English: me and my friend

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Okay. Last post of 2011. As I reflect on this past year, it’s led me to do some serious thinking about the world I’m presently inhabiting. There is one issue that has been nagging me for some time, and has taken on great significance over the year, and that’s friendship.

The truth is, I don’t think I understand what it means to be friends with someone anymore. I don’t HAVE friends. At least I don’t think I do. I have ‘friends’ on Facebook, but can I consider them ‘real’ friends or just acquaintances? I don’t know what to think anymore, really. It bothers me a lot, to be honest. People who know me are deeply concerned that I have no friends in real life, and they are worried how I will survive once they move away from me. I thought I could manage on my own, but they don’t think so. I have no support networks in place, no one I really trust. Part of the problem is that they have no idea what it’s like to be in my shoes, how I feel. It terrifies me at times, being placed in social settings. I don’t know how to act around people and it makes me just want to hide. The anxiety I get at times is so bad I feel I’m in a blind panic and need to escape. I don’t know what to say to people, i feel ridiculous just being part of a discussion and not having anything to say. I’m too self-centered, I’m told by some people. I focus too much on myself and not enough on others, so I just shut up. I try to ask others about their lives, just to make the effort, but it seems never enough for those who know me.

When I think about what a true friend is, this is what comes up for me. A true friend can look you in the eye, tell you all the things you don’t like and you still love them no matter what. They are that shoulder to cry on when you don’t want to deal with anyone else. They are someone you can do all kinds of crazy, fun things with and remember those experiences with fondness. They are people you can trust with your deepest, darkest secrets and know they will not betray you. Maybe this is an idealized view, but it’s what I truly believe in.

If I don’t make friends this year, I’m screwed. If I do not firmly establish a connection with actual people, meeting face to face within this year, I don’t know what’s going to happen to me. I don’t know how to make those people who know me happy; it’s like being given an ultimatum, as if I have to walk up o a crowd of people and demand their friendship or suffer the consequences of loved ones for failing. I want people to like me, I want to make people think I’m a good person, but I can’t force friendship on others. I keep getting pressured to join book clubs, or do volunteering, but I get scared. I love books, and I love animals, so they keep thinking both areas would be good for me. I feel like if I don’t get immediately accepted by others, or liked, it means I’ve failed in my pursuit of friendship. I have this idea that about 90% of people hate or don’t care I exist. 9% maybe would consider being my friend, but probably not. The last 1% would be the true friends, but those are rarer than hen’s teeth.

Maybe some of you have something to offer; maybe one of you has advice that I can put to use right away. I can’t live alone my whole life, it seems, so I must make connections. How? How does someone like me, with my fears and self-loathing do this? I can’t afford a life coach, as much as one would be extremely beneficial in my case. Tell me, talk to me about something I can do for the new year. I have to get this done by the end of the new year, for my own survival. I want to enter 2012 with a positive outlook, and I’ve discovered I just can’t do it all alone.