I’m a single male, 45. Much of my adult life was spent alone but for a couple short-lived relationships and one 10-year significant but highly-dysfunctional one with a woman I dearly loved till the day heart disease took her away at 35.
Four years later I’ve begun trying to reach out and establish new connections with women. Various types of responses have ranged from pure lack of basic civil respect for another human being to insulting, mean and downright cruel.
The most common one though, is disheartening “nothingness.” No reply, no response, no indication I even exist.
I think about this one the most because, like the growing commonality of “ghosting” people, there’s no real conclusion to the actions I’ve taken. To follow up to “check it out” only leads to more “nothingness.”
Too much follow up and then one becomes a “harassing stalker.” It's kind of a sick game below the surface.
So, what does it take to show another human being even a shred of human decency? If I don’t have something you want, does that place me in a position of acceptable contempt?
I think about why someone cannot take 30 seconds to reply to an invite or an attempt to start a conversation with “Hey thanks, I appreciate the interest but no thank you. I am not interested. Take care."
All I come up with is that person’s over-inflated sense of self-importance. Like their reply is going to knock me over?
I’ll never again hear the voice of the only person I really want to talk to again... and these women think that their rejection’s going to register on my pain scale?
I understand that my life experience isn’t other people’s but isn't it time that some respect for other human beings be reintegrated into our society's core values? (These are real people in my community who I actually see from time to time, not just random social-media profiles).
Pretending people don’t exist because it’s conveniently executed through the de-personalized world of social media, is very sad.
I don’t want to spend my potential next 30 years alone. But I feel a great disappointment in the selfishness that seems so rampant now.
The Response of Nothingness
There’s no excuse for self-centered refusal to acknowledge a person’s outreach.... especially from someone you’ve met and/or know.
You’ve had a profoundly deep personal loss of someone you loved. None of these rude non-responders will ever cause you enough pain to really matter in your life… but your outrage and disgust is understandable.
Meanwhile, time will pass, your most significant pain will start to ebb, you’ll meet new women, talk to some, be disinterested in others... but never “ghost” anyone.
You describe your one true relationship as “dysfunctional.” That’s the place to start when contemplating your future. Were you both unskilled at mutual give and take? What have you learned that you’d now do better?
If and when you meet people to even just talk to, ask about what they wish for and regret. Even distanced people like to talk... when it’s about them. They’re not ALL selfish, but some are closed off due to mistrust and the narrowness of current social discourse online.
So, don’t do any asking about their deeper selves on social media... it’s a minefield for negative attitude, ridicule, or, as you say, “nothingness.”
At 45, there’s time to heal as well as mourn, time to learn about others, about yourself, too. Laugh at those who offer “nothingness” - it only reflects someone too shallow for you to be bothered.
Reader’s Commentary Regarding the “mean girls” who excluded the letter-writer's young sister from a party (Dec. 1):
“My entire class was pretty friendly and there were many parties with everyone invited.
“I wasn't cool but I was a quiet, friendly girl.
“Two of the girls were having a party. My best friend “O” was invited. I wasn’t. I still remember, after Friday’s class saying "Goodbye, O. See you at the party tomorrow night. She replied, “Goodbye, J (me). See you on Monday!” A stab in the heart!
“I was surprised that I’d be excluded and had no idea why.
“At the school-year’s end I had a party and my parents recommended the high road by inviting both girls. I did. One came to my party, the other didn’t.
“Life has been good. However, at 70, learning how cruelly this girl was treated, I was that rejected 16-year-old again.”
Tip of the day:
Save social media for trusted friends/family to connect.