Why I don’t have friends

I have been noodling for a few days on what to write my next blog about. I thought about an anxiety FAQ from things I have answered over the years, but I felt like I wanted something with more depth. Today I went for a walk at Afton State Park to clear my mind and feel a connection with nature. The only time in my busy life that I get the opportunity for silence is when I go there. Being in the middle of the woods, on a walking path, listening to the sound of the wind blowing and the river hitting the shoreline, brings me to a place of true peace. A few years ago if you would’ve told me my favorite place would beĀ outside in nature I would’ve called you insane. But now I cannot imagine a better place to be.

The one subject that hits close to home and nobody really asks about (people are probably just being nice), is why I don’t have a lot of friends. The truth is I have had terrible friendships throughout my entire life. I have lost more people from my life than gained and it’s not necessarily anyone’s fault. I have a tendency to gravitate towards people who are in a time of need or crisis, and need someone to lean on. I am there throughout their journey as a cheerleader, and a source of support. Once their problem is solved or their life starts to improve I get left behind. When I was younger I used to take this abandonment personally, but over the years I have come to terms with my ability to attract temporary friends. Believe it or not I actually get satisfaction out of helping others.

The other reason is that I have a hard time letting people get close to me. I can blame my Cancer zodiac or my introverted nature, but truth is I don’t know why I do this. When someone gets close to me I have strong emotions about it and I feel a tie to them unlike any other, and I will care for them in some capacity the rest of my life. But I only really let people get so close before I put up walls that I need a fake facade to work around. It’s not manipulation or lying, but I have a different mask that I wear for everyone I interact with. We ALL do. I have spend enough time analyzing my interactions with others that I now have the ability to call it out and recognize it.

I will admit it has always been my dream to have a group of girls to go on trips with or have “girls night”. I just can never seem to get myself to let go of the barriers that prevent that from happening. Saying that I have absolutely no friends is not true, but I have a very small group of close people and a large network of acquaintances. Something that I vow to improve in my life through this discovery journey, is to allow people into my inner circle, even though it’s absolutely terrifying.

My social anxiety makes interacting with strangers difficult for me. I hate small talk and I say the most awkward things to people I meet. I am one of the those people that thinks about something I said to someone five years ago and thinks, “Wow, that was dumb. Why did I say that?” I have learned that my sarcastic sense of humor is something that others can relate to. Now that I am getting older and becoming a “real” adult, I realized that it’s less important to impress people around you, and it’s more important to just be exactly who you are.

What is life without a good challenge?