Dear Tell All: I've always considered myself a good judge of people, but I'm starting to wonder. My newer friendships have been blowing up in my face lately.
I tend to be picky about the people I hang out with, but when I meet someone who looks promising, I usually ask them out for lunch. On those rare occasions when there's real chemistry, I find it very exciting. I throw myself into getting to know the person, as well as sharing stuff about myself. After we establish a certain level of trust, the intimacy deepens. To me, that's the meaning of life right there - making a profound connection with another human being.
But lately, some of those profound relationships have been breaking down. A couple of people I thought I'd gotten to know well have turned inexplicably cold. One guy responds to only about half of my emails, which is very hurtful. Another person has had dinner parties with mutual friends and not invited me, even though I thought I'd become a part of the group.
It all makes me doubt my judgment. I try to be careful, only letting myself become vulnerable to people I think will come through for me. But if even these people keep letting me down, maybe I don't have the insight into the human heart that I thought I did.
Friend to the End
Dear Friend: To me, it sounds like you're setting yourself up for disaster by going into these relationships with such high expectations. If you're hoping to find the meaning of life with someone you've recently met, odds are you'll be disappointed almost every time. And it's possible your intensity about friendship feels burdensome to the people you're getting to know.
I could teach you a more moderate approach to relationships, but it would take some time. Shall we have lunch?