I live in a small town where there's not enough people to go around. This may be a good thing or not such a good thing depending on on whom you ask.
My take on this, is that because there are so few people, and because of the nature of our frum lifestyle.....no one can HIDE.
Unlike in bigger communities, where many people get lost in the shuffle.
Or the social outcasts, who are usually afraid to leave their cozy cacoon, are forced to leave their comfort zone.
I'm wondering if in a big frum community, you are "looked up to" if you are self sufficient and independent. If you have your friends and family to back you up so you don't have to "come onto anyone else."
And if you are busy with your career, well, that's even better!
Because then you REALLY are not vulnerable.
You just have to have your kids dressed well, your house immaculate and well run, and you're good to go! Oh, and your children have to be part of the "in" crowd.
Who needs friends? You're building a bayis Neeman byisroel. You don't have time for those stupidities!
You need to do things that have a PURPOSE... (Like - uh- makings sure that the toilet is sparkling clean? And color code all your toy boxes?) You need to do things that have long term EFFECTS.... (Such as uh - parenting classes - where you're gonna learn the importance of teaching your kids to clean up after themselves. )
Me and my friend always joke how it's not socially appropriate in the frum world to want to have friends.
And besides, it's very convenient for all those social outcasts, or introverted individuals to hide under the guise of "I'm busy taking care of my family."
(And you're sitting there thinking, am I crazy? I'd love to have friends. I'd love to socialize a bit more. But maybe I'm not an ishah ksheirah for having those needs. So let me just shove them under the rug and make believe those needs don't exist.)
Which brings me to the point I am trying to make.
There are two different kinds of people in this world. (See the difference between red grapes and green grapes)Some are relationship SEEKERS and some are relationship AVOIDERS.
The seekers are the people who are constantly seeking relationships OUTSIDE of themselves. They have a harder time creating their own IDENTITY. They are so busy looking outside of themselves to find out who they are. They tend to also USE people to keep them comfortable.
They think that everyone is BETTER than them. They don't have any SELF WORTH. So they lower themselves to everyone else's levels. People can be DISGUSTING to them, yet they don't even notice it.
All they want is a relationship from someone else.
In a nutshell, they don't know how to give another person space.
They can be NEEDY and CLINGY to the point that people get annoyed at them. They don't know how to live in their OWN SKINS and live their OWN REALITIES.
Then you have the AVOIDANTS. They are the people who avoid relationships in their lives. Not because they don't WANT it. They DO want relationships. They are just....... AFRAID.
They tend to be more sensitive. And being in a relationship will inevidently result in some misunderstandings, hurt feelings, and disappointments.
Of course, as people who live amongst people we need to have INTERDEPENDENCE. Where sometimes we are connected to OTHER PEOPLE and sometimes we are connecting TO OURSELVES.
This is the nature of a relationship. This is the POINT of a relationship.
To have two different people with two different views two different needs, as well as two different natures. And to slowly...... Very slowly....work things out - TOGETHER.
Even if this is not your marriage.
Marriage is NOT the only venue for relationships.
So, back to the avoidents.
They are afraid of getting hurt. So they go into their little shells. So as to avoid pain.
And also to show everyone that they are "better" than everyone else. Because they don't "need anything" from anyone. They have their jobs down pat. They have their house under control. And they have their kids towing a line.
What else do they need?
Well, maybe just maybe, they are missing the JOY of a relationship.
The feeling of connecting to someone else's soul. The benefits that real true friendship comes with. The ability to TRUST someone. The gift of ACCEPTANCE that relationships can bring. The ability for GROWTH - Internal growth that only comes from CONNECTION.
No one person is "better" than anyone else. No one person is "less" than anyone else. Each of us (especially as Jews) are of equal value. Hashem created each and every one of us with the same amount of love and compassion. Some people may have more potential, some people may be blessed with more gifts, but that doesn't make him have more VALUE.
I believe that every sect in Judaism has different ideas that are stressed.
Because of the way our frum Torah world is set up, there is ALOT of room for avoidants to feel at ease and not need to move out of their comfort zone.
They can walk around with their nose up in the air, and feel "better" than everyone else, just by DOING NOTHING.
And yet, I sometimes feel so bad for them. Because they are really missing out on one of the great joys of life. They are afraid of making a leap, yet they will be so much happier on the other side.
The example that comes to mind is a person who's afraid of swimming. They think they are happy by not entering the water, yet all those people in the pool are having a blast!
They are sacrificing their IMMEDIATE COMFORT for ULTIMATE HAPPINESS.
Because there is no pleasure that can compare to the pleasure of having a REAL AUTHENTIC RELATIONSHIP.
So, back to the beginning.
I am grateful that I live in a small enough community where people are forced to need each other and thereby no one can escape into their "I'm better than you" modes by not having time for any relationships outside of their families.
And the people that are THAT stubborn that keep their noses so high even over here...... Well, let me tell you, they are suffering ALOT!