In the past we engaged and ended up heavily bruised. Now we think we know better and breathe in before we try to move on the conversation. It doesn't work. We bail out, cowardly.
The only source of relief is found after scurrying towards some Stoic quotes.
Epitectus has an answer for the pressing question: who or what is pulling my strings?
Anything that we set out our heart on or want to avoid has the controls of our inner peace. Bit pathetic, really. Expectations are our masters.
If every encounter involves as much mental preparation as going into a war zone, no wonder some prefer infrequent human contact and even give it up completely.
Stoics advise against isolation though. Resilience needs scars and battles won, so that it is a badge of honour rather than a genetic gift.
No wonder human interaction has been steadily moving into digital territories. 'Block', 'mute', 'swipe left or right' - has anyone tried to count how how often they are used across one channel or another?
A lot, I suspect.