There were clues all along the way. They meant nothing to me when they happened, but looking back now they stick out like flashing fluorescent signs.
There was the day I shared my college plans with a friend. I’d been accepted to my dream program at a great school. I said I was “really excited to go.” He burst out laughing. A little hurt, I asked why he was laughing at me. He said, “In my whole life I’ve never heard someone say they were excited while looking and sounding so completely not excited at the same time.”
There was the college friend who called me a “pod person,” because she could never get a rise out of me.
And then there was the recurring complaint from friends and eventually, from my wife. I felt fine in our relationships. I thought things were mostly good, but they would say I felt distant to them, or that they couldn’t get to me, or that I wasn’t hearing them. They wondered if we were really even friends.
At the time, I didn’t think any of this really mattered. I was strong. I was able to handle a crisis. I was a clear-headed thinker and problem solver. These complaints were their problem, right?