Dear 43 Things Users,

10 years after introducing 43 Things to the world, we have decided we have met our last goal: completing the incredible experience that has been 43 Things. Please join us in giving one last cheer to all the folks who have shared their goals with the world, as well as all the people who have worked at The Robot Co-op to build this incredible website. We won a Webby Award, published a book, and brought happiness to a lot of people.

Starting today, 43 Things users can export their goals and entries from the site. Starting August 15, we will make the site “read only”. 43 Things users will still be able to view the site and export their content, but we won’t be taking any new content from users. We hope to leave the site up for folks to see and download their content until the end of the year. Ending on New Year’s Eve takes us full circle.

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As of today, you will be able to download your goals and entries. See more about that on the FAQ page. Thanks for 10 great years of goal-setting and achieving.

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Export My Content

jansu Hello.

learn how to connect (read all 3 entries…)

I wonder what it is I am doing out in the world that prevents this happening for me? This question is one that right now I have time and space to observe.

Just now, reflecting on an interaction I had yesterday, I was struck with a sudden possibly illuminating thought….perhaps part of the problem is that my expectations are too high. Of myself and of others.

Maybe also unconsciously I have been valuing certain interactions more than others instead of what I aspire to, which is accepting everyone for who they are. Oh that’s just ridiculous – as I wrote that I realise that what I am doing there is expecting myself to be perfect. I do accept others for who they are and I am a human being who sometimes makes mistakes!

So what happens?

Well I think it’s to do with my stress levels and anxiety levels. Here I am in the world and my interactions are often shaped by others and not by who I am as a person. My anxiety means that sometimes(and less so these days), it hasmeant that I am constantly searching for feedback in the other person’s face and if i see a flicker of boredom or a yawn or something else negative I would close down immediately!


too high expectations of interactions

What else?

Hmm there is also something that I’ve had for years and very pathetic it is. I tend not to contact people but wait for them to contact me – even people who I regard as friends. Due to my sometimes inaccurate reading of body language and my minute analysis of the words of others,my thinking gets distorted. I think… “won’t send a message, or call or suggest meeting up as the other person doesn’t want me bothering them.” I think this happens online also as I am not particularly wonderful here either.

Another issue is that I think I have nothing to offer. I am conscious of how emotionally needy I can be and don’t want to take all the time. I wonder if people sense this. There is all that stuff about in positive psychology writing about avoiding negative people. Perhaps that is how I am in the world?

And again another issue related to the anxiety is FEAR. That old thing! For example this week I met a new person at work and I feel that we are getting along like a house on fire. I am pacing myself, I’m relaxed and just being myself most of the time. Then creeps up from nowhere that old paranoia, that anxiety, that fear. I know that I often have this connection and then after a while something goes wrong and I cannot seem to progress it or maintain it. It slips away. Must be something to do with how I come across. I think I push people away as i have always felt that once they know the real me they won’t want to know me. Bits of my life just don’t fit sometimes with other bits of my life and I don’t seem to be very thick skinned. Too sensitive.


too high expectations
anxiety/distorted thinking
thinking too much/worry and shame
too much focus on myself instead of the other person
thinking about the outcome rather than enjoying the journey

Right now I wonder how on earth I am here AGAIN writing this entry. I feel as if I am just in an endless cycle, repeating the same learning and not learning from it – years and years of the same failures.

Again that it too harsh – I am miles aways from the person who maybe wrote something similar 20 years ago or 10 years ago.It’s just that there is something missing and I can’t quite grasp that bit of the learning – maybe I never will.

The person I met this week. I absolutely love her and want to nurture the connection I feel there is. So what stops me? Just my own thoughts about not being quite her sort of person and my knowing that I am really not – or the outer look of my life does not reflect the inner. It’s not about changing myself into someone I am not. It’s about letting the person I am shine through and not being ashamed of any part of me or of any part of my life. Keeping my love for the other person and not comparing myself and finding I fall short. We are all different and all the same – it’s about balancing that.


asking for what you want

I hear what you’re saying. That whole “give what you hope to recieve” thing is only an iffy guideline. What if the OTHER person doesn’t value what you do, and what they’d most like to recieve is something totally different from what you would? So in offering them what YOU’D like to recieve from a friend they go away and feel all huffy that they didn’t get what THEY most wanted.

I have this problem all the time. For example, one of my best friends right now is a lady who has told me she likes hugs. But I don’t really feel comfortable hugging anyone but my little boy. He and I have this lifetime history of being totally snuggly together, so for us it’s natural. For me to hug other people, though, always feels artificial. I worry if somehow I’m doing it wrong, or if they didn’t really want me touching them. Lots of times I don’t really want people touching me, so I could understand that position.

But then where does that leave my friendship with the lady who LIKES hugs? If I don’t hug her, will she still know I like her, and feel supportive of her? The thing is, if she ever asks me for a hug I’m happy enough to give her one, but I’m not likely ever going to initiate one under normal circumstances. But I do still love her.

Likewise, if someone says they love me or gives me a compliment, am I supposed to automatically reflect that back and tell them I love them and give them a compliment too? My instinct is to just accept what they say, and feel good about it, and send my love and compliments at other times when it feels inspired by something other than mere reflection. But maybe that leaves some people feeling like I am cold and unresponsive, or even greedy, accepting their offerings and giving nothing back.

I don’t know how to answer it. I stumble along just like you describe, and generally don’t even expect people to stay friends with me beyond a couple of months anymore. Except for my friendships here, I think I’ve only ever had ONE friendship that didn’t eventually get all awkward and fall away.

I’m starting to feel like the friendships I have here, though, are the ones that matter most to me. If I have issues with social cues or body language, then that doesn’t have to stop me from having good interactions here. The people here are every bit as real to me, and often REALER, than the folks I know in passing in my 3D life.

Just as a question… what is it that you would like to recieve, in order to feel recharged and full? Could you possibly ever just ASK for exactly what you want? Instead of playing a guessing game where you hope others will get the hint and reflect back to you whatever you are offering them, what would happen if you just confessed exactly how you feel, and presented folks with an opportunity to give you exactly what you needed to feel better?

Sometimes we want others to “just know” because we think that means they really care. But maybe they just don’t operate on the same wavelengths. Maybe they would be thrilled and privileged to be able to have the answer as to how to make you feel better! Maybe asking for what you want could be the same as giving them an opportunity to be a hero!

I know that for my part, if you asked me for a fish I wouldn’t give you a snake. Maybe somebody in the world would be that heartless, but then you would have just learned something pretty valuable about THAT person, wouldn’t you?

(This comment was deleted.)

jansu Hello.

Thanks Crunchy for your reply

Sorry i did not respond earlier! I need to think on this one really – your question about what I want and if I could ask people for what I want, is a challenging one. Needs some thinking on.

First thoughts are that it’s nothing that “they” can give me. Just what i can give myself, that will help me feel better. Also it’s not that I want them to make me feel better. I think it’s about my accepting them and them accepting me – warts and all. Back to those high expectations again! Just not feeling like a square peg and all knotted up with anxiety all the time.

Also about what it is exactly that I “bring to the table” ?

And if I confess what I want would “they” run away as fast as they could? lol

Thanks again Crunchy – it really helps to think on these things. I’m glad you’ve found a safe place here and good friends. I like it here too but sometimes still get scared and feel like running!

Sometimes just being with other people makes me feel less myself. Weird or what?


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