I’ve always had a problem with friends. Not making them. That part is relatively easy. It’s the other part, the part where they move from casual acquaintances to people that I trust.
I’m not sure if it’s just my personality or my views on such things. I have a theory that is probably best shown in some kind of flow chart but I don’t have the will to do one at the minute. With what I feel and what it actually means in brackets, I think it goes something like this:
I have a deep sense of self-loathing (Basically, I think I can’t do anything right)
This means I try to hide from people what I’m “really” like in case they run a mile (this isn’t what I’m really like, just how I see myself)
This means that I avoid getting too close to people (I only allow surface friendships and never get in deep, which is also exhausting work.)
That ends in:
a) only having myself to talk to (I bottle things up too much as a result)
b) always seeing people around me as casual acquaintances and never close
But that’s how I’ve always been. In school (primary all through 6th form), my friends were people who just happened to be there and I had nothing in common with. Even in university, the people that I met never really grabbed me enough to maintain the kind of “we have to stay in touch afterwards” mentality. Sure, I see the odd person from back then on a bi-annual basis (or in one case a quadrennial basis), but Facebook allows me to do that without actually having to give too much of myself away. Recently, I’ve met other people that I like and have things in common with, but that has always been through someone else, hence fuelling by thoughts that they’re just friends of friends and not really friends of my own at all. Everyone I know is either a friend of a friend or has come to me through my partner, and have come and gone from my life like spring breezes. Nothing ever maintains beyond that. Is it that I’m incapable of giving enough to form long-term relationships?
This isn’t to say that I don’t like any of those people. I do. I just have trouble taking it to the next level of emotional content with regards friendships. I can’t help but be wary. Most of my experiences of friendships have been of people wanting the conversations to be all about them and what their problems were (which led to my “I’ll just keep it to myself, then” mentality), that they only contacted me when they needed their asses bailing out, or when they could get something out of me. Suffice to say, I’ve had a bad run. I’m sure you can see how that leads to a lonely existence.
So, when you finally find someone with whom you click, I implore you to keep that person. Cultivate that relationship as much as you can. Not in a “let’s build a wall around it” kind of way, but think more “tending to a bonsai tree”; being close enough but not reliant, giving and receiving attention and input in equal measure. And when you do find it, let me know how you manage it. Because I’d love to learn how.
Thanks for reading.