Ok, so this was a tough post to write as, despite the fact that I share a lot of my life on the internet, there are parts of myself that I still hide away, things that I am ashamed to admit and worried about being judged on. The truth is, it really concerns me how many friends I have lost in my life, through one way or another. It makes me feel paranoid that I am doing something wrong when it comes to friendships, or that I am just unlikeable in some way.
I am not really friends with anybody I went to school with anymore. Some I fell out with, mainly for silly reasons, some just lost touch or drifted apart but one of my closest friends ghosted me, and it was one of the worst experiences of my life and incredibly damaging to my self esteem. I have written about this before, but it really has affected the way I form and maintain friendships now. I go one of two ways, either laying everything out on the table, being completely open, honest and wearing my heart fully on my sleeve, or I don’t let people in much at all and prefer to keep myself safe from the risk of getting hurt again.
I’ve lost friends as an adult as well, one of which deeply hurt me more than the rest, largely down to the blame that was placed on me. The issues with that friendship had started forming long before the final break, and they were issues that both of us were to blame for, but the way it was dealt with was hurtful, and it is something I am still healing from now, years later.
I worry that when I do make a friend, that I come on too strong, that my attempts to fully open up to them and integrate them into my life comes across as smothering, and I have had experiences in the last couple of years with people that back this up, which makes me anxious when I do meet new people, always nervous that I am coming across as needy rather than friendly.
Suffering from anxiety, I am unsure whether these feelings are truly valid, or whether I am just reading into everything too much, over analysing every message left on read, every plan that is cancelled last minute, when it really was likely just down to a legitimate reason. Ironically I am too scared to talk to friends about my fears, so instead I let these worries and doubts cloud my mind, bottling everything up until I am sure that they no longer want to be friends at all, that they are only around out of pity. In turn, this makes me pull away, which obviously isn’t good for a friendship in itself.
I also don’t deal well with distance in friendships, preferring to talk to people in real life, and having a genuine fear of speaking on the phone – I even avoid making regular phone calls with my own mum, who luckily lives only a short drive away and I see a few times a week. Those friends who do live far away hopefully know that this lack of communication is not a reflection of how I feel about them, but down to my own issues around separation. Those friends who I don’t see often are still people I would trust with my life, and who I enjoy meeting up with, even after time has passed.
I don’t know where this is going. It is one of those posts that just pour out of you all of a sudden, when your fingers fly over the keyboard and you are left with this jumble of words which may or may not make sense to anybody else. I am having counselling at the moment, for a deep-seated trauma from my late childhood, and I hope to also discuss the way I feel about friendship during my sessions too, as it does have an effect on my day to day life. For now though, I feel a little lighter for having shared how I feel. I care deeply about those friends I do have, and I am fiercely loyal, willing to be there whenever I am needed, so hopefully the inadequacy is something I have manifested in my mind and one day I can have the self-esteem to trust a friendship for what it is, rather than second guessing it in the back of my mind.