(Major points to anyone who gets that reference.)
I had a bit of an epiphany the other day (a note to be born in mind while reading this post: I am almost incapable of letting things go. It’s terrible, and I’m working on it, but it’s also just a part of who I am). A couple of years ago, I had a terrible falling out with some of my very best friends. We had been a really tight group, but one of my best friends at the time and I were both really struggling with loving ourselves, and being the kind of people who people would want to be friends with, and so we called it quits. Or, I guess, I was the one to officially call it quits because I could see that things weren’t working, and when I tried to fix things she told me it wasn’t worth the effort, so I stopped being friends with her. Which was awkward, since I was the only one in our group to do so, and so I had to see her whenever I saw my other friends (I didn’t want everyone to abandon her to the wolves, but some kind of joint custody of our clique would’ve been nice). It was super uncomfortable, and then I transferred schools (although not because of my social situation), and that was kind of it for that entire group- we didn’t stay in touch, and I lost a lot of people who had been very important to me. It was incredibly awful, and is one of the things that makes me worry about being a bad person, because good people are presumably not kicked out of their cliques. It was years ago, but I still carry it around with me, and I still worry that I’m not a good friend, and that if I get close to people I’ll just lose them. So I made myself invisible. I was quiet, and unopinionated, and preferred to not make any impression on people rather than risk having it be a bad one. And as a result, I missed out on a lot of opportunities to get close to some really amazing people. The thing is though, that even though I haven’t made as many good friends (the kind you say you love all the time, and really mean it, and not “you like nine layer dip too?! I love you!” ) since then, I have made some, and I haven’t lost them. They’re still around. They live all over the country, so I don’t get to see them as much as I’d like, but they’re there. I can be trusted to have friends. I’ve always been told that I come off as kind of snooty, when in fact I’m just kind of socially anxious and introverted, but in the past few years it’s been worse because I was so freaked out from losing my friends. And I missed them, but they didn’t give any indication of missing me, so I inferred that I was such a lousy friend that they were glad I was gone, and they had probably never liked me in the first place. Which I suppose is possible, but my current friends like me, and so I must be doing something right. It really isn’t much of an epiphany when you get down to it (I haven’t been losing friends, I just haven’t been making as many because I am a big ball of self-doubt), but now that I’ve figured it out, I feel like I’ll be better at making friends, because I know that even though I mess up (a lot), there are still (non-blood relative) people who love me for who I am. And that makes me feel brave. I even talked to a bunch of people at the juice bar group interview thing last night, I was so emboldened by this revelation. It’s a little uncomfortable, announcing to the internet that I lost almost all of my friends (I always feel kind of sad when I read about people who are best friends with all of their college buddies, and who were all in each other’s weddings and whatnot), but I’m rebuilding. I’ve learned a lot since all that happened, and I think that things will be ok.