There are lots of people who I have met through LiveJournal and through fandom who I like in lots of different ways. Please don't go jumping to conclusions; I'm not sure that these necessarily include romantic ways, though they certainly are wonderful ones in which to like and be liked, so long as there is genuine reciprocation. Romance is not the be all and end all of friendship.
Oh, and SEX SEX SEX SEX. (Ha! That got you to look at this lj-cut, didn't it?) There, I've said it. It's incorrect to say that it isn't a related issue to this discussion, but it would also be wrong to overstate its importance - at least, in the discussion I want to have right now. For me, I currently think of sex as being a subset of romance; sex is not the be all and end all of romance, much as romance is not the be all and end all of friendship. I know this isn't the way that everyone thinks about it and more power to you and your partner or partners if you all have a different attitude towards it which works for you. My current attitude isn't necessarily the attitude towards it that I want to have all my life, either. However, I don't want to focus on this one issue in this discussion.
Friendships can be tricky when people decide they want different things, but I hold it to be inalienably wrong to try to hold that people shouldn't be free to want different things from a friendship, or to coerce people to change their behaviour when they truly do want different things from a friendship.
I've noted that from time to time I've been poor at gracefully accepting a compliment; particular examples were that expetesso and black_dog both left wonderfully kind remarks on this journal which I never acknowledged at the time. It took me an awfully long time to Friend them back and I felt bad about taking so long to do so, simply because I felt awkward about not having responded to their awfully decent comment in the first place.
Sometimes I find it difficult to be liked, that I somehow don't feel confident that those who say they like me possibly could. This comes after, despite my flaws and failings, demonstration and confirmation that there are people who genuinely do like me. It's a strange thing to find difficult and I don't know how to learn how to find it less difficult. Maybe it's all tied up with not liking myself; the old "if I don't like myself, how can anyone else like me?" saw.
Furthermore, I get the impression that I'm not alone in this; there are some of you who I like a lot but get the impression that you might not be comfortable being liked by me, or that I might like you in a different way to the way you like me. No names, no pack drill; this isn't intended to be a prelude to a declaration of great and t00by love, I'm more interested in a discussion of a general point. If I like you and you like me but we like each other in different ways, then that's simultaneously slightly sad and perfectly OK. I have a feeling that it would benefit us all to work on the good parts of slightly mismatched friendships being better than the bad parts being bad.
The general issue, as rambly, unfocused and 5am as it is, is that of being ready to be liked. If someone were to surprise me with an expression that they liked me in a way in which I didn't think they liked me - and, no, this is not me intending to fish for compliments (*) - then I hope I could learn to accept it in the spirit it was intended. I also hope that as a human race we can all improve on this front so that more compliments do not get mis-taken. (No, I haven't been stonewalled recently; that's not a hidden agenda here.)
Of course I have specific individuals in mind when making this post, but the general discussion is what's important here. I'll only start with the specifics of who I like, how I would like to like them and how I would like them to be liked by me when I know how people feel about the generalities. If you suspect that there might be a specific coming your way, please don't think that I'm particularly looking for your views on the matter; I'd like to treat this as generally as possible. After all, there could be a specific coming to any of you - and also to some who aren't on the friends list. It's an aspect of human nature that we all need to think about for ourselves and where I think we can just about all benefit from trying to improve.
I went on holiday with my family to Virginia in 1987 and we went to the Busch Gardens theme park one day. There was a queue for the dodgem cars there, and an entertainer in the queue who called himself Hans and cheered those waiting up with his wacky antics. He had a purported game show called "Fishing for Compliments" in which players put their hands into a bowl full of fish-shaped pieces of paper and drew out one which had a compliment thereupon. Definitely a purported game show rather than a practicable one, but it has always stuck with me ever since. My mother drew what was apparently the star compliment: "You are worth more than silver and gold."
While we're doing this blockquoted lj-cut sidebar, let's do the "which of the 100 most populated US cities have you visited?" dammit-it's-not-a-meme:
1 New York City, NY 8,008,278; Nimbus - 2003 and the World Puzzle Championship, 2000
2 Los Angeles, CA 3,694,820; GSC 5, 1996
5 Philadelphia, PA 1,517,550; visiting aunt in Virginia, 1987
12 Indianapolis, IN 781,870; before visit to games con, 2001 (+/- 1)
15 Columbus, OH 711,470; games cons, 2000-2002
21 Washington, DC 572,059; visiting aunt in Virginia, 1987
39 Atlanta, GA 416,474; GSC 5, 1996
90 Chesapeake, VA 199,184; visiting aunt in Virginia, 1987
94 Richmond, VA 197,790; visiting aunt in Virginia, 1987
I'm somewhat surprised that Orlando, FL and Atlantic City, NJ(?) don't make the list, as they would definitely have been counted as places visited. All these numbers definitely look very low to me; I guess this is just the difference between counting city limits and counting metro areas.
On top of those nine visited, I've definitely passed through at least six others on Greyhound buses. :-)
I'm still not in a great mood. Definitely a better mood than I was 15-16 hours back, though; after all, while I meant what I said earlier, I was literally blowing off steam. Rule #34b of LiveJournal states that you shouldn't take anything that anyone who says that they're mad or that they're blowing off steam too seriously. (Rule #34 of LiveJournal states that you shouldn't take anything that anyone... says... too seriously, full stop.)
Have caught up with my Friends page; I've looked at about 60 Friends' journals since before I left for Nimbus and just about everyone's journal since two or three days ago. While it's great to read about lots of other folk's Nimbuses, it makes me wonder about other Nimbus experiences I could've - or should've? - had, whether I'd've enjoyed them or not and whether I'm truly capable of enjoying a Nimbus which did go differently-better in some respect. If I'm not, then what can I do about this? What can I realistically expect to get out of a Nimbus at all? What should I be looking for?
Still pretty gloomy thoughts, I admit, but I expect to have fairly gloomy thoughts for the next few days - all a part of the feeling bad I mentioned a couple of days back. However, I know that with time, it'll pass; hopefully, there'll be a few interesting and positive thoughts among the gloom as well. Maybe something completely unexpected will come along to cheer me up tomorrow, like a discussion of a much beloved but half-forgotten 1980s computer game. (Not such a discussion, though, as it wouldn't be unexpected - something like that discussion.) Oh yes, I've taken photos of the souvenirs I've brought back from Nimbus, which I'll post soon.
*drums fingers* Let's finish with a Tim Vine gag. Life's always had it's ups and downs. I was born in a lift. (That's a joke which works on a number of levels.)