Picture this: you’re in a room with people, vibing and chilling; the energy is right. You laugh every now and then at these people’s jokes, you can relate to them in certain conversations, and you’re truly feeling them. You like them, a lot; so much, that you decide you want to keep in touch with them and hopefully build a beautiful ass friendship with them. But, like every other person that enters your life, the situation goes one of two ways: You get their phone number and you never text or call them, or you never get their number because you feel like the person you want to be friends with doesn’t want to be friends with you back. So, you’re back at square one, trying to make friends for the umpteenth time.
Hi, my name is Liz, and although I want to be friends with you, I feel as if I’m a bad friend, so I don’t bother trying.
I was the ultimate social butterfly when I was younger; I had friends who lived on my block that I hanged out with, it was always easy for me to make friends in public school and had crews upon crews of people, and although I was never the popular girl, I was still known pretty well throughout many different groups of people. It was like my younger self was unapologetic for being herself, and whether you liked me or not, I was still being her; with or without friends. Even in high-school when I became a little bit more closed in and shy, I still had friends that I was able to rely on, good ones at that, but something changed in me over the years. Once I graduated high school and was now moving onto college, it seemed like making friends became harder and harder, and now at 25, it’s possibly one of the hardest things to do.
I don’t like to blame my lack of friendships on my social anxiety disorder, even if it does play a huge role in the difficulties of building and keeping friendships. With a person with SAD, I’m able to express and be myself in a group setting that I feel absolutely comfortable being in, but it seems like the whole reason why I have SAD is the afterthought of it all: “what if they don’t like me?” “How do I continue this conversation without making it awkward? “what if they like me, but don’t want anything more than just be acquaintances?” “what if they just pity me, and they truly think I’m just this weird, annoying girl?” “OMG, it’s been a couple of weeks since I last texted this friend, how do I keep in touch with people?!”
And it’s those types of thoughts that shut me down completely and make me feel like I’m not capable of being friends with people.
That, and also the years of being told that I didn’t know what it means to have friends.
I try not to be a bad friend; I mean, who wants to be a bad friend? People who can’t keep friends are just bad at being a friend, right? Maybe, maybe not. Maybe there are people in the world who just treat their friends like shit because they are just shitty people. Maybe there are people in the world who just get so fucking excited and determined to keeping friends, that it ultimately burns you in the ass and you end up realizing people don’t see you in the same light as you see them, especially being adults now.
Excuse me for that run-on sentence, but the reality just spilled out like word vomit.
I’m definitely the type of person that loves too hard and falls too hard when it comes to potential partnerships, let alone getting hella excited over new friendships. I get really happy and those who are making me happy become my life because as the years passed on, I do realize that I’m more social than I make myself out to be, and being sociable is one of the things that make me really happy. Sure, it’s a journey to get to that place, but with therapy and self-awareness, I feel like what I need in this stage in my life is just some good socializing and meaningful friendships.
But, sometimes I fail to realize that this isn’t public school anymore, and your closest friends aren’t just your friends. Your friends have friends of their own, perhaps friends that they rather spend their free time with on weekends, spend birthdays with, go on celebrations with; just because you see a person as a really good friend that you want to do all the friendship stuff with, doesn’t mean they see that with you.
But then again, who’s to think that’s even the truth if you don’t even fucking try?
My biggest fear nowadays is having friendships that don’t value me the same way I value them. I fear that I’m easily forgotten; that no one thinks of me when it comes to friendships; I mean, I’ve had my fair share of people not inviting me to things when the majority of the friend group is out and about. Let us never forget me not getting an invitation to a birthday celebration of a mutual close friend that shared the same exact birthday as me.
Besides that, I just don’t believe that I’m friend-material. I don’t think that the company I keep wants to be friends with me in the long run, and I guess because I already have that engraved in my head, I just let it go. I let people come and go and then it’s back to the fake “omg girl, I miss you!” Instagram and Facebook comments.
Maybe I’m wrong. Maybe there are people out in this world that I will meet and want to be friends with me, like real “let’s go out and hang out” type of friends. I truly envy those who can make friends in an instant and then BAM, they are both on Instagram posting each other in their IG stories at a cool place in the city or some shit. I can only wish.
But, I know half of the work needs to come from me. I know that if I want to show potential friends that I’m serious about making this into a friendship that I need to speak up and try to set something up. I know that it takes two to tango, and maybe the person I’m looking to be friends with is just afraid of getting rejected by me because of the energy I may be putting out in the world. I swear, I’m not antisocial nor am I just this lonely person that likes to be by herself, I’m just internally trying to ask you to be my friend and go hang out as well.
I hope one day in the future I get better at making friends. Correction: I hope one day in the future I get better at keeping friends. No more convenience friendships just because we are both in the same environment. No more getting comfortable with people and expressing myself out of confidence and then become strangers a few months later. No more “let’s totally plan something!” ass people. I’m about to be 26, I want to make meaningful friendships.
So, let me introduce myself one last time:
Hi, my name is Liz, and although my SAD causes me to distance myself away from people because I believe I’m not good enough, I will try my hardest to keep in touch with friends and make an effort to not see myself as being a bad friend. I would like to be your friend.