I never really had many close friends growing up. I had friends, I was just never anyone’s first choice to hang out with. And I felt like an outsider. All the time. I never really felt like I belonged.
I always emotionally distanced myself from everyone. If you don’t get close enough, you can’t get hurt or end up disappointed.
Having been bullied and suffering from anxiety didn’t help much and I often retreated into my shell. It was my comfort zone. Where I felt safest and where I felt the least judged and it was often my only way to get through the days.
After High School
There comes a point well after High School when you think all the pettiness and drama has left and all the childish gossip is left well behind in a place you’d rather forget. But it doesn’t really.
There was plenty of it at work. Definitely more than I would have liked.
And when your kids start school, it all comes flooding back.
It’s like it never leaves.
Judgement in Parenthood
So fast forward many, many years since High School, and not a lot has changed.
I’ve never really had any close friends.
On the couple of occasions I struck a friendship with someone it ended in disaster and made me feel worse than ever.
Being overly judged left me feeling like a terrible mother for weeks. Over what I fed my son. He was a fussy eater who rarely ate anything else, and apparently what I was feeding him was causing his eczema. Which even though I knew it wasn’t true, I knew it wasn’t the best for him. But if he didn’t want what was offered, he wouldn’t eat. He was already rather skinny and I’d rather he didn’t starve.
So that feeling of being judged, is one that has stuck with me. It’s almost constant.
Because I hear it all the time. People judging others, behind their backs. Even their friends.
It seems fake and it gets too much.
So, I usually keep to myself.
Not having close friends used to bother me, but not so much anymore. I learnt more to depend on myself and not having to rely on anyone for anything.
These days, I find I’m too busy to make time for anyone, anyway. My kids take up a lot of time and while I do need social interaction, I’m finding playgroup and occasional interactions are enough.
I’m slowly finding my confidence again. But it’s not easy.
Especially when your kids go to school. I think the judgement is more rife than ever.
I don’t think I would have the time to spend regularly catching up with someone. And then I’d feel guilty for not making the time for them or be there when they needed me and I’d feel worse.
It’s not that I don’t care about being a great friend, I think it’s just after being burned so many times, it’s been ingrained in me to stay well away from the fire.
I have found friends come and go. Even friends I caught up with often when my son was little. Things change, people change, people move. So many things make it harder.
I’ve always been by myself and it’s just become what I do.
Where to go From Here
Some people are so lucky to have close friends they have known for ages, and it just works.
It’s not that I love being a terrible friend, I’ve just become so used to being by myself where I don’t fear being judged or where I just feel like I’m doing everything wrong or have to hear about what everyone else is doing wrong.
There will always be those days where I feel alone and miss that connection.
But I’m trying to work on being happier myself, and to do that I’m trying to avoid the negativity that seems to be abundant everywhere, especially around people I thought were friends.
So yes, I am a terrible friend.
But for now, I’m okay with that.
Do you have close or a lot of friends? Or do you prefer being alone like me?