Sometimes – most of the time – I feel like I am a terrible friend to people. I don’t know how to cope with emotional situations – my own or anyone else’s. I have no problem with someone coming to me to “cry on my shoulder,” but when they do – especially now where most of them do it online through emails and whatever – I don’t know what to do, what to say. I find myself relegated to “I’m sorry,” which is one of my least favorite sentences ever. Sometimes I say degrading things like “men suck,” or … well, that’s the only example I can think of at the moment. Regardless, I know those things aren’t helpful but it’s all I have.
I say “especially now” but I don’t really do so well in person either. I guess I do okay when someone comes to me specifically and literally cries on my shoulder (or lap or whatever). Then words aren’t as important. You can just rub their back or hair or whatever and let them cry it out and make Mojitos when they’re finished. But being part of a group where one person is upset and everyone else is comforting them, which I often am anymore, I feel awkward and don’t know how to do anything but sit by and feel helpless.
It’s not just about the emotional things either. Not completely. I feel like in order to keep a friendship growing, the friends need to converse on a regular basis but I don’t feel like I have anything to say. I will occasionally send someone a message just saying hi how are you but then I don’t know where to go with it from there, after they respond. And I dread the moment when they ask what did you do today? Because even if I didn’t sit on the couch working on a crochet project or staring at Facebook, even if I walked to Starbucks and had a cup of coffee while I read my book, it sounds like the dumbest thing imaginable and why would anyone want to hear about that?
In the past couple of years, I have become a very conflicted person. I am confident in my abilities but don’t believe other people see them. Or see them as anything worth being confident about. I know that I am a good writer – I know I could be better – but I feel like that isn’t an important thing to be. I don’t know what caused this kind of self-doubt but I feel like it has affected the way I interact with other people. Like, I am a good writer and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else, not really, but when someone asks, I almost feel like they are going to judge me when I tell them. So I just don’t. I had the LP Association, THE fanbase for Linkin Park, the group to whom Mike Shinoda leaked their newest album, tweet the link to my review of Living Things before I even knew it had gone live, and said it was a great review. I am insanely proud of that. I don’t think anyone else cares. So I don’t tell them.*
This seems to have derailed from why I feel like a bad friend to why I shut myself off from other people. Which I guess are two sides of the same coin. But the truth is I don’t know how to do things I think I used to be able to do. Like be friends with people. I have always been kind of a silent observer when I am part of large groups of people. It’s just part of being an art freak – watch people and get inspirations for creating art. But not since I was sixteen/seventeen years old have I felt so afraid of being unwanted, disliked and judged because I’m not doing things the way they should be done. I feel like I push people away without even knowing it. I feel like I am not worthy of being friends with some people or that I am friends with them for a short time and then they just kind of put me in a box marked acquaintances because I’m not friendly enough.
I don’t know if any of this makes any sense. It doesn’t really to me, why should it to any of you? I guess the sum of it is, I feel like I have recently lost a friend because I didn’t know what to say to them without coming off as dull or – worse – clingy. I have another friend who has been going through a lot of shit and I haven’t said one supportive thing to her – because I don’t know what that supportive thing is. “I’m sorry.” That’s all I’ve got for her. And there have been some other things too, with other people, that just as a whole, make me feel like I’m a terrible friend.
* There is more to this that goes off in a different direction, all about chasing dreams but I’ll get to that one later.