V once told me that I seem “guarded.”
Tonight, on my second date with that service sub guy, he said he gets the distinct impression that I make a habit of shoving suitors away full-force as a kind of test, only allowing myself to become interested in the ones who are interested (and resilient) enough to come back again. I asked how I shove people away exactly and he said it’s not a thing he can articulate; it’s just a feeling he gets from me.
I would not have thought that I “shove” anyone. I probably am guarded with new people, but not letting someone in right off the bat is not the same as actively pushing them away.
I also never consciously thought of myself as “guarded” until V used that word. I think I’m mushy and affectionate, and I often find myself talking about pretty personal things with people I’ve only recently met. But I suppose I approach conversations in a somewhat clinical way – at least at first – and don’t show a lot of emotion about the personal things I mention. I mean I told the service sub tonight that I had a five-year period in my 20s when I didn’t talk to my parents; they were kind of smothering and overprotective and I needed to get out from under their influence for a while. I told the story in pretty much those exact words and a neutral tone of voice. Maybe that’s weird. And I often hold back on being too mushy and affectionate with guys I’m seeing, at first. I had a while where I threw myself into the makeouts pretty fast (with The Doll and The Baby Duck and maybe others) and then the spark abruptly snuffed itself out, and that was awkward. I don’t like the idea of coming off as inconsistent – I don’t like the idea of running hot and cold on someone – so I’ve been trying to remain friendly-but-cool toward new prospects until I feel like there’s actually something there. I think in the past I have perhaps hooked up with guys mostly for the thrill of the chase – and once I caught them, I got bored. Feelings are at stake so I must be careful.
Also, though, in the past I’ve been too quick to decide I liked someone (as a friend or otherwise) and gotten myself in trouble. Hell, it wasn’t that long ago that I saw a great writing on FetLife and messaged the author all “You’re awesome and I want to marry you!” along with a friend request…only to have them turn out to be someone who sexually assaulted me a few years back. Or in school I’d jump into friendships with pretty much whoever was nice to me, but often they’d turn out to have some huge horrible drama problem they’d try to suck me into. So I began stifling my instant liking of a person and just kinda standing back and observing them for a while before approaching.
And, when I was younger I would put people off by being too intense – like going off on a tangent with a brand new friend about some piece of psychological baggage or other and becoming visibly angry or weepy. That made for some really awkward moments and I knew I needed to rein it in a little bit.
So yes, fine, I guess I’m “guarded” with people at first. Although I was surprised to hear V say that after having hung out with me a whole bunch (and seen me vulnerable and crying, the time I threw my neck out and summoned her to help take care of me).
I wonder how V and the service sub think an un-guarded person acts? Because I think it’s pretty normal to avoid telling a story about one’s shitty childhood and bursting into tears on a first meeting, or to get to know someone a little before kissing them. I would not have thought that these things are so weird that people would feel compelled to point the weirdness out. Or maybe it’s some other thing marking me as “distant” or “guarded” or “prone to shoving people away” or whateverthefuck. Maybe I’m too closed off and should try to change this.