When we got there, I was sort of at a loss for what to do (after delivering the gift, that is), but R. turned up, and we exchanged hugs and chit-chat, as I hadn't seen her in awhile. Having run the hell out of things to do, I started a game of Othello, and S determined himself to be my opponent. Shortly after we started, N appeared on the scene, and settled in on the couch to kibitz the game. R began to worry, as her beau had not yet arrived to meet her, and so I loaned her my phone to call him. That did not go too well: Apparently he had forgotten his plans with her and was out with one of his roommates. She was perturbed, and tried to engage him in discussing the issue, at which time the cellphone(s) in question ceased to function. After failing to reach him back several times, she was quite upset. I made vague soothing and comforting gestures, and tried to play the board game, which I was rather obviously starting to lose, and S and N went off to talk to each other. So, I talked to her, and hugged her, and talked to her a lot more (According to N and S, I was ministering, to which term I objected because of the religionist connotations) and plied her with (honest) compliments, flirted, talked some more, and finally she started to feel a a bit better, and so she went out clubbing with her roommate, after asking around for directions.
(My theraputic technique needs work. I seem to have some innate ability at empathy and consolation and such, but I talk too much about my own life (usually to give positive contrast, or to explain where my empathy is genuine or exact (ie things I have felt before non-vicariously)) and that is kind of big no-no.. This may explain the query at the bottom [post title, too] from which all this sprung forth. I dug open a couple of my own wounds, so as to explain that I had been in similliar situations, that I had felt that (much) pain. Actually, since we were discussing emotional insulation and psychological defense mechanisms, I was giving specific examples of why I am as clammed up (er, emotionally insulated) as I am, so as to discourage her from taking that path, because, among other reasons, as I told her, she seems a happy person, which point we also discussed at length.. )
At which point, slightly drained (empathy does that, just ask anybody..)
I went to join N and S (after first finding them.) While still groggy, or as I described it at the time: "I just spent an hour and a half in supportive girl friend mode. It may take a while for me to clutch and shift to anything else." I joined in on their conversation a little bit, and flirted a bit myself, and otherwise mildly made a fool of myself, and helped to edge S towards making a decision (well both to make any decision, and to make a decision on a particular topic of some logistical import).
And that resolved (2 on my list, and new shoes (weren't on the list for today), 2 added to my list suddenly), I paid my tab and headed out, popping the Dilbert tape back into the deck. (It's an 'audiobook' wherein Scott Adams reads aloud Dogbert's Secrets of Management, and it's quite funny with only the occassional painful irony. I might feel differently if I had a job, but since I don't, Dilbert jokes are all funny(ier).)
So why am I blinking back tears and starting to compose this entry before I am barely out the parking lot and on the road home?
Is it because of opportunities (however imaginary) discarded or destroyed this short evening? (The followup question is just how attracted am to certain of these individuals... *sigh* It may well be that particular individual. She's new to my/our social circles, and there is much that is attractive about her (in general to all, and specific to me), and I may have either frightened her off, or put myself in another category altogether with some of the things I said (The problem works out something like this:
Q: So, you're straight, right?
A: Straight Lesbian [foley.rimshot()]. Yeah.
Q: So, you got a girlfriend?
A; Um.. Yeah, I have a few girlfriends. We go shopping, and talk about clothes and makeup and commiserate about the assholes they date and marry.
Q: That's not what I meant ...
A: Me neither, at least some of the time. Hence the problem. For instance, I was one of the best friends of the prettiest cheerleader in my high school .. usw. (er, etcetera )
So, if she were reading this (unlikely), I would say something silly like, maybe I spoke a bit too fast on a couple topics while I was 'ministering', and that we should maybe talk about it later. Of course I'd also tell her that he's sorry, and he going to call tomorrow and see her after work, but like I said, she's not likely to read this.
Is it because of some of the hurtful old stories I referred to, in greatly abbreviated form, or the self-depreciating remarks I made? (Unlikely, as many of those stories have been told before under better and worse circumstances, and in fact did not affect me as I lived through them, due to unhealthy psychological defense mechanisms.. and self-depreciating remarks are the norm ..)
Is it because I drove home alone (the norm anyway)?
Or are my "impenetrable" walls of uncaring and coldness (emotional insulation) chipping away (as I has happened before)?
What a weekend (and not over yet) ..