after a “isn’t my kid so awesome” conversation in which I admitted sometimes my kid is a brat)
A while back, while thinking on the first part, I decided to try something different with the latter… since the previous two small group attempts went rather poorly, and the weekly prayer meeting has different leaders again now but still with a tendency to put people on the spot.
I went through the church facebook group, and kind of flipped around for a bit. And after looking at a couple of people who had their walls open to public viewing, I decided to add some of these people.
Because they were being a whole lot more real on facebook than they were on sundays.
So I went through and added a handful of people on my private account (the one under my real name and not linked to my blog or other websites I work with… an account that i’m pretty picky about who I add and making sure I know them and really want them there.) Being sure to mention in the message area that I knew them from the church.
The main criteria I used were that I knew for sure that they knew my first and last name in person, that we had previously had at least a couple of conversations going beyond “how are you”, and that I knew they were generally friendly.
The last name requirement shortened my list greatly. I later went through and counted 14 people. Most of these were people who had previously been trying to recruit me for their small groups back when the church was pushing them really heavy… with the encouragement that we needed to get to really know each other.
There was one on my list that didn’t meet the criteria, because I was pretty sure he didn’t know my last name, and may not even remember what my first name is for that matter, but I added him because he seems a lot less mask-y than most. Another was the former leader of the prayer meetings, which I wasn’t sure about, as I’m not real sure that he really remembers my name either as it’s probably been at least two years ago.
And so I waited.
After a week, only one person had added me. The next week, one more.
Namely, the two I wasn’t sure about adding in the first place.
Of the other dozen people? None ever did. Even the ones that had public walls open for anyone on the internet to read.
I had to laugh. Because, unfortunately, that’s pretty much exactly what I was trying to disprove to myself by adding them. You tell me you want me to get to know you in your group… but don’t want me as a facebook friend even.. how shallow was that invitation really then?
But it got even better.
About 3 weeks after I sent the requests, I tried to add a friend… one who was on my open account, but that I wanted to have on the more private account as well.
And facebook informed me that I was temporarily banned from adding people… due to a large number of recently unaccepted requests!
So, my acceptance ratio was so bad, facebook apparently thought surely I must be spamming these poor people who must have no clue who I am.
Again, I laughed, hard. I could probably take the hint and take it personally, but then, it really wasn’t much of a surprise.
So fast forward to this weekend.
Messing around on facebook again… sighing at event invites from a church I really wish I could attend, but that’s a day’s drive away.
And I get a random impulse.
I went back to the local church’s facebook list.
And I picked 7 people. Pretty much at random. And I added them. (I was going to do 14 again, but decided to do them in 2 groups to see if facebook would get less mad about the number of ignores).
My main criteria here was pretty much the opposite. I picked people that I knew probably hadn’t the foggiest idea who I was.
I ended up deciding to go with people who were active enough that I knew who they were by name, to avoid some weird situation if one of the people said something to me later in person and I had no idea which one they were.
And because the two people who accepted me previously were in some degree of leadership, I deliberately avoided leaders. (Though I think one actually is staff now, but I didn’t know it at the time)
So I ended up with 3 women from the church who I knew who they were from activities that they announce and such, 1 guy (well, and his wife, joint account) who helps out with my daughter’s sunday school class lately but that usually still has to ask whether I’m there to pick up a child so I think it’s safe to say wouldn’t know my name, 2 of the people I knew of from when I used to attend the then monthly prayer meetings, and 1 guy that I knew who he was from when they asked for prayer for him when he returned from missions a few months back.
Within the first 12 hours, I had 4 new facebook friends.
Within the day today, 5 of the 7 had added me… though one of those has apparently deleted me since last night.
I’m still not entirely sure what to make of this.
I’m actually a bit more taking it as a personal comment now that I realize I have better chances with the people there as a complete stranger than I do as a casual acquaintance.
Maybe a sign I need to talk to different people there than I have been and that I just have a knack for attracting the fluffy ones.
But then, it’s still not somewhere I feel comfortable, so its still somewhere that i don’t do well with people and am working against my avoidant issue tendencies to even be there, so maybe its just a sign of how poorly things go when I’m out of my better range and into the anxiety realm, even if not far enough to be into a full blown freakout or even really noticing it some of the time.
I still feel like it’s where we are supposed to be, sometimes in spite of my preferences on the matter. So I don’t think it’s a change places sort of thing.
Just still sort of processing what to do with it.