I May Have Made Myself Unfriendable

3 years ago

My longest friendships are with women I have known since childhood … and who currently do not live anywhere near me.

Credit Image: Patsy Melendi on Flickr

I find it difficult to maintain friendships as an adult. I have no problem making friends, but keeping them or having them develop into something meaningful -- that is difficult for me.

I have never had a problem plopping down next to someone in class or in a meeting or wherever and making small talk. As a student, turning to work with whoever was next to me was not an issue. Getting put into groups with people I didn’t know made no difference to me. In fact, in middle and high school my teachers often told my parents that it just didn’t matter where they moved my seat -- I would talk to whoever was there.

But maintaining friendships is hard for me.

My best friends -– who live far away -– are relatively low-maintenance. We rarely talk, sometimes text, and see each other only a handful of times a year. We pick up where we left off when we see each other, but other than texts and cards, we don’t really talk otherwise.  But I know that when I need them, they are there.  And I know they know that about me, too.

But the friends I have here … close to me … I am not a good friend to them.

Because I don’t know how.

I am uncomfortable a lot. I get nervous that I will do or say something that will instantly make me not “hangout-able.”

Being friendly with people is easy; being real friends is difficult.

When someone says, “Hey, we should see that movie sometime,” I don't know if they are just being nice or if they would really like to hang out. So I say, “Yeah! I would love that!” and then I wait for them to set it up because I am afraid if I try to set it up, I will look like I am pressuring them to do something they maybe didn’t want to REALLY do in the first place. Maybe they were just being nice.

So I wait for someone to make the first move, and when someone does go through with setting up legit plans with me, I get so anxious that half the time I end up canceling because I am so paranoid and overwhelmed that I will be a complete letdown.

It’s also hard for me to set aside time to actually have a friend. I have local friends, don’t get me wrong. The problem is that they all live a minimum of a thirty-minute drive away from my house, so it’s not like we can every just randomly drop in.

I do  have a couple of friends who actually live in my neighborhood (::waves at Kelsey and Sarah::), but I feel like my life is so different from theirs. I am running around like a woman possessed during the school year and only really get to spend time with them in the summer when we can have play dates.

I feel like I know what it is to be a good friend, but I feel a little unfriendable.

I want my friends to know I think about them often, but I don’t find the time to tell them.

I see them update their social media about fun things they are doing and I get sad and jealous, even though it’s my own fault for never inviting people over or asking them out to coffee or a movie. It’s my fault for canceling or being unavailable so often that I just don’t get an invite anymore.

The truth is I feel inadequate. I feel that I am not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough, funny enough to hang out with the people I call friends.

The way my life is right now, my family and my job are my priorities. This leaves little time for hanging with friends.

I look at my planner and I realize that I have made myself unfriendable.

Maybe subconsciously I do this on purpose. I avoid rejection by filling my life with things (my jobs) and people (my family) who won’t reject me. Ever.

I throw myself into my work -– both teaching and blogging/writing -– to the point where any extra time I have, I give to my family. I don’t even know how to start with having a “regular friend.”

And now that I have written  all of this, I am afraid that any friends who attempt to spend time with me are doing it out of pity and the experience of hanging out with me will be truly underwhelming and I will never hear from them again.

I am making this all much harder than it should be, I am sure.


Katie Sluiter (pronounced Sly-ter) is  a teacher, wife, and mother, and writer. She chronicles her life at sluiternation.com

This is an article written by a member of the SheKnows Community. The SheKnows editorial team has not edited, vetted or endorsed the content of this post. Want to join our amazing community and share your own story? Sign up here.

More from living

by Jana Randall | 3 days ago
by Catherine Conelly | 6 days ago
by Julie Sprankles | 11 days ago
by Justina Huddleston | 13 days ago
by Bryanne Salazar | 13 days ago
by Heather Barnett | 24 days ago
by Justina Huddleston | a month ago
by Kenzie Mastroe | a month ago
by Julie Sprankles | a month ago
by Justina Huddleston | a month ago
by Fairygodboss | a month ago