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.

It has been a long ride (one of our original goals was to "build a company that lasts at least 2 years” - we beat that one!) While we wish the site could live on, it has suffered from a number of challenges - changes in how people use the site, the advertising industry, and how search engines view the site. We wish the outcome was different – but we’ve always been realistic about when our goals are met and when they aren't.

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.

- The Robots.

Export My Content

J L in Vancouver is doing 16 things including…

make more female friends

68 cheers


J L has written 7 entries about this goal


I guess female co-workers count, don’t they?

We’re all about the same age and geekiness. We can be serious or silly as the situation arise, but we’re always quick to laugh and make fun of ourselves and the situation.

We’re still not cry-on-each-others’-shoulders or even regular visitors to each others’ houses or anything like that. We’re professional colleagues first and foremost. But we get together for lunch, just Da Girlz. And we went to a spa together once. Got drunk, loaded up on junk food and chocolate and we all got pedicures.

I still feel a bit like a fish out of water with all female company though.

Wow, Thank You

I’d like to take a break from my blathering querulousness to thank all of you who have cheered me on this goal. =)


Personality and Communication Mode Mismatches

I think I may have homed in on a part of the reason I don’t like talking to other girls.

Whenever you talk to friends about things that bother you, the Gross Generalization is that men tend to try to help solve your problem when you tell them about it—they’ll ask questions, try to clarify the problem, offer suggestions and options, help weigh pros and cons of each, etc.

Women OTOH, says The Royal ‘They’, tend to just want to listen and sympathize. Some will do this by telling you about a similar situation that happened to them. I think that’s one way to show empathy. No one’s ever told me what physical actions were involved in “sympathizing”, “empathizing” and “relating”, so I suppose that’s what they meant.

I find these Gross Generalizations generally true of the people that have associated with.

So, to me, it feels like women are constantly turning the conversation topic to themselves. Many times, I’ll be thinking, Jeezus, why is it youyouyou again? Can you not say two words without making it all about you?! It’s very off-putting to me because I have trouble talking about my problems to begin with, so when I do, it must be really bothering me.

It’s especially pronounced when they haven’t quite understood my point or have slightly misunderstood me. When that happens, they’ll be going on and on about something totally different. It will feel like they’re changing the subject, ignoring my feelings and marginalizing my experience. And, of course, I hate it. It makes me want to stay away from the person who does it to me.

If this mode of conversation – this trying to relate by expressing a personal experience – is more prevalent in women, it would completely explain why I gravitate towards men as friends more often.

It’s not absolute. I do get annoyed at The Spanish Inquisition descending on my issues too. And sometimes I do want to just be listened to and comforted as well. But it’s not a big surprise that I find male friends better at “just listening and comforting” as well. I think the recent popular culture has taught them that when women vent, they don’t want a solution their problems, they just want to be listened to. So, that’s precisely what men have learned to do.

I don’t know what to do with this realization though. I can’t very well ask people not to do that. If someone can’t be themself around you, then you’re not a very good friend to them.

So far, my natural response has been to avoid female companionship. It’s worked out okay, I guess. But it’s not in line with this goal of making more female friends.

Maybe I should just mark this goal as “Done” and “Not Worth Doing”. That’s a valid outcome too. But that doesn’t quite feel right either.

Another Disconnect

In the space of about a year and a half, I had come to think of him as a close friend, almost family.

At one point, he was between jobs and was nearly hanging on by a thread, financially. He’s in a business where he needs to spend money up front in order to make money. I had offered to lend him some of my savings, interest free of course, if he needed it to pay rent or get groceries or whatever.

He and I seem really different if you observe us for a while. But if you got to know us more in depth, I think you’d see that we’re more similar than we are different. It’s just that our differences are very striking, superficial, very much on the surface. So, people who only know one of us will think we’re incommensurably different. And yet, we became good friends.

It’s another friendship in my life that feels like it’s slowly being disconnected. Nothing deliberate on my part or his. There are no sudden movements. Everything is very civil and courteous. There were no arguments and no storminess. But we’re definitely talking less and less.

I did give him an honest opinion that I think may have been the turning point of our friendship. On the surface, it sounded like he took it really well. I did apologize for the lack of tact and inappropriateness. He said he understood where I was coming from. He understands my brand of honesty, which is something he said he finds rare in people and he’s told me on numerous occassions that he very much appreciates that in me.

But I still wonder.

Invisible Mode is his default state when he logs into his instant messenger now. I know because my chat client actually has a bug where it shows the person coming online and then going offline immediately. It’s way too quick for it to be someone doing it manually. When that happens, I know the person is by default logging in as Invisible.

I sit in Invisible Mode myself while I’m at work, so that I can still be around for emergencies, but not available to talk. He stays online and active much longer if I’m “not there”. He tends not to stay online very long if I’m in an Available/Online state. My chat client also shows if someone has been Online, but idle. He’s never idle for very long if I’m “not there”. But as soon as I go Available/Online, he either goes Invisible or Idle shortly.

He also logs off mid-conversation. Yes, it could be a wonky wireless connection. I don’t discount the possibilities of technical difficulties. But there never seem to be technical difficulties when he wants to talk to me or needs my help on something.

And I find myself in a calm state of acceptance about it. If he wants to talk to me, I’ll very happily chat for a while. But I get the hint, so to speak. This is the way it is with many of the friendship disconnections over the years. We just stop talking as frequently, blame this, that and other vagaries of life.

It’s become easier and easier to pull away from people in general.

Intro Part 3: Connections

That aside, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve become much less enthusiastic about embracing and accepting friends with all the flaws and drama that come with them. The patience I’ve had with people has dropped at an alarming rate. I used to be more motivated to be patient with people because I wanted to be accepted and befriended as well. I don’t have the desire to be accepted by anyone else anymore and therefore, have lost the motivation to be patient and understanding to the same degree as the people within my immediate circle.

And generally, getting together with friends means spending money. Since I was on a mad money-saving rampage anyway, I’ve disentangled myself almost completely from the friends that I once had.

Being an introvert, though, means that I don’t have a problem with having no friends. What little interaction I have with society is usually more than enough. It’s more peaceful to me than lonely. But being a human and, at the core of my being, a social creature, sometimes it is lonely.

I know how to meet people. I have no problem approaching people, striking up conversation, making friends, hanging out and doing other superficial things. But I have trouble finding people that I can really connect with at a much deeper level.

Intro Part 2: Incongruous

I’d always known I was very different from other girls. I found their attitudes and behaviour very reprehensible and repulsive at times… enough that I say (half jokingly, half serious) that I’ve disavowed membership to the female gender.

One particular example that sticks out in my mind, is pretending to be stupid in order to be attractive to boys. I hatehatehate that. I think I was in Grade 6 or 7 when that was the topic of discussion in a Guidance class. I had decided then, that I’d rather be butt ugly than be stupid.

Like most things, this was something I never discussed with anyone. It’s developed into a minor neurosis, I don’t like being called “pretty” because in my mind, it’s equivalent of calling me “stupid”. I’d learned very young that I had some very off-centre opinions and that as a general rule, I should keep my thoughts to myself.

Very recently, I found out that I’m an INTJ. And then everything seemed to make a whole lot more sense. INTJ females are very very rare. INTJs comprise only 2% of the general population, so INTJ females would be about 1%. My mother and I had clashing personalities. I respect her for who she is now, but growing up with her was pretty stressful for us both. Good external female role models were hard to come by to begin with because of the lack of awareness when I was growing up. So, there were NO female role models that I had any respect for.

I had no one to support and encourage the incredible insight and observational ability I had as a child. I had no one to temper the arrogance and stubbornness that comes with being right. I wish I had someone who could tell me it was okay to be pretty and smart at the same time.

So, I generally feel very incongruous with other people (especially other women) to begin with.

Intro Part 1: *deep breath*

I’m not 100% enthusiastic about this goal, but it’s one that I wanted to add just because I think I should. There is some room for self-exploration and self-improvement in it. And there’s something in the back of my head that tells me I ought to do this.

I don’t have many friends to begin with, I never have. I’ve always been a very solitary child. Growing up, I had no more than two or three friends at any given time. I seemed to get along better with boys as friends, but I was always mindful of traditional prevailing attitudes and kept friend boys at arms length.

I met my husband when I was 14, we started going steady at 17 and we were married at 27. Other than him, I really don’t have anyone else that I can “talk about everything” to. He and I are very close. We are more honest with each other than with anyone else in the world. But there are still things we can’t say to each other. The things I couldn’t say to him, I just ended up never talking to anyone about.

I’ve never talked to girl friends about guy problems. I’ve never talked to girl friends about much of anything other than homework… I don’t have that close-knit circle of girls or a sisterhood or anything like that.

But I don’t know if I want to purposely seek out female friends. I don’t know if I want to purposely find friendships, period.

J L has gotten 68 cheers on this goal.


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