Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Friends.

I am so bad at friends.

Bad at making them.  Bad at keeping them.  Bad at caring for them the way I know I should.

There was a time when I was good at making friends.  As a kid, it was easy.  But I wasn't very good at being very nice to those friends.  The friends I made would often start to annoy me, and there were only ever a few that I made the effort to keep.

Those friends are still friends and probably will be friends forever - but I'm still bad at reminding them I care about them.  Sending a card or note or picture or giving them a phone call is not something that comes naturally for me.  I think about them often, but I don't make an EFFORT.

My friends from around here, I'm JUST NOW getting sort of comfortable with.

I know that sounds insane.  We've lived here eight years.  Lately though, it takes me THAT LONG to open up to people.  To feel comfortable enough to be myself.  And sometimes that scares people.

Suddenly I'm not the person they imagined I was.  Suddenly they don't like me as much anymore.  Or they like me more - it depends on the person.

Either way, I'm worried about it.

I saw this entry from a friend's blog and it made me want to cry.  In fact, it inspired this entire post.

I see Sara with all those friends and their kids and everyone hanging out together and I wonder:  "Why don't we have that?"  Granted, we have a lot of friends who don't really care much for football - but it's not just the Superbowl.  We had invitations to go places and we accepted one of them and not the others (which was hard enough), but it's the atmosphere I feel in those pictures that I think is missing from my life.

I blame myself.

I don't really know what I blame myself FOR exactly.  My introversion or my anxiety or my pickiness or what.  But I'm sure it's my fault.  True to stereotypical femaleness, I'm internalizing all of my issues, which doesn't really help anything, but if it's my fault at least I feel like I have some control.

I think that's the bottom line with internalizing things.  If it's my fault I can fix it.  If it's someone else's fault I can't do anything about it.

Friendship is harder when you grow up.

As a kid you have these built in friendships at school or extracurricular activities or church or what have you.  As a grown up you can see the consequences of entering a relationship with another human being.  You have old wounds you are still nursing.  You are reminded of another circumstance or another person.  You are SO BUSY.  There are all these considerations about age and children and religion and politics.  It's sort of ridiculous, really.  I wish I could go into a relationship with other people and not think about these things.

It's funny because plenty of those really great friends I made in the past, the ones who will be around forever, disagree with me on plenty of things.  It's the mutual respect that we've gained in knowing one another so long that lets us get past those things.

So how to you cultivate that same respect in a new relationship.

I am so bad at being a grown up.

I just can't figure it out.  So many parts of it don't make sense to me.  Maybe I'm just thirty.

Tons of the women in my life have mentioned that thirty is this time when they sort of "wake up" and figure out who they are or something.

Well - I can see that - my life is changing and I feel I am growing in leaps and bounds as a person - but figuring it out?  Check back when I'm sixty.

4 comments:

Summer said...

While I think you are sometimes to hard on yourself in the outlook of how you view friendships- I for one can vouch that you are a good friend- a great friend even. I wouldnt change your antics for anything. And that comes with the good, bad and the grumpy hungry.

Just know that you are not alone in the making friends. I am in a similar situation- as I tend to stray away if I dont hear from people often. It is actually happening right now. Do I feel bad about it? Yes. But I am not sure I know how to fix it.

tpeterr said...

Don't feel bad. I'm a naturally social person, and I've also found that since college graduation, it has been ridiculously difficult to meet-make-n-keep new friends. I think the ones that stick around the longest are those who go through something hard alongside us (e.g. Sarah has a great friend or two from a lousy job situation they shared).

My carpool buddy and mentor-friend from a few years back probably had the best label for how to make and keep friends. He called it "working on having an intentional relationship." It's quite hard to be *intentionally* vulnerable in the first place, even more so to stay connected when instinct says to duck and cover.

There's nothing wrong with you. I think almost all adults in America (and elsewhere?) struggle with parallel connections.

Peter and Amy said...

I can completely relate. Being an adult is hard and making friends is even harder! If you're at all introverted it feels impossible.

Robyn said...

I certainly can't answer for everyone - but I know that at 31, for the first time in my life, I'm feeling honestly comfortable in my own skin. For a lot of my life I had absolutely no self-confidence, and was so shy in social situations that I'd sit there and smile - or sit there giving people the impression that I was a snob - or just being awkward, and didn't break out of that until the past 7 years or so - but didn't feel "ok with me" until the past year - so I'd probably agree with your friends who have said they woke up at 30! It's definitely impacted my friendships positively!
We don't hear much about Jesus until He's 30 either... so perhaps there's something to it?! ;)

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