Welcome to our church!

People are awkward.

Several weeks back I saw someone at the church I’ve been attending who I wanted to get to know better (read, was physically attracted to said person). We’ll call this person Jordan. At a church social I introduced myself, got talking with Jordan and their friends, and before I knew it was scheduled to go get coffee with Jordan and some friends of theirs. The day of the coffee outing came, we went and I had a great time. I got to ride there and back with Jordan and found they have some personality/character traits I really appreciate/connect with, we have some things in common, and Jordan still floors me physically.

Naturally I Facebook friend Jordan and others I went with, writing a short sincere message in friending Jordan.

Immediately Jordan’s friends accept my request and write back. Jordan has yet to accept the request or respond. It’s been a month, and I can tell Jordan’s been active on Facebook. If that were the only thing that’d be fine. And to be fair, I’ve only been to church/outings with Jordan’s friends two/three times since the coffee outing. But Jordan also has not approached me in church during passing the peace and hasn’t made it easy to say hi before or after the service. People can converse with friends in such a way that they are ready to expand their conversational circle, or they can stand pretty closed-off-like which is mostly what I’ve seen. I haven’t really heard anything back from Jordan’s friends since then either.

Well, this hurts. I get it that Jordan is not interested. That’s been made painfully clear. Was it necessary to go so far as to just reject me as a person? I am the new person at the church, I reached out and then I got shunned. Or at least that’s how it feels on a rainy day like today.

Giving the benefit of the doubt, I know interacting with people you have recently met or hardly know can be awkward and difficult. Perhaps no one is really to blame here. Or perhaps it’s all my fault. Perhaps I shouldn’t be so shy and should just try a little harder to include myself in that chatty circle of friends after the service? Perhaps I should not care about how the situation feels and just make sure to say hi to Jordan and chat if we can? Or perhaps I should never have introduced myself, should have known they have a significant other (which I still don’t know), should have known they aren’t into people of my sex (which I don’t know)?

You can probably tell I’m a verbal processor (hmm, not a computer processor: I am a processor of words… I weigh them, spit them out, receive feedback and repeat). My hope is that through writing about this, and getting responses, I can understand the situation better and more clearly discern what I should do now and should anticipate in similar future circumstances. Do you know what I mean?

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3 thoughts on “Welcome to our church!

  1. devilatdivschool Post author

    Since writing this post, I have been told by a friend also attending this church that my experience there is in fact not unique. Other friends of mine have also felt excluded by the circles that be. That is somewhat reassuring to my wounded self-esteem. But also quite troubling.

    How does a society that exists for the purpose of bringing others in fail so unconsciously, so miserably?

    Reply
  2. Jimmy

    Well, friend, I think a careful reader can see you know the difference between a facebook relationship and a real one. I also think your and your friend’s experience at this church is probably more common than it ought to be. I know I’ve often found it difficult to form relationships in church contexts, especially when there was an element of attraction or interest involved. For sensitive types like us, I think it’s sometimes necessary to just bite the bullet and reject the fear of rejection. That means walking up to the closed-off circle of friends and simply assuming that you are a normal member of the group. Eventually, people will forget that at first they (intentionally or unintentionally) acted like ass holes and assume that you were always part of the group. I’ve observed this happen more than I’ve actually done it myself. The other option is to look for individuals or communities who are more welcoming; this is the route I’ve tended to take. But it’s often a painful process anyway. Even as a married person in grad school, I’m often surprised at the people I encounter who show little or no interest in getting to know others, or at least in getting to know me. But all the same I’ve found a handful who are open and willing to form new relationships, and I try to focus on those few and not worry about the rest (despite my consternation). I also tend to think that if a group I want to be part of is exclusive and unwilling to welcome others, it’s probably not actually a group I want to be part of. And if the person I’m interested in (this is hypothetically speaking now) primarily operates in that kind of group, then I view that fact as a big hit to the attractiveness of the person. All the same, people are very often unaware of how their behavior effects others, and sometimes I attach far too much significance to small events which in fact meant nothing to the person on the other end. So it’s possible that you have a similar situation (in fact, I know I sometimes am active on facebook while ignoring my friend requests or messages for months at a time).

    Anyway, there’s some verbal processing back at ya. I’m still thinking about the red pill and will address that in my next treatise 🙂

    Reply

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