Fear of Friendship

I’m trying to befriend a guy I recently met – mainly by finding things we have in common… things we can do together. It’s not a relationship based on attraction; I just need more friends who are already my colleagues. He’s an upstanding guy, and I’m trying to make it work.Slowly I’ve felt like maybe I’m making headway… where headway really isn’t much… getting a response when I talk with him, or coming up, twice, with something that we could do. It’s something… but not much.I’m trying to befriend a guy I recently met – mainly by finding things we have in common… things we can do together. It’s not a relationship based on attraction; I just need more friends who are already my colleagues. He’s an upstanding guy, and I’m trying to make it work.

Slowly I’ve felt like maybe I’m making headway… where headway really isn’t much… getting a response when I talk with him, or coming up, twice, with something that we could do. It’s something… but not much.

So it shouldn’t have been surprising when he canceled on me today because he was doing stuff with another friend… and didn’t invite me because he wasn’t sure if I’d want to come… but surprise isn’t the right word. What had been a good day suddenly turned about-face and went downhill from there.

The strange thing is that I know, completely, that to him there isn’t a breach in our slowly-growing friendship. Difficulties in communication are totally normal for people when they’re learning about each other, and we really don’t know each other very well yet. We’ll meet up tomorrow, and it’ll be like nothing happened on his side. Everything is normal, and there’s no need to be concerned. So why do I feel betrayed, frustrated, confused, or whatever it is that’s inside my head? This doesn’t really make sense.

Looking back, though, I don’t think this is an uncommon experience. I don’t get close to people very often – especially guys. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s because I’m afraid the relationship won’t last even if I try. And then, when I actually do try, and the relationship shows any sign of need for improvement, red flags go off in my head instead of just being something to note for the future.

It could be because I’ve had people disappear on me before, without any notice. Relationships that seemed to be healthy from every aspect I could see that disappeared overnight, without a trace… and that left plenty of evidence that it was somehow my fault. I think the paranoia makes sense on that regard – having friends who move away so they don’t see me anymore, others whose last words are that it’s too hard to be my friend, and others that simply cut off all communication without explanation are good reasons to be paranoid about any sign that I could be losing another battle.

But does the paranoia, regardless of whether it’s self-made or circumstantial, really help? Or is it just shooting me in the foot? For much of today, I’ve struggled to concentrate on anything for very long. And tomorrow, will it affect me? Is it something that I can even change? And the sheer act of writing a blog post on something so incredibly small makes me think that I have OCD.

I think that maybe this is a sign that I’m expecting too much from my relationships with other people… far too soon. And I guess that makes some sense… based on the friendship patterns that have worked and not worked for me in the past. Most of my friendships just disappear with the circumstances that brought us together. The only real friendships that have lasted a long time have been with God and a few family members. Right now, whenever I need someone to talk with, or consult, or if I have any need at all, I turn to God… and He’s always there for me. He’s always willing to drop anything to listen, and He will always take the time to understand when I need help. I can work, or go to the gym, or simply sit, and He is there – ready and willing and able to be a friend. My family is the same. And when I’m looking for friends, I guess I’m expecting them to fit that role, and that’s what I find myself trying to offer as a friend.

But people don’t always want an instant best friend – someone who treats them like family from the first meeting. And some people can’t reciprocate, or aren’t used to that level of trust… and while I want to be the perfect friend, and completely available to people, sometimes I’m not. I get lost in depression, and so busy that I don’t check my phone for hours or my email for days.

That feels like the issue here at hand… and I think what I need to do is just realize what is happening inside my mind and come to grips with what is happening. As I slowly gain friends, they’re going to be imperfect. They aren’t going to know my thoughts unless I share them. They aren’t going to know the frustrations and difficulties I face in life unless I tell them. And even if I do tell them, that doesn’t mean that they will understand. They may not always be around for me. They may not ever really empathize or get what I’m facing. But one thing I do know – if I can be a friend to them, at least they will care about me… and they’ll be able to slowly help me become a better person. And each person will have the ability to fill at least some small part in my life… and that’s good enough.

Will I ever find a mortal someone who really gets me? I don’t know. Hopefully, if/when I fall in love, that woman will be able to understand what’s happening in my head, and I in hers, but I’m not sure that’s very likely. Normal guys have enough trouble communicating and intuiting. đŸ™‚ But I think I’m making headway with the subconscious within me. People are imperfect. Relationships, even if they don’t work out, are worthwhile. Don’t be afraid to dive in, but remember to give everything and expect nothing in return. That way, everything I receive is a gift.

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