Dying Daily #57: I’m Not Comfortable with Honest Human Interaction, So Here’s a Joke Instead.

Why did the one-armed monkey fall out of the tree?

Because it was dead.

That’s my favorite joke.

As I’ve mentioned, I’ve had a lot of jobs.

I think this teaches you to adapt to different situations and work with a lot of different people. It teaches you to navigate different political environments, and how to deal with people who don’t like you. I like to think I’ve learned how to deal with people whose ambition or ego drives them to run people over if they can’t use them for their own ends.

My current way of dealing with all of this is to work for myself, by myself. This is the way to go. I trust me. Sometimes I even like me.

But, while I don’t really mind all the shady people I encounter, I do struggle with those super nice and open people we all know, and I don’t do well in situations that call for emotional vulnerability.

I am pretty okay with being in a room with someone who dislikes me, but I can go to ridiculous lengths to avoid a heartfelt conversation.

It’s not a huge deal though, because I’ve found the antidote to these nice people who dare to try and share a moment with me.

Humor.

It’s perfect.

It makes the person laugh, it gives you an easy escape, and it leaves you room to act you didn’t even realize what was going on, so you’re not a jerk.

“I’ve really enjoyed working with you.”

“You must not have worked with very many people!”

“I’m going to miss seeing you every day.”

“Nah, once I’m gone you’ll realize it’s much easier without me. I kind of suck.”

Things like that.

I suppose this is okay in situations where real connection is not required, but it can be problematic when people need something real from you.

I am not super great at offering that realness, but I do try. I think I am getting better.

Okay, I am good at offering realness.

I am not good at emotional vulnerability. That’s where humor comes in.

You see, humor is great because it keeps people at arm’s length, but in a nice way.

Like they don’t even realize you are doing it. I have layers and layers of these defenses that I have honed over the years. I am kind of proud of them.

But (there’s always a but on the things that make life easier), they can make it hard on the people who love me.

So I am working to dismantle all my work, and meet these situations honestly and with genuineness, even when it makes me a little uncomfortable.

“I am going to miss working with you.”

“That will pass, I’m easy to forget.”

Just kidding.

“I am going to miss working with you.”

“I am going to miss it too; you’ve been a really good friend.”

Yuck, right? And I’m not even using really mushy examples.

I need to move into the woods and live with wolves.

Except that these are the real moments in life, and people are what matter. These are things that connect us to other people and make it all worthwhile.

Yuck.