Kissing is just cuddling with your lips. -Krishna
Question #90153 posted on 07/29/2017 9:50 p.m.
Q:

Dear 100 Hour Board,

How do I connect more deeply with others at work? I work in a very social place but I still feel like I'm not able to open up enough with them on a day to day basis. For example: I'm a guy and there is a girl at work. We like to scream when we get exited about something. xD But besides that there isn't any common ground between us and we've talked about so many things at this point that we might be running out of discussion topics. There have been times when we connected in a really fun way or in a deep way where we were able to discuss what really matters to us as far as family and personal purpose and mission. But there's still an emotional wall between both of us and I have no idea what it is. (Could I ask her about it?)(Or is that just me being weird and worrying about problems that don't exist?) This is just one example among many.

Three main questions I would LOVE to have answered:

.5 HOW DO I BECOME A PERFECT HUMAN?
1. How do I develop deeper relationships in general?
2. When do I talk to someone about emotional walls? and HOW???
3. What if I'm not fun all the time but I want to be more fun because 60% of the time I'm pretty introspective and boring/want to be alone?

-Aspiring Perfect Human

A:

Dear Human After All,

.5 HOW DO I BECOME A PERFECT HUMAN?

The thing about that is that it's impossible, but that's what makes life wonderful. In fact, that's kind of the point of life. Imagine how boring life would be if we were all perfect without trying and had nothing to learn. There'd be no improvement or growth, no reason to be here on Earth at all. A lot of people (especially Mormons) have a perfection complex. In the LDS culture, we're always being reminded of that "be ye therefore perfect" scripture in the NT and implied if not overtly said that if we're not our best selves right now, then we're not doing good enough.

But here's the thing about personal or spiritual perfection: it's not a state of being. It's a process. When I took New Testament as a freshman, one thing my professor said when teaching the Sermon on the Mount lesson really stood out. He told us that when the Savior commanded us to be perfect, He didn't command us to become perfect instantly.

Ultimately, His perfection is our example and His attributes something we work toward but we don't have to achieve it right now to be a good person. In mortality, the way we move towards perfection is more in the little things. Spending time with those we love. Serving our fellow men. Bringing light to other people's lives. The change is not instant--it's gradual and, because it's gradual, lasting. So to get back to your question, none of us are perfect nor will we achieve perfection in this life. We're all just learning. So long as you're working towards bettering yourself, that's something to be proud of.

For some more in-depth reading on a healthier look at perfection, this article delves more into what perfection means and how to improve ourselves in this life.

1. How do I develop deeper relationships in general?

This is a gradual thing, much like developing perfection. One of my friends has been struggling with this very thing, and this insight helped him: for a long time, he'd feel hurt about how nobody reached out to him or cared about him. But one day, he decided to reach out to others. He actively sought out their company, talked to them often, and let them know how much they meant to him. As he made an effort to make others feel loved, he found that love reciprocated back. In time, he felt like the relationships he had were richer and more meaningful.

So I very much echo Anathema's statement below: make an effort to get to know people. Invest yourselves in their lives. Send them a text because you were thinking of them, or bring them ice cream when you know they're having a bad day. In time, relationships will probably strengthen.

2. When do I talk to someone about emotional walls? and HOW???

This is a tough question, and I empathize with you. Personally, my emotional walls are a bit more like an impenetrable box made of titanium, deep-rooted shame, and years of emotional repression. I'm trying to let them down more, and it's getting better, but it takes time. Do you mean, when do you let someone know when you have them? It probably depends on the relationship. Talking to someone about that seems like it would be an intimate conversation. So, in a way, you might need to lower the emotional walls and let yourself be vulnerable a little before it might be time to have that conversation.

Vulnerability, like perfection, is gained in small actions. Part of it involves accepting yourself as worthy of intimacy and letting yourself open up when you'd usually withdraw. So if, when you're talking with this girl she brings up a serious topic you'd usually change the subject about, ease past the discomfort and let yourself talk about it with her. Be honest with her, and let her see both the positive and negative feelings/experiences you have.

When I was a freshman, several people recommended The Gift of Imperfection by Brené Brown, which talks a lot about vulnerability. That might also be helpful while overcoming your emotional walls. I haven't read it since I was a freshman but remember it being very good for understanding and breaking down emotional walls.

3. What if I'm not fun all the time but I want to be more fun because 60% of the time I'm pretty introspective and boring/want to be alone?

Hey there, nothing's wrong with being introspective and a little introverted! Introverts aren't boring by default, and these traits about you aren't, either. Introverts are observant, deep thinkers, independent, and so many other positive things. They may not always seem like the traditional version of "fun" like extroverts, but neither is more interesting than the other.

But being more sociable is a good trait to have sometimes, and strengthening it could be helpful. Maybe become more self-aware and recognize when you're withdrawing and becoming more introspective around others. Push yourself a little bit--if you can, go to a social event you usually wouldn't or strike up conversations with others. Try to focus on getting to know them instead of worrying about whether or not you think they're boring. People really appreciate someone who's listening to them and actively reaching out to them.

Hopefully this helps and makes sense! Just from reading your question, you don't sound boring or incapable of intimate relationships. You sound like an awesome, interesting person to befriend. Let us know if we can help more. You've got this, man!

-Van Goff

A:

Dear Me Too,

.5 HOW DO I BECOME A PERFECT HUMAN?

Oh honey, if I had a way to do that, I would have followed it myself long ago. In truth, the answer is that it's impossible in our current state. No one is going to achieve perfection in this life. Wish it was different, but there you go. Of course you already knew this, but I've noticed there's a difference between knowing something, and actually internalizing something.

1. How do I develop deeper relationships in general?

This may or may not be a recurring theme in basically all my therapy sessions spanning about the last year. The best thing I've found is opening myself up to other people, and then making sure to do things with those people. In addition to this tactic, I've been working on making more surface connections with people in general. It seems as though the more people I talk to even in passing, the more people I make deeper connections with.

If you want deep relationships with people, you're going to have to be willing to put a lot of effort into that relationship. You're going to have to make a concerted effort to spend time with others, and prioritize it over other things in your life.

2. When do I talk to someone about emotional walls? and HOW???

So this is actually something I've never done. Mainly because I'm fairly shy, and it takes a lot of effort to make even the barest lines of communication with people that I feel emotional barriers with. Thus far this has always resulted in me and the person drifting farther apart until we no longer have any place in each other's lives.

I wish I could give you better advice on this, but I honestly don't know the answer. My guess is whatever the timing it's going to be awkward, but life is going to be awkward no matter what, and one awkward conversation can be a small price to pay if it allows you to have a deep relationship with someone.

3. What if I'm not fun all the time but I want to be more fun because 60% of the time I'm pretty introspective and boring/want to be alone?

You realize you're asking this to a group of people who devote significant amounts of time on the internet answering random questions from strangers, which doesn't exactly involve lots of human interaction, right? (Really, this is just my snarky way of saying I relate on a fundamental level to this question). 

Anyways, like I said, I really get this. I spend the majority of my time locked away by myself. Most of my pastimes are solitary, and I don't often go out with other people. As an example, it is currently 2:30, and I have verbalized about a paragraph so far today. I've only interacted with one person face to face, and that's because we share a room. And this is pretty typical for me.

A little over a year ago, my pattern of 0 human interaction, and long bouts of introspection began bothering me. I felt like I was boring and wanted to change (note I don't think people who are given to introspection and like being alone are boring; I'm just saying that's how I felt about myself). So I started trying to do more things spur of the moment. Even if I went out alone, I tried to go out and see new things more.

Perhaps other people don't think how interesting I am has changed at all, but I've noticed that I'm happier when I devote time to developing different pastimes, and perceive myself as more interesting.

~Anathema