I’ve always been complemented for having a welcoming, kind face thanks to that I did not have any problem gaining friends. But my temperament didn’t have a lasting effect; I can’t seem to maintain any long term relationships. Friendships end up being another task, hard chore to keep the relationship alive. 
I desperately want to establish strong ties. However, the day comes and I get depressed or unreasonably anxious, my ups and downs after a while drives them away. Everyone is consumed with not catching the negative vibe bug. I get how ‘negative energy’ can scare away new acquaintance, but it shouldn’t when it comes to close family members and friends, or do I have the concept of relationships wrong? According to research from the University of Warwick, depression is not a transmitted disease. Therefore, having a friend who is depressed can only increase the chances of his/her recovery. 
So, let’s rewind way back to when I was in school. I read books that had titles similar to ‘how to win friends’. I had a system, I would read several books about how to have friends and highlight the points that were repeated in every book, points such as smile, be helpful, ask questions and act interested in what they have to say. So I became Ms. happy face, always beaming. I smiled whenever I catch someone looking at me, then asked questions and was very interested in what their answers would be, always willing to help them out with anything. Needless to say I had more friends than I can fathom in a very short time. 
However, what the authors forgot to mention in their books or maybe what I failed to notice then was that if you have a low self-esteem, friends aren’t going to be the solution. I was so adamant in being everyone’s friend and for everyone to love me that I’ve became what they wanted to see in a friend.  
During my university days, I would make up excuses to go sit alone. A friend would see me sometimes sitting on my own and kindly joins me and I tell her that that was ‘my alone time’. I think that’s how it all started. I felt like I was always competing, I wanted to stay relevant. That’s when my gloomy attitude started to leak out. Before that I managed to keep it hidden inside the four walls of my bedroom. 
As graduation came close I knew my days with my friends were numbered. The forced commitment to go to classes was what kept our friendship alive. I am what you would describe as an introvert or home bound. Whereas, all my friends were blown out extroverts and I loved their energy, I enjoyed their extracurricular activities. But what I would normally opt to do is google the meaning of something or the relationship status of someone like Jerry Buting (married man). 
After graduating, I made promises to my friends and I, that I will stay in touch. But after few weeks away. And because I am a creature of habit I enjoyed my routine although at that time I would never own up to it because it didn’t suit my free spirit, hip lifestyle. I did manage to set dates. But setting a date for a meet felt forced I ended up getting charged up so I cancelled them due to my pre-meet jitters. 
Not having university, school to keep us committed I gradually drifted away. At first I blamed their marriage and work but the truth is I didn’t have the energy to stay friends with them. Depression drains almost all the energy out of me, on these days commenting or liking their picture on instagram is all the interaction I can muster. Most days I am left wondering why does it seem like everyone else in the world makes friends and keeps them so effortlessly. Is there a rulebook for relationships that I am missing?
I find that my state of being adopted had a lot to do with how I picked my friends and why I picked that much. I had a lot of identity issues and felt very isolated and I needed friends to fill that void. Although, I clearly enjoyed small crowds, the need to be loved and accepted by everyone was stronger. I ended up being an extrovert imposter. I found myself hanging out with the wrong crowds and when I say wrong I don’t mean bad, but their personalities never collided well with mine.  
I had expectations of how I wanted my friends to be like, I didn’t realize then and after many failed friendships that that is not what I really wanted, I picked fun, funny outgoing friends. I thought if I stick around long enough I might be like them. But I wasn’t, I enjoyed watching movies, reading half a book, listening to psychology lectures and podcasts, I loved spending hours talking about profound topics, losses, life lessons. That was my idea of fun. The kind of friends that would have suited me were sitting somewhere in the middle of the classroom, unnoticed. I wanted to be noticed and loved by many; the middle was out of the question then. 
Another after the fact discoveries about myself was my attachment and boundaries issues, I can be extreme with friends at times I would say intimidating things like ‘I feel like we are sisters’ and I would get a polite smile or ‘you are so sweet’ then abandonment issues rises up. I feel threatened so I will either campaign really hard to make them say ‘me too’ or leave before they ghost me out. 
I had plenty of friends when I said what they wanted to hear, when I heard their problems and made them feel good about themselves. Back then I needed permission to be myself and when I proceeded to unfold I always did it very mindfully. After countless therapy sessions being myself consciously went out the window. But I am mindful of my issues, I no longer feel crushed when a friend tiptoes quietly out of my life. Depression can wreak havoc on a friendship I’ve experienced that time after time. It takes someone who went through it to understand how straining it can get. 

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8 thoughts on “Friendships lost

  1. I can totally relate with this, in fact this is so me! I find it easy to make friends, but it is such herculean task to keep them. Truth is, I’ve been fortunate to have good friends who genuinely care unconditionally, but all is not fair in “love and friendship” as I’ve also had frenemies too!

    I’ve learnt not to waste time being around such people, and to associate with people who values me as much as I do them. I don’t allow just anyone into my close circle. Once in a while I also make efforts to stay in touch with real friends. And even when I don’t stay in touch, they’ll always understand because they’re my friends. They’ll check up on me.

    Anyone who makes you feel like an imposter, isn’t worth being your friend because true friends keep it real 100% and they’ll always want you to be the best version of yourself!

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  2. I can relate to this post. I suffer from anxiety & depression. It is hard for people to understand if they have never experienced it. Not that I recommend it :-/ It is a rollercoaster ride that never stops. Highs and lows that are usually out of your control. I have become very good at masking my issues because like you said it always seems once I open up & share my difficulties with anxiety/depression. That so called friendship seems to gradually disappear from my life. There is a delicate balance for sure. Not all friends are created equal. I know for me I am a needy friend. I am usually blatantly honest up front. I want to see you, to talk to you, to spend time with you. It took my 36 years to find a friend that actually cared about me unconditionally. She has even helped me through some anxiety attacks. Which aren’t pretty. She loves me though the Good Day or Bad. I hope that you are also lucky enough to find such a amazing friend as well. Don’t give up hope. I found my friend walking down the sidewalk one day. I would of never guessed she would be the one who got me through some of my hardest times.

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  3. I know how you feel. I am an introvert, I need a lot of away time to keep my energy going or I get burned out and depressed. For a long time I thought something was wrong with me… But now that I’m older I’ve accepted it and I find that j truly enjoy time with myslef more than time with friends. It does make it hard to make friends though – that is a big struggle still… But the right people stay and I have faith that the people like me will eventually find me. And in the mean time, we have the Internet (that seems to be where people like us hang out the most 🙂 ) Best to you!

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  4. Wow, look at all your real friends. We enjoy you that is why we are your friend. We listen, we care and then we share. Friends are at times visible, but can be invisible. I started sketching and i do it for me. I need to be alone to enjoy it. I have met other artist but they are quiet as we sketch then we all go home. It is okay because I am use to the silence. It takes ablot of work to keep new friends. A lot of giving and time consuming as well. Not sharing too much of yourself is what most new friends expect. Old friends already know you, they will accept you or leave you. If you friend one or two you like, see what they like and if it is in common with you then this might be a keeper. So you can try and pull back so it won’t be just all about you. Remember it takes work and observation to have any relationship. Family, friend or marriage….Let’s be stress free

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  5. I had many of the same problems as you. I wanted friends so bad I tried to be what each one wanted and that was too exhausting. That would play on my depression and I would crawl in a corner, wondering why none of my friends were calling to see how I was.

    You are right – you need to love yourself first. That can be one of the more difficult things to do when you are depressed. One trick I did was to write down positive things other people have said to me over the years. No matter how big or small, write them down. If two people said similar things, write them both down. You will see patterns. Read these over and over. Go to a mirror and recite them to yourself, looking at you. “Soandso thinks I have nice eyes (looking at eyes), and ya, they aren’t too bad! And so on.

    Find your identity. What do you like to do, eat, wear? You will find that as you define yourself, others will take notice. They will relate to the changes in you and just go with it. I have a few really close friends that I don’t see much because I am mostly housebound but I know I can always count on them. You will find those as well.

    From one introvert to another, don’t be so hard on yourself. And if you need a friend, I am here!

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  6. I feel you on having a hard time keeping friends. Making friends never seems like much of a problem, but I’m horrible at keeping them. Depression and agoraphobia make it hard for me to spend time with people. Anxiety makes it hard to reach out and make contact first. It’s one of the hardest things for me to do.

    Being an introvert is really difficult. Being home bound makes it that much harder. Just know that you’re an awesome person and there are others who read your words and feel so much as a result of them. Perhaps you’re not fantastic at keeping friends, but you’re definitely wonderful at speaking to another’s soul.

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