I am a horrible friend. No, really, I am a horrible friend. It's not that I am antisocial. It's not that I really don't like people. I use my husband as the excuse. Oh, I can't go to lunch with you because, well, Chris gets frustrated when I am gone. He does, but that is not the real reason.
Credit Image: Scarleth Marle on Flickr
I grew up an only child. My mother used to say she thought she lived in a nut house. Dad would be talking to himself in the basement, and I would be talking to myself upstairs. She would be on the main floor of our two-story house listening to us both. I grew up outside a small town in the country. We had neighbors, but I wasn't exactly friends with them. To be honest, I was far more comfortable by myself than with most kids around me.
This is not to say that I am socially inept. I get along with the majority of people. I make friends easily, and I think people like to work with me. In fact, I can probably count on one hand the amount of people who dislike me. Those people do dislike me intensely, though.
I am a very open person. What you see is what you get. I could care less what you know about me. I will share everything about me, even if it means putting myself down to make you feel at ease. This has frustrated my husband and children. I have learned to leave out information that would upset them. I feel safer sharing my life as a joke or on the pages of my blog than in person. Pretty sad, huh?
I aim to be nonjudgmental with my friends and family. I try to be there for them if they need me, but I am still deep down that little girl who feels safer sitting out in the field where no one can see me, talking to my cat. I hate talking on the phone. I am not comfortable going out on the town with friends. I always feel like the odd man out. This is where I get out of hanging out with people by blaming Chris.
The funny thing is Facebook has reconnected me with the childhood friends who have known me the longest. It has also allowed me to stay connected to the people I have worked with and I consider as friends. Living here in Florida has introduced me to some amazing people whom I truly love. I feel blessed with the friends in my life. The problem is I don't really know how to fit them into my life.
The other thing about Facebook is it lets me be friends without any effort. I mean, I may have small conversations with people. I may "like" something they post, but I don't have to go have lunch or coffee or dinner with them. Is this a good thing or bad? I really don't know.
The difference between my childhood friends and newer friends is the childhood friends have withstood the test of time. We are the kind of friends that despite the time and distance we pick up right where we left off. They also understand what my life is and who I am. They forgive my idiosyncrasies. The newer friends are the ones I am most insecure about. They don't know my history and the personality they see is the one that I show the world while working.
I have made many friends here in Florida, but I am not so sure if I have or not. It is hard for me to sit down and spend time with someone. I don't make a lot of money, so going out to eat is hard to do. I prefer to spend my evenings and weekends with my husband. A girls' cruise like the one my friend Jessica did recently is totally out of the question. I have Monday afternoons and Friday afternoons open. I have one friend whom I adore, but never make time for her. I know she has given up on me. I don't blame her. I am very sorry, Val.
The truth is I have a husband who loves to spend time with me, and I love to spend time with him. My mother is now here in Florida living near me. I am finally able to have a relationship with her that does not include my dad. My eldest daughter has moved closer, and I get to babysit her daughter and spend some time with my daughter. Add all of this to my cooking, gardening, and writing, and I just don't know how to find the time to share with others.
I realize a large part of the blame is on me. Why can I share the most intimate information about me, but sharing a meal or spending time alone with another person intimidates me? You would never know it if you met me.
I don't always realize that we are friends, if you know what I mean. You see, I am not all that confident in friendship. I prefer to be safe and alone. There is also a two-way street with friendships. I am insecure about being the one who always makes the effort. Asking someone to walk the causeway with me constantly makes me feel needy and not the kind of friend someone would need or want. In every friendship there is always the one who does make the majority of effort.
I guess everyone has their own limitations when it comes to friendships. I'm just being honest. I love my friends and I am here for each one of them, but unless a miracle happens in which their schedule and mine are the same, we aren't going for coffee or having a girls'night out. I am here to listen and not judge. I am here to pray for you and to encourage you when you are down, but otherwise I suck.
So if you know me, forgive me, please. I am an only child who still seeks the solitude instead of the crowds. It is my safety blanket.
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