How Much Effort Are People Really Worth?

Words of extreme wisdom from the guy who once said, “Get jiggy with it”!

I’m not sure in what context Will Smith made the above social observation, but when my cousin posted it on Facebook, his words really resonated with me. I’ve never found a thrill that I was looking for. That applies to relationships and pretty much everything in my life, from jobs to lost items to forgotten trivia that always seems to magically reappear in my brain when I stop thinking about it. The moment I want something too much, I instinctively suspect that I won’t get it.

Despite appearances (I’m good at faking the whole life-of-the-party thing), I’ve always been a loner, more comfortable in a party of one than in the company of strangers, or even friends and family. Since I have no fear of being alone, I generally don’t pursue people. Most of the tight friendships in my life evolved naturally without any great effort on my part. Perhaps that’s why they’ve lasted.

In love, I’m similarly passive, rarely the instigator in romantic entanglements. After a few too many drinks, I might approach the hot guy at the bar and make my pitch, but during normal business hours, I’m far more likely to let others to the heavy lifting. Last night, I was having dinner with a new acquaintance, and I told him that I don’t know a thing about unrequited love. Part of what makes me fall in love with someone is bearing witness to how much they love me. Men need to make love to feel love, women need to feel love to make love, I need to feel love to feel love.

For me, it’s not fear of rejection in action. I’ve had enough rejection in my life to last a lifetime. At this point, I’m fairly immune to it. It’s more a form of self-protection and a spin-off from my insecurity. If I chase after you, once I catch you, how can I be sure of the intensity of your feelings for me? Did you give in simply because there was nothing better to do? And what’s with the ambivalence?

It’s not such a healthy thing. In a way, it takes away my power. If I’m only picking from the options that are presented to me, it’s possible that I’ll never get what I really want. With this in mind, I recently tried to change my ways, make the first move, be the pursuer instead of the pursued. The results have been emotionally draining. An ambivalent guy who waits for you to make all the first moves can wreak havoc on your self-esteem, and in the end, you might not even have him to show for it.

In my case, every move he makes, he makes when I’m not looking, when I’m least expecting it, when I’m too busy doing something else to be even thinking about him. Those old cliches are so true: The watched pot is slow to boil. When you least expect it, expect it. People want what they can’t have. I hate the idea of playing games, but love is just a game. If everyone is playing it but you, guess who loses!

I’m glad I put myself out there, but I’ve crawled back into my shell where it’s more comfortable. Things are already looking better. I love the view from inside. Will Smith is right. If you’re interested, you know where to find me. I’ll be here doing my thing, not waiting for your call, and not expecting it either.

“Stretch Out and Wait” The Smiths (no relation to Will!)

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