A friend posted a link about friendships, and how they change.
Add that to an ongoing theme of blog posts from friends, and a couple issues with feeling left out with friends, and, of course, I felt compelled to write about it.
See, I'm a living contradiction. Really, I can't even make sense of myself.
I want to be friends with everyone. I see the groups of women hanging out together all the time, and I desperately want to be part of it. I want to be invited, I want to be included, I want to be the company that is desired. I want to be asked out for coffee (even though I don't actually drink coffee, I do enjoy tea and hot chocolate!), included in a spur of the moment trip to Richmond, and not have to be the one that asks to hang out. I want to be everyone's close friend, and I want to be the person that posts a picture on Facebook and gets 200 likes.
But, in the same breath, that's never who I've been. I can't see myself from the outside, but I have some suspicions why I am not, and will never be, that girl with the super active social life.
1.) I am introverted.
Which means, I'm not outspoken in a large group, I have a tough time opening up to people I don't really know, and social interaction exhausts me. See the image below for a little oversight on dealing with an introverted individual.
2.) I say no to going out sometimes.
And, to someone who isn't one of my intimate friends, that may be seen as me not liking the person asking. But the truth is, since any social engagement takes a vast amount of energy, I need more time at home by myself than the average person.
3.) I over think everything.
If I see someone at Wal*Mart and they don't say "hi" as they walk past, instead of thinking that they just didn't see me, I immediately dissect our most recent interaction determined to discover what I must have done to anger them.
If I wasn't asked to bring food to an event at work when everyone else was, then clearly they must not have wanted to include me in their festivities because I'm not really one of them, and etc.
It drives my poor husband nuts when I analyze him, even though sometimes I'm right (sometimes before he realizes that an event and an emotion are connected).
4.) I have strong opinions. But no idea how to say them without offending someone.
If you're reading this, it means you are somewhat familiar with my blog. My extremely opinionated blog that doesn't even begin to show how strongly and passionately I feel about the world. The only two people in the world who have really seen and experienced the full depth of my passionate convictions? My husband and my best friend Lindsay. I don't filter myself at all with them, because I know that they take my opinions and ideas the way I mean them, and I don't have to deconstruct everything that I said later to see how I may have offended them. But with other people, I honestly regret half of what I say about an hour after I say it.
5.) I do honestly deconstruct everything I say later.
We had a girls night a few weeks back. It was great: the first time I'd gotten together in a large group in ages, and I really enjoyed myself. I was more quiet and observant the more people were there, but as it dwindled down I got to be more myself. Even then, I still went home that night and spent the next two days analyzing everything I had said, how I had said it, if it could have offended anyone, and if I shouldn't have said it to begin with. And, once you consider that, it seems pretty obvious why I limit my time out, right?
It's just been frustrating to me lately because of the way I participate in friendship. Basically, because of my aforementioned traits, I do friendship one of two ways.
Either I have an acquaintance friendship where I spend time with someone, talk about mostly light things, and hang out on occasion with (and greatly enjoy their company).
Or, I have someone that I pull deeply into my circle and trust so completely that I can be myself and not have to sensor myself, while holding them to certain standards to allow myself to trust them (I like to think there are some perks in this too, and it's not just me being crazy and having high expectations).
Most people don't have friendships like that. I know that, and understand it, but I know that's the manner in which I function. See, if I start to feel someone is heading in that second option, where I could really trust them and be myself, I start holding them to that higher standard. And when they don't live up to that generally unattainable standard? I start to pull back from them because I'm terrified of being hurt.
Yes, after writing and editing this, I'm kind of amazed I have any friends too. But it's much easier to have those light friendships when you're in college, and now that I'm past that stage, I'm at the point where I have very few friends still near me geographically. And I suck at making new friends.
But the friends that I do have, I am grateful for. And I'm hoping that, the more I spend time understanding myself and my friendships, the more fulfilling relationships I will be able to have.