Hello, this is going to be about friendship.
I feel like this is something I struggle with all the time. The idea of “struggling with friendship” is a weird concept, anyway. Like, how can I struggle with something that’s so inherent? As humans, we have relations with one another, ranging from familial relations to physical ones, and it’s completely normal that somewhere in the middle, you’d find a person you like enough to spend time with in a Platonic sense. Friendship. But I don’t know. I’m just not sure.
Let me retrace some steps here. My thinking is never linear, so I’m trying to make this make sense.
Growing up, I had a lot of really good friends. In elementary school, I was semi-popular and very well-liked. I got along well with everyone. I was — I am — very intelligent, and people liked this about me. Fast forward a bit to moving cities in middle school and growing up in a new environment. As any kid would, I struggled a bit to find my bearings and relearn parts of myself that I had to bury just to be well-liked again by this new set of people (more on likability in the future. Note: it’s bullshit). I feel like I had to work hard to regain my confidence from the age of maybe 12 to like 19/20. It was a long trip. And in between, I’ve met good and incredibly mediocre people. I’ve made friends with good people and I’ve made friends with mediocre people as well.
Two things: I’m aware it’s rude to categorize people as such, but you can’t deny that some friends are just better friends than others; and, “if they’re so mediocre, why are you still friends with them, huh?” To the last question: I wish I fucking knew lol. Like I said previously, I’m soft, not rigid. I’m working on it, but then again, should I? If this is just how I am, is that really a bad thing? The world needs both kinds.
For a bit, I contemplated just peacing out and distancing myself from my mediocre friends, but that didn’t work. I can’t do that, anyway. It’s not who I am. I prayed maybe they would treat me better, and it didn’t happen. I waited it out. I prayed maybe I would treat them better, and it didn’t happen. You know what it was? I was faking a lot of the time. And then I thought, well, what’s the point of faking? Be honest, be truthful, own your anger, own your rightness. And I was a bit angry, but more so at myself, that I accepted this behaviour from them and that I thought so little of myself that I thought this, the absolute bare minimum, was good enough. At the end of the day, it all reflected on me. This is the kind of relationship I’m willing to allow: one where people who parade me around like a prize don’t actually know anything about me; one where people who want to stake claim to my uniqueness are the first to criticize my choices. One where I’m only good for unloading grievances but not really to hang out with. One where I’m brought around only to be ignored.
People change and it’s not like this (very much) anymore. Truthfully, things have gotten better for me on the friend front. I can laugh comfortably with the mediocre ones, but it’s been so long that I honestly don’t even want to anymore. If I had a choice, I would rather spend it with the good friends than the mediocre ones. I feel like that’s logical.
I don’t think I’m a horrible friend, but I’m slowly opening myself up to the idea that I might be. I realize every relationship is a two-way street, so I’m trying to understand maybe where I went wrong as well. When I moved to my new city as a child, I became very shy, but that’s not my personality at all. I developed this personality to hide from being so different from others, and as I grew and made friends with this personality, I realized I was surrounding myself with people I didn’t really feel understood me. So maybe as a result, I wasn’t totally honest with them, and that is 100% my fault. I did this to myself. I wasn’t a good friend simply because I was never honest with people about what I was really like. The small, immature part of my brain is screaming “well, every time I tried to be honest, they made me feel lesser than!”, but I’m going to quiet her for now. This isn’t about that.
I feel like I’ve been going around in circles. I realize none of this probably makes any real sense.
I want to talk about my good friends, though. I want to dedicate thought space to them. I have friends who are older and younger than me, who are accomplished and who are well on their way to real success, who are bright and funny and thoughtful and exhilarating. Friends who make me feel like I’ve made the right decision to be around them. Friends who allow me to laugh and cry. Friends who have me throwing my phone when they say something I feel resonates with me so well. Friends who are what real friends are supposed to be like. They’re beautiful people and I can honestly say I love them dearly. I am incapable of loving anyone as much as my own family because that’s just how I am, but they’re very close and very high up there. I am blessed to know them.
I realize this, like a lot of self-made problems in my life, stems back to authenticity. It’s something I look for in others, but really, it’s something I should be looking for in myself too. Always. I’ve started to do so, and it’s a process. If I want true friendships and strong relationships, I need to be as authentic as the people I seek. It’s not a one-way thing. It’s taking me awhile to learn that, but I’m getting there.