Can you empathize with me?

Because I, pathetically, probably cannot empathize with myself. Nor can I really empathize well with anybody else for that matter. It makes me sad to think that in four years, all I’ve learned is to be a decent grappler, decent improviser, and a pretty damn good BS-er of all things social science related.  What’s wrong with that is that in four years, I still haven’t learned how to be social. I still haven’t learned how to do the very thing that makes me (I hope) a human.

Kind of ironic how I’m a sociology major, whose existence seems to be carved out by Marx, Durkheim, and Weber to be one spent studying people and social relationships. Oh wait, I think I forgot the part where I actually have to be a part of them. Oops. To be honest, I envy those that are good conversationalists, good raconteurs, people who are just good at being people and talking to other people. Maybe it’s my own awkwardness, but I know a great deal of it comes from my own fear of getting hurt by people that I try and reach out to without reciprocation. I can’t exactly blame other people though, mostly because I know that when it comes to emotions, I’m essentially in between a loaf of bread and a robot. I guess that’s what you get from your parents suppressing your emotions so much when you’re young. It’s hard for me to empathize with people because I can’t even empathize with myself.  I don’t really cry during movies, and sappy and cheesy things don’t move me too much. Now, before you think I’m a heartless bastard, I’m not, to put it bluntly. I really try to care — it just doesn’t always seem that way.

Today, I happened to be eating in De Neve with my best friend, Bobos In Paradise, by Some Random Author. Usually, when I eat with those kinds of best friends, I don’t really like to be disturbed, because obviously, I’m not lonely, right? Right. So anyway, we’re having quite the one-sided conversation until some completely random girl from Croatia comes by my table and just puts her stuff down across the table and sits down. At this point, there’s nobody else in the dining hall. I’m a bit bewildered at first and slightly confused. Is she hitting on me? (omg?!) Does she not see me? Right about now, I’m weighing my options, which are 1) ignore her and finish eating 2) tell her that I see a strapping Croation lad and run when she’s not looking 3) talk to her…………….? I end up croaking out an awkward “Sup?” We start talking about a bunch of really random stuff, and at the same time, I’m sweating balls because I hate human interaction. And so we talk and talk, while I’m trying to finish my cottage cheese yogurt mixture crap as fast as I can so I can leave.  A couple lulls in the conversation and a couple awkward jokes later, she asks what my name is. (Shouldn’t that have come in the beginning?) We say we’ll find each other on Facebook, and I shake her hand and hurriedly exit. She was really nice, but I don’t think I’ve ever been so relieved to get out of De Neve (except when they serve chicken nachos).

So I guess in closing, I’ve been trying really hard to talk to people when I don’t feel like it, or get to know people even if I don’t gain anything from it. Sometimes it works, sometimes, I get discouraged.

But as I learned today, it never hurts to try.


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