I have become quite the misanthrope. (#2 has always been one and welcomes #1 to the club.)
That’s not to say I actively *dislike* people, just that I’m not seeking people out. I’m not trying to get to know people better unless we hit it off right away. I’m no longer curious about what makes most folks tick.
I didn’t used to be this way. For the longest time as long as a person wasn’t a bully I would like them. I liked crazy people who were always getting themselves into trouble.* I liked people other folks would find annoying. I liked anybody who would put up with me.
I think I figured out why I no longer like so many people. Part of it, of course, is family life and work demands that lead me to not have as much time for other people’s craziness.**
But the main part, I think, and the part that came as a revelation, is that I used to have a growth mindset about people. If they did something I found annoying, like constantly making the same stupid decisions that hurt themselves, well, that was something that could be fixed. That was something *I* could fix.
But I no longer try to fix people, other than my students whose math anxiety I carefully remove as part of my job. (That’s a healthy level of fixing people, I think, and they’re receptive and it’s necessary.)
And since I no longer try to fix people, that means any annoyingness, any self-destruction… that’s permanent, and not temporary. It isn’t interesting because I’ve seen it before and there’s no reason to explore the insanity any further because there’s nothing I can do except be silent witness. And I’d rather not do that. Not when there’s work to do and family to hang out with.
Part of being older is realizing that I don’t like as many people as I used to… and more importantly, that I don’t really care that much. (Though I do feel bad that I don’t care, to paraphrase Brittney in The Misery Chick episode. Daria says that makes me a good person, even though I suspect I’m really not.)
*Disclaimer: #2 was crazy when I met her, but I liked her because we shared hobbies and world-views and she was smart and funny and definitely not because I found her craziness interesting, because I didn’t find her craziness particularly interesting because it was too self-destructive and was definitely beyond my ability to even to try to change, though I did get her a book. She helped herself with the help of professionals.
**Of course, we always like you, gentle readers. Our readers are AWESOME. Or at least our commenters are awesome. We assume our silent readers are as well. They at least have great taste in blogs, which is a good sign.
Have your views on or desire to hang out with random members of the human race changed over time?