5 years later…
It’s disappointing how little has changed since I wrote this post. I’ve since joined additional Meetup groups and attended many. My work environment has changed. I engage in frequent conversations and generally get along very well with coworkers and people I meet. As always, I am friendly and kind and courteous. I listen to others and express interest in what they say. I am usually positive and cheerful, and never speak badly of anyone. And a year and a half ago, I spent time dating a wonderful man, and we had a positive connection.
But I still remain friendless.
And maybe it is me. I’m sure that I have a strong invisible barrier around me that keeps me from really trying hard enough to go from being friendly to friends with others. It is built out of fear that I will like someone more than they like me. Fear that they will like me, then they will change their minds and disappear. Fear that has been reinforced so much that it has become a reasonable expectation.
I would make a very good friend. I’m such a great person! And I like me. But I am 43 years old, and still chronically lonely — not so lonely that I’m willing to befriend someone who is bad for me, or unkind to others, or has little in common with me, but still quite alone. And I now accept that I will remain that way for the rest of my life.
Why is it so hard to make friends as an adult? Okay, well, maybe it isn’t hard for most adults. Maybe many adults make acquaintances and friends easily, thanks to adept social skills, more outgoing personalities, etc. And certainly for many adults, it is less devastating when friendships end, because it is not so difficult to move on to the next friendship. I wish that I knew how to be that way.
But here I am, 38 years old and feeling once again like the misfit kid on the school playground, reading a book instead of playing tetherball – not because I don’t love to play tetherball, but because no one has invited me. Or because I asked to join the game and was told, no way, not you. So what do you do?…
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