“Oh I don’t need nobody, to be alone.
And in the darkness a shallow poison it has grown,
I bite my tongue, there’s a fever
I will not let it show.”
– Ben Howard, To Be Alone
This may come as a surprise to you, but I don’t have a lot of friends. I know; shocking, right? I mean whatever the reason, it’s got to be a biggie, to overshadow my winning personality and stunning good looks.
All jokes aside, I’ve never been very good at the whole “friendship” thing. Not just because of my social anxiety, or my many insecurities, or my difficulty reading other people, or my preference for being alone, or my habit of trying to plan conversations ahead of time in my mind so that I don’t run out of things to say which just ends up tripping me up when the other person doesn’t follow the script, or the fact that I hate everyone and people make me want to throw up, or my *literally* permanent state of discomfort in public places, or my tendency to overthink everything to the point where I work myself up into nervousness, although those all have a part in it. I think in the end it just comes down to I’m not a people person.
People don’t like me much. Sure, sometimes I find one or two who like me well enough, but it never gets much further than comfortable acquaintance. I guess something about me just screams “casual person you kind of know but not really”. I have “friends” I’ve known for the better part of six years who are still little more than strangers, meanwhile I see people all around me making best friends in a matter of days. And those are just the ones I’ve known for the longest amount of time; it’s not just a case of friends drifting apart or anything, because there wasn’t really anything to drift away from in the first place.
I don’t know what it is about me, but I’ve just never gotten close to people the way everyone else does. I’ve never had a best friend, never had a group I’ve felt like I really belonged to. It’s not like I don’t want it, either. It’s not like I haven’t made an effort. But as hard as I’ve tried, I just can’t seem to figure out the trick of it, the formula to follow so that people let you into their lives and have a desire to be let into yours. So I’ve given up trying.
Coming to university was sort of the final straw. You always hear people talk about how their high school friends drifted apart within months or years of that hellhole ending, and that their best friends, the ones that have lasted through thick and thin and into adulthood, were the ones they met in their first year of university. And yet, surprise surprise, guess who’s still friend-less. All I have to show for my first year are a bunch of acquaintances who are already starting to drift away, finding their own groups and their own best friends and their own cliques. And if I sound bitter about it that’s because I am. I’m bitter and I’m jealous and I’m sad and more than just a little tired of the whole routine. It seems like everyone has someone except for me, and I’m not just talking about love (because that’s a subject for like a billion other posts).
So I’ve sort of become a recluse (or, you know, more of a recluse than before). I’ve stopped trying to get closer to people. I’m done. If they’re not interested then so be it. It’s really not that much of a loss either; the whole thing is exhausting anyways, and more trouble than it’s worth. I mean sure, I’d love to have a tight-knit group who I can talk to about personal and real things, who I can go on road trips with and share my first house with and hang out with late at night and share inside jokes with, but it’s obviously not happening anytime soon, so why stress about it anymore?
It’s not just the fact that I can’t seem to make friends, or that I can’t maintain healthy relationships with people, because I can. Well- sort of. Moderately healthy, at least. But like I said before, it’s exhausting. Not just in the sense that as an introvert I need time alone to recharge my batteries or whatever, but also because of my whole tendency to overthink things. I’m never really comfortable. Like, ever. Even when I should be comfortable, I’m too busy working myself up into discomfort thinking about things I shouldn’t be thinking about. When I’m with people I worry about what they think of me, worry about how foolish I probably look, worry about the possibility that they’re only pretending to like me out of pity or maybe as part of some big joke so that they can make fun of me later on.
It’s tiring, always second-guessing yourself. It’s tiring and it’s depressing. I don’t like who I am, and when I’m around people I’m only reminded of that fact. It’s just easier for me to be alone.
Or at least, that’s what I keep telling myself.