Networking Season

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My name is L. Jay Echoes. I mostly go by Jordan, but I'll answer to Jay too. I am a writer, artist, and composer.

The first thing you need to know about me is that I divide my time and activity into what I shall call "seasons." This means that, for anywhere between a week and a few months, I will primarily concentrate on one part of my persoanl growth/social development (writing, for instance) and include everything else as an auxillary hobby. Unless this is currently a Networking season, it may take me a few days to respond to messages or comments. I will head my profile page with whatever predominant activity just so that you'll know what to expect.

What I desire out of my personal relationships, at least at this point in my life, is moral support. I seek out people who offer refuge and validation. This involves confident and thick-skinned but patient and soft-spoken individuals who are generally much older than I am but are definitely more experienced. This is not to say that I exclude anyone weaker than I am, but when it comes to close friendship, I need someone who can handle me emotionally.

Now, as for what you can expect out of me as a friend.

I am a very spontaneous, sincere individual. I value honesty, creativity, humor, specificity, and flexibility. I specialize in acquired taste, so you can expect some avante garde music and stories from me. I'm rather reclusive when I'm working on my personal projects, and I generally prefer to err on the side of giving other people too much personal space. That doesn't mean I won't go out of my way to meet and interact with you, but I won't persist with poor respondants. I also like to have in-depth analytical conversations. Any subject I'm not familiar with, I'll just ask a bunch of questions. I'm considerably good at keeping a conversation going if I've app

My cons, as far as I know, are as follows: offering consolation, financial support, and confidentiality. If something's gone wrong in your life, I won't know what to say. You need to go to somebody who's good at gauging other people's pain. I don't have a lot of money myself; that which I can spare, I usually spend on books. Also, I don't like the burden of having to keep secrets. I do my best not to gossip, but be aware that if you share something personal with me (I once ruined a surprise party by letting it slip), I may let it slip during face-to-face conversation.

Now, I haven't seen the need to block anyone. The worst I've ever had to do is delete comments, but for those interested in not being douchebags , here are the things I can't stand.

• Praising something that has harmed me
• Dumping on something that has helped me
• Appealing to hypocrisy
• Strawmaning
• Assumed Intimacy
• Micromanagement

I try to assume the best of people, and I know that I'll inexplicably do some of this once in a while. I don't have quite as much a problem with it in writing as I do in person, but I won't interact with someone who looks like they're trying to start a dumb argument. I'll get more specific in my journal and blog posts.


jechoes90 #4502
Fur Affinity

Latest Journal

Should I have expected this?

on 5 July 2018 at 07:47:54 MDT

Once I completed my drawing season, I wrote an itenerary for what would constitute the duration of my networking season. Obviously, quite a bit of that had to do with my getting more involved in the fandom, particularly concerning meat space meetups.

Now, I haven't sought out friendships with my own general age group since I was a teenager (I'm 28, just fyi). My dad was particularly critical of my generation to the point of paranoia and never made the effort to facilitate friendships on my behalf, so my social navigation is below average, at best. I think this is something both he and my mother regret; anyway, I'm working on my recovery. On the whole, I think the relationships I'm building are turning out very well; I'm learning more about what I am and am not willing to put up with, I'm interacting with a variety of personalities, I'm much less shy about talking to people, and I'm not afraid to ask for help when I need it.

But I have a concern about the fandom as a whole; this is going to sound like a hasty generalization, but I'm writing this to combat a bias that my brain is attempting to form. It's beginning to look like the furries are the new "cool kids," sort of in the way that nerds went from the guys who were picked on in school to the super-intellectual masterminds in college and business. While I have witness the occasional shit-talk on this or that forum, take a look at all the super successful anthro-themed movies and games that the fandom has adopted over the years: FIve Nights at Freddy's. Zootopia. Undertale. Night in the Woods. Bojack Horseman. Aggretsuko. Masterworks such as these speak volumes more than any jackass remark on a forum or comment section.

And that brings me to my own personal experience with the cool kids.

Last Friday, I went to what was technically my third meet-up. I'd mistakenly attended a cancelled one, and I open-invited my telegram chat group to a coffee shop a few days later. That second one turned out quite well; a church friend, my sister, and a friend of hers came along for a game of Mah Jhong. The following weekend had me really excited; I couldn't wait to see what furries were like in person.

I arrive at the resteraunt as the fifth attendee. A group of people are sitting outside on the porch. I recognize one of them from the meet-up I organized and approach them. "Are you guys the furs?" I say, and extend my hand. I just get a perplexed stare in response. A few of the other guys acknowledge me, and I take a seat. The conversation returns to whatever it was before I arrived.

A sixth guest arrives and we go inside. The guy whose hand I shake I actually recognize, and I ask him if he'd been in a certain class several years back. The moment I get his attention, he gives me this shifty look, almost as if to say, "Why the fuck are you even talking to me? You're not one of us." Once we find a seat, the conversation starts up. It's again a topic I can't join in on because I'm not in the know with this group. I put up with this for about fifteen minutes; another guy arrives and barely acknowledges me. I start to choke emotionally. I ease myself away from the table, telegram an apology, and drive home.

I am now in the process of working it out with the group, which consists of 29 people total. Of the seven who I'd "met" (they barely even introduced themselves, even when I asked who was who), only one had the sensitivity to check on me after I left. Since then, another guy has come up and spoken to me personally, and I was invited to a two-man meet-up last night. That went better, although I sort of had to "muscle" my way into the conversation. I'm not quite sure of my standing with the other guy.

I've said over and over to various people that what I expect out of my relationships is emotional support. I'm not very adept socially; I'm at my best when writing letters rather than having live conversation. I get tongue-tied, trip over my words, repeatedly ask if what I have to say makes sense, and try to mitigate misunderstandings by being microanalytically precise. The mishap at the furmeet wasn't anything new; the college-age Sunday school group didn't do much to include me, except for a handful of people. I don't blame anyone in particular; group dynamics usually fall into a pattern of interaction where everyone mingles with the people they are most familiar with with an occasional good Samaritan swearing in the new guy.

This situation left me particularly hurt because of my preconceived notions about the kind of personality any given furry will reputedly have. I know there are quite a few insult comedians in the group whose chief appeal isn't social warmth (Digby Hirsche comes to mind, as does Poink T. Weasel), but the overwhelming majority of praise for the fandom, at least as far as I've seen, comes from a natural desire to be as welcoming and accepting as newcomers and outsiders are comfortable. Having a handshake ignored is something I'd expect from the high school jocks; not to mention that this is Mississippi, which is supposed to be the friendliest state.

I've been in worse emotional condition before. I know that, while going through it is rough, it will eventually come to pass, but I've learned something new about myself that I never thought was possible: I'm in need of physical affection. Not sex, or romantic contact, just plain physical affection. Virtual hugs don't cut it. Stuffed animals don't cut it. The two dogs I take for a walk every once in a while don't cut it.

After asking who, in my hometown group, had a fursuit, I suggested we have a cuddle party at my apartment next winter. I was half-joking. I hear a lot of horror stories about false rape allegations and romantic evenings gone wrong. I think I'm the kind of person who's all or nothing when it comes to embraces; It's been so long since I've been in a sincere one that I don't know how to feel about it…

I suppose the gist of all this is that I want emotionally supportive relationships, and I'm just not finding them in the place I'd hoped to. Interacting with the furry group here (which seems very cliquish so far) takes more energy than I have to offer. I usually treat any personal offense to me to be a weakness on my part; but I can't build up emotional strength by myself. The stock advice, "don't let it get to you" has lost all its use, if it ever had any to begin with. People who say this probably don't know what they are talking about, or simply don't process emotional pain in the same way.

At this point, the only thing really at stake is my preconceived notions. It's not out of the question that I was sanctimonious in my quest for friendship. I don't necessarily need to find it inside the fandom, but I do need to find someone who isn't bothered by my association with the fandom.

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Joined 18 November 2016

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    Thanks a lot for the watchhhh OwO

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    Hey thanks for watching me here on Weasyl too! :)

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    Many thanks for following me! :)

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    Thank you for the watch!
    A bit of a generic compliment, but just to display your kindness didn't go unnoticed!

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      Sure thing, happy to see your work... But I'm not sure what you're referring to. My kindness... a comment on a picture? I can't remember what I did in the past couple of days...