The Best Defense is a Good Offense

The enemy approaches. Stand your ground.

A woman once told me that I can’t be friends with everyone. I told her if I’m not friends with everyone it won’t be due to a lack of trying on my part. I can understand why a person wouldn’t want to open up to everyone. What I can’t understand is why people seek to limit their experiences.

People are particular about who they keep company with. That’s understandable. Enemies do exist. I’ve had my fair share of bad experiences. Love and loss define me. It makes sense to have guidelines for whom we choose to let in. How should we go about deciding who makes the cut?

I’m sure all of us have fallen out of touch with old friends. It’s been months since I’ve heard from my pen pal. I’ve removed people from my Facebook friend list who I haven’t spoken to in years. It hurts to say goodbye to people you know. Why would we make friends with those we know we can’t keep? It saves heartache to not let anyone in.

All of us have our own defense mechanisms. We try to protect our fragile hearts from abuse. I’ll provide three examples of how we choose to combat the oncoming threat of human connection.

1. The Loner

You’ll find plenty of loners at my college. A good day for them is spent in front of a laptop. They rarely go outside and don’t make any attempts to meet new people. You’d have to drag them out of their apartments for them to make human contact with anyone.

A little “me” time can be a healthy thing. You have to get away from people every now and then. A loner is one who gorges on alone time. People are not designed to be alone.

2. Selective Isolation

Can you count your friends on your fingers? Personally, I prefer to carry as many as I can in my arms.

Many people choose to get by on just the one friend or maybe two. They will form a tightknit group which doesn’t allow for any new members. The group itself has its own mindset and mentality. The only difference between them and the loners is that they are alone together.

3. Casual Reasoning

Ever had someone tell you they just want to be friends with you? Many people tell me that. I have no idea where they are now.

Keeping things casual maintains a connection with people by way of a weak bond. The bond can be severed any time at either person’s convenience. This method allows you to have the social aspect of a relationship without investing any deeper feelings. You will not have many arguments together because you won’t care all that much about what the other person thinks. When they say goodbye you won’t miss them. Friends will become replaceable things to you. Love will not be sought for nor appreciated.

Armistice

Most of the people we meet are not bad. We are mostly defending ourselves from ordinary men and women. It took only a few bullies at school and a lot of name calling to push me to strengthen my defenses. The problem is that once you’ve become so good at protecting yourself from others you realize you don’t know how to handle being around real friends. What good is a soldier in times of peace?

I was lonely as a child. I became so good at taking care of myself that I failed to learn how to rely on others. Being the only one to build up your self-esteem for so long makes it difficult to let others contribute.

We must not view each other as enemies or threats. A bad experience with a few people does not make the rest of mankind faulty. We risk so much more by not opening up to others. Armor can be so thick it becomes a prison. Instead, we need to go on the offensive. Never stop seeking your next new friend. As for me, I don’t carry a shield anymore. I have already surrendered to those who feel I’m worth fighting for.

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