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Nov. 12th, 2015

So more than a year ago I (largely) cut ties with Facebook. I didn’t do this because they were a crazy mega-corp selling my information to the highest bidder, or because in my day people got by without their Facebooks or their Tinders. I left because I found that the combination of FOMO, seeing everyone’s achievements, and and seeing everyone’s failures was causing me substantial mental harm.

However, in our modern, connected society, and especially within my particular social circles, not being connected to Facebook has had a substantial adverse influence on my social well-being. In that same interval, the number of conversations that have started with some assumption that I know what’s happening in people’s lives, in spite of them not having spoken with me since the last con, is astounding. Of it’s own right I would normally consider that a good thing; it means that we don’t have to make small talk, and there’s exciting news to discuss. However, in practice each of those events comes across very negatively; like they’re hurt I didn’t know about it despite me not having a way to know.

I know some of it is exacerbated by the fact that I appear on Facebook. My posts to Tumblr, Twitter, and the Camera Ninjas all end up on people’s feeds, and it can give the impression that I’m active there, but in reality, I’m making an active effort to stop myself from exploring Facebook. It’s not that I don’t want to know what’s happening with my friends, but getting bombarded daily with the best and worst of everything happening to everyone was crippling. You can’t go 5 minutes on Facebook without being reminded how ineffectual you are, how privileged you are, or how much fun everyone else is having without you. I had to do something about it.

So this begs a practical question. I want to be better about socializing. I have to be better at networking if I want to not starve in the upcoming changes. But the question is: how?

I think a big part of answering that question is going to be in skills development. When I think about my long range plans, I think about how much time I want to spend on skills development and all the cool things I can make. But I need to be more than that. I need to think about who I can work with, and how I'm going to maintain those relationships. I'm planning to set aside some time to work on managing the grunt work of my business, but I need to set aside the time to manage the relationships in both my personal life and my professional life. I need to budget time for "doing lunch." I'm not really a "doing lunch" kind of guy, but I think it's high past time I consider becoming that guy. I don't hate doing lunch, it's just that when I've got work to do, it's easy to see the extra time and effort to get the logistics worked up and the break from my regime as a hazard.

Heck, it might be a good time to work on that in and of itself. I work desperately to cram everything together so that every action has it's time and place, and that everything is cordoned off into it's appropriate little bucket. This really shows in my handling of games and game nights. You want my attention; book it at a fixed time. I will build it into the schedule, and it will be a thing. Want me out for drinks? Put it on my books 2 weeks in advance and it'll work.

It's not like I have any real schedule beyond these kinds of things. Maybe I'm using it as an adaptation mechanism? Maybe it's because the last 27 or so years of my life have had to be regimented in order to meet demands. But I think it's high time I work on being spontaneous. I turned down taco night because I was afraid to break the regime. I didn't deal with this work thing because I was afraid of unsettling my status quo. Time to stop being afraid and allow myself to grab some of these opportunities.

I'm not saying I should through caution and planning to the wind, but I shouldn't be afraid to reschedule something. I should know my priorities and do what it takes to pursue them. Hanging out with cool people is more important to me than making a number bigger in a video game, and I should live my life as though I mean that, rather than just using video games to hide from my life when I can't figure out what to do.

I know this is all bluster right now. I have nothing actionable here, and any change you can't start right now is just a bunch of hot air, but hopefully this resolve will stay with me and help push me forward. Doesn't fix my Facebook question directly, but if I take the time to invest in my relationships, the fact that I didn't hear about it on Facebook won't matter; they'll have told me about it themselves!