On friendship, and the lack of it

I thought long and hard about writing this post. There are some subjects that it’s difficult to get into without sounding self-pitying, and that’s really not what I want. But in the end I decided just to do it anyway.

I don’t really have any friends around here.

This is not a plea for sympathy or a desperate attempt to fish for compliments. It’s just a simple statement of fact – so please, no comments along the lines of “I’m sure that’s not true”.
It’s not like I’m a total recluse or anything. I actually know quite a few people, and I could probably manage to get at least one or two people to come out with me any night of the week. But someone to go out for a drink/coffee or to see aconcert with isn’t really a friend. Not a close friend anyway… so maybe what I should have said was I don’t have any close friends. I’m ok with that most of the time, but occasionally it gets to me. Especially when I’m feeling down or something and need someone to talk to, and there’s only Jan. Not really practical when I need to talk about Jan. And, of course, it puts a huge burden on him as well, having to be both my boyfriend and my sole confident, and knowing that he has to help because there’s noone else I can turn to. And of course, that all leads to the question of who I’m going to turn to when (and yes, I mean when) he leaves me. I used to have friends, back in England. Not many, admittedly – and quite a few people who I thought were friends at uni got to the end of final year then said “Now I’m never going to have to see you again I can tell you: I never actually liked you”. Charming.  But I had friends. I can’t really talk to them anymore though, now that I’ve been living abroad for almost six years and we’ve grown apart. They’re all going on with their lives, while I’m here, standing still. And how can I tell someone who’s recently married and floating on cloud nine that my boyfriend doesn’t want to marry me, or confide in a new mother who’s just finished describing how wonderful being a parent is that I’m currently busy trying to convince myself that I don’t actually want children so that I won’t be disappointed when I never do. Especially when it’s the first time in years that I’ve actually spoken to those people.

What I need to do is get out there and make new friends – preferably with people who are in the same situation as me. The last thing I need is more friends with babies, so I can torture myself by looking at all their photos. The only question is… how? I know it’s partially  my fault I don’t have that many friends. I’ve never been particularly good at making them, and the times I have managed it I’ve no idea how it happened! I’m usually quite shy, so in social situations where I don’t know anybody I’ll either be too quiet and nervous (making people think I’m either bored or antisocial) or I’ll overcompensate and say too much, which of course people don’t like either, so they’ll go away thinking “Does she ever shut up? You can’t get a word in edgeways!”. I am also an expert at saying the wrong thing, which doesn’t help. Something that seemed ok when it was inside my head ends up sounding really wrong once it’s out there for everyone to hear. It takes a very special kind of person to still want to know me in spite of all that! So the making friends thing isn’t as easy as it sounds. I have been working on my social skills, and I think I have improved… but not enough. Not even close to enough. So where does that leave me?

10 thoughts on “On friendship, and the lack of it

  1. I don’t feel like I’ve ever had many friends either, and there have been times where there was no one close friend to confide in. But then a casual friendship I already had somehow deepened and there she (or occasionally, he) was! I wish I could tell you how that happened each time, but I honestly don’t know. I do know that they have all been people that I met at work (or school, way back when), and they have been of all ages and situations. But now I do seem to gravitate more to the women who are close to my age – we understand each other’s points of reference so much better. Also, I’ve noticed that even my closest friendships don’t necessarily last forever, maybe just a few years as we both move on in our lives. I guess I’m a serial friend! Maybe you are too?

  2. So, I hear my doorbell ring and when I go to see who is calling, IT’S A PANDA BEAR.
    He asks me if I have any bamboo (which I do, but it’s used for poop) which if course I don’t.
    So I says to him, I says, “Give me 20 minutes!”
    And that’s why there’s leftover carry-out in the fridge.

    (I’ve been saving my “I just ate a candle!” comment for the right time.)

  3. I’m kinda in a similar boat at the minute, I struggle to make new friends as I don’t put myself into situations enough to get new mates. I’m wanting/trying to do new things but a little unsure where to start. But it’s something we have to do otherwise nothing will change.

    1. I don’t so much have a problem with putting myself in the right situations… it’s how to act when I’m in them. And like I said, I know lots of people, but there’s a difference between someone who will call you when they fancy going for a pint and someone who is actually a friend. It’s the latter I’m lacking. But you’re right, we have to do it. I’m sure things will improve for both of us 🙂

  4. “Not many, admittedly – and quite a few people who I thought were friends at uni got to the end of final year then said “Now I’m never going to have to see you again I can tell you: I never actually liked you”.

    OUCH! Why would someone say something so hurtful? I mean, unless you did something or say really mean things to them, no one deserves to hear this!

    Anyways, it’s tough to make and keep friends as an adult. But you could join some social groups and see where that goes, follow your interests and you’ll meet similar people. Just be positive and smile and people will like you. Not fake, sickening positive, just relaxed and happy, even if you’re not feeling particularly happy. It takes practice, but it’s worth it in the end! 🙂

  5. I know how you feel…Although I haven’t had such outright nasty comments after uni, you kinda get the idea when they never reply to any fb outreach. I am known for my lack of tact when I meet new people… which I never thought about really, it is actually that I just can’t lie and I can’t really stand small talk. I wonder how friends, lovers, family will ever all be in the same town anymore? We need more community – blogging helps some.

    1. I know that feeling as well! Quite a few of the people who supposedly still are my friends have been completely ignoring me for the past 5 years! I should probably unfriend them, but I’m too nosy. 😉

Leave a comment so I know you stopped by!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s