Don't get me wrong. I'm not being anti-social. I've been spending a lot of time with people, particularly Dusty (yes, the mysterious D now has a name). I've gone out for dinner and drinks with a few people, and I had a lot of fun at Dusty's birthday party last night and having lunch with her and her friend David today.
I have friends, but they're not really MY friends. They are people I've met through others, and I only see them in that context. I have very few friends of my own that have no connection to other friends of mine, no one that I can say "This is my friend" as opposed to "This is Dusty's friend" or the like. My acquaintance with them is defined by my acquaintance with others. Without that person, I feel like I lose a frame of reference, or the need to tie whatever conversations we're having back to the original person.
Even the handful of coworkers I've befriended over the years seem difficult to relate to outside of the work environment. I like to keep that delineation between my professional and personal life separate and unambiguous, lest my job become even more invasive than it already is. We get along great in the office Monday through Friday, but I know I won't be getting an invitation for a weekend barbecue or to get together to watch the game. Of course, I've just started a new job, and I'm still getting to know the people in the office, but I'd be a little surprised if that separation of work and home life changes anytime soon.
The thing is, I never have people over to the house. I'm either at their house, or out at restaurants or pubs. I guess I find it easier to interact with people either at their place (their "home turf") or out at some public place (neutral ground), because I think it will put them at ease. When we go out, I always pick someplace near their home or work, never anyplace near me on the south side, as a matter of their convenience. It's all well and good, but I know that when I come home, there isn't going to be a phone call from someone saying they were going to stop by, or a knock at the door from a buddy who just wanted to drop by and visit for a while.
I'll admit, I haven't been the most forthcoming in extending invitations to people to come hang out. To be honest, I'm still kind of embarrassed with the condition of the house and the fact that I haven't done much of anything to make it "mine" since my ex-wife moved out. It's neat and clean enough, but it has a general air of being stagnant, definitely the sort of place that a bachelor with little interest in decorating or landscaping would live. I'm also insecure, afraid of extending an invitation that is never accepted. Why would anyone want to come over here, when their yard or their entertainment system or their cooking is so much better?
Hell, I would just be happy if Dusty would visit me for a change instead of always going over to visit her. She is probably one of the few friends I made that was not a friend-of-a-friend first. Even so, we would always meet at church or go out for coffee or drinks. It never occurred to me to invite her over just to hang out, and a lot of that was due to our respective relationships with others and a dislike of the other person's significant other. Now our relationship is complicated, so I'm not really sure if I would invite her here just to have someone visit me, or if I would have some other unconscious hidden agenda to move things forward in a more romantic direction.
As I type this, the house is deathly silent and fairly dark. The only sound is the hum of the refrigerator and the whir of the laptop cooling fan, and the illumination is from a single lamp and the flicker of some candles. The house feels dead. I just want to bring a little noise, a little light, a little life into it.