This past week has been a whirlwind in our house, first celebrating my birthday, then Zoe’s fifth, and now that the dust has settled I find myself reflecting on my life. I think about accomplishments I am proud of, and things I would change if I had the chance.
I am a pretty rad person if I do say so myself. I work in a career that I love where I get to help kids. I have a great family, a home, and I am working on my health.
I wouldn’t say I have many regrets in life, I mean I believe that my experiences have made me the person I am today, and my dad says I am a pretty okay person, so that means something right? But, when I think about things I wish were different, I always fall back on my inability to create and foster meaningful intimate relationships
Now, I’m not talking about sexual relationships. I am happily married and for the most part we are a great team. What I am missing in my life is a group of close friends who I can complain to about my husband, go on girl trips with, or even just hang out in silence because we are that comfortable together.
I have had, and continue to have intimate friendships, but really only with two different people in my lifetime.
See, my struggle is maintaining relationships and these struggles started in childhood. I remember always having “friends” but once summer vacation came along I would be alone. My dad always encouraged me to get my friends phone numbers, but something, probably anxiety, always stopped me.
This theme has stayed with me into adulthood. I have friends at work, but rarely, if ever, spend time outside of work with those people. Things are different now though and my excuses as to why I can’t are more complex. It’s easy for me to turn down invites now because I have Zoe, my built in excuse. Do I want to always say no! Of course not.
Now, what’s my problem? I mean, it’s not that I don’t want friends, or that I am not able to connect with people. I am a pretty funny, sociable person (this social distancing stuff is a struggle due to the lack of social connection with others).
Here’s what I see as my problem. I have lived in a routine my entire life where I am ambivalent towards building relationships. I am more comfortable being lonely than being vulnerable, and I am self-conscious (why would people want to be my friend anyways?).
I wonder if there are people who think we are friends but because I have skewed sense of reality and social anxiety that I just don’t see it.
What do I do now? I am in my thirties, raising a kid who has tons of appointments and extra challenges who takes up a lot of my time, and I am scared to put myself out there. I am basically new to the friendship scene, but don’t even know where to start. What I do know is that this is something that I want to change in my life. I no longer want to avoid relationships, I want to step out of my comfort zone and meet new people, or even put more energy into the people I already know.
My goal this year is to work on creating new friendships by meeting new people and getting out more socially. Will it be hard? Probably! Will it be worth it? I hope so. I mean, who doesn’t need a few extra people to love in their lives?