I have put off writing this post as long as I can. The SOL end is near. I know I have to write this because I need to get these thoughts out – for myself – just myself. I also feel marginally safe sharing with this community – and maybe some of you will have some insight or answers.
I hesitate because…I am afraid that exposing what has GOT to be some sort of character flaw will cause others to think less of me, or have pity on me – and this is NOT NOT NOT what I seek. I have wallowed in enough self-pity to last multiple lifetimes. AND, I have worked VERY hard to improve myself, change my thoughts, be proud of who I am.
Here’s the deal – I have no friends. NONE. This may not seem like a large thing to many. But it has consumed me. I am in my early 50s and friendless. This is not a new occurrence. This has been my reality for as long as I can remember. I have had many “friendly acquaintances” over my lifetime. I might even have called some of them friends – but they all eventually moved on – not even necessarily to other people – they seem to maintain their ties with their other friends – they just seem to move away from me. (Perhaps that is a warped viewpoint – it is so hard to look at any of this objectively.) I have colleagues, long distance connections with others, family – but no friends.
I have struggled with my want of a true friend my entire adult life – as far back as middle school. I was always initially shy, a bit of a wallflower, and a tomboy. Most of my early “friends” were guys because I enjoyed their company and conversation. But I was not a guy so I was still on the margins. My mother always told me “to have a friend you have to be a friend.” I was not good at that in my teen years. Shyness and poor self-esteem made it almost impossible. But I finally found a niche in Choir and made some temporary friends. In college, this trend continued. Find a group – meet some nice people – fade away.
I have a loving and large extended family, and a good husband and kids. But what I have always longed for is a true friend – one who is in it for the long haul, one who is loyal and trustworthy, one who seeks me out rather than vice versa, one who wants to spend time together, who calls, who joins me for coffee or a movie or just comes over for a visit, one who offers support, genuine care, unconditional love. A girlfriend. I marvel at others who speak of their friends of ten, twenty, forty years. How does this happen? What must this feel like?
I have always regarded my solo status as MY FAULT. I must be doing something wrong to put people off. So, many years ago I consciously made some changes. I tried to appear happier (I tend to wear a more serious expression), I put myself out there, I smiled and acknowledged others, I complimented, praised, asked questions about other people’s lives. I showed interest. I worked on my self-esteem and began to realize my value, talents, potential, worth. I joined groups. I called people. I watched their kids. I invited them to dinner. I offered help. I made an effort. None of it has worked.
So now, I rely on my loving family. I am content. Yet, I am left with some nagging questions. Outside of my family interactions, I am a loner. I have learned to enjoy my own company. But am I this way because I have no friends, or do I have no friends because I am a loner? Perhaps I expect too much from others? Perhaps I need to redefine what a true friend is? Perhaps my best efforts were not actually good enough? I know that I don’t try so hard anymore – but isn’t this self-defeating? When does one throw in the towel, however?
I stress that I am not looking for sympathy or pity or accolades from others. What I could really use is some concrete answers. Why is it this way? Is it just me? Is there something I can change even yet? Do I have blinders on to an answer clearly in front of me? OR, is this just the fate of some people and I should continue to just be grateful that my family loves and supports me? I REALLY, HONESTLY would like to know.
However, I no longer count on answers. At my age, I have come to terms with this situation. Now I focus on more important issues. I look for the beauty in life. I seek new knowledge. I look for new opportunities. I cherish my family. I live in the present moment. I try to be grateful every day. I wake up everyday and count my many blessings – one of which is finding this amazing group of supportive writers. I am so grateful for each of you who have taken the time to read my posts, to make loving, thoughtful, inspiring comments, to offer support and kindness. Even if I never hear from many of you again after this challenge is over, I want you to know that the support of this group has given me the confidence to move forward as a writer.
I AM fine, and happy – but I can’t help feel my life could have been so much richer if only –
Perhaps this is why I love dogs…
Quotes for the day:
She is a friend of my mind. She gather me, man. The pieces I am, she
gather them and give them back to me in all the right order. It’s
good, you know, when you got a woman who is a friend of your
mind. ~Toni Morrison, Beloved
The bird a nest, the spider a web, man friendship. ~William Blake