The Friends Dilemma

From Laurel Mosher, member of The Lunch Club:

I have the unfortunate problem of wanting friends but at the same time being too lazy and inadequate in the ways of social interaction to obtain them. Why am I the way that I am? I don’t know. I was teased in middle school, but I didn’t realize it at the time (socially oblivious as usual), so it didn’t really effect me much. I’ve said the wrong thing at the wrong time, but who hasn’t? Maybe there was a day that I missed as a child where they taught all of the other children how to talk to each other and no one decided to inform me. Maybe I’m an alien with fake memories and therefore unaccustomed to the ways of this planet. Maybe I’m simply different, and I can’t help being different.

It’s not like I’m completely alone, sometimes people even text me! It’s impressive, I know. But the problem with that is that I don’t know how to talk to people, or sometimes I can’t be bothered to talk to people. It’s too much effort to unlock my phone, open the message, read the message, think of an appropriate response to the message, type out a reply to the message, and then send that reply. Usually I don’t respond. I know it’s horrible, but what if I didn’t think of the right response, what if I think of something better, what if they take my sarcasm the wrong way (which happens A LOT). It’s a constant battle in my head of not wanting to seem weird or offend anyone but at the same time wanting to be a quirky individual who does what she wants.

Also, I find it hard to approach people originally if I’m on my own. Put me around people that I’m comfortable with (a.k.a. my mom) and I’m a goofy, social wizard. But the moment that I’m in a new environment, on my own, the possibility of me to behave correctly in front of other human beings flies out of the window. I’m not sure if I’m simply shy, an introvert, or an actually socially anxious person. Words just seem to elude me when trying to converse with new people. It’s not that others are particularly helpful. Most write me off as strange, or cold, or uncool, so they leave me alone. That’s good when I’m in a “I can’t be bothered” mood, but most of the time I just need a little help. If someone puts in the smidge of extra effort to make conversation with me, then I usually can keep it going and speak more freely. This may seem hypocritical, seeing as I can’t make conversation myself, but it’s not that I don’t try or don’t want to. I’m afraid.

When approached by Stephen to make a contribution to his blog at first I was ecstatic. I was amazed that he had 1. seen my YouTube Video 2. enjoyed/related to the video and 3. wanted me to write about my views on how it’s hard to make friends. But when I actually sat down to write the opinion piece, of which I was very passionate about and had a lot of opinions on, there were no words that seemed adequate enough. No way I could get my point across. No way I could write a piece worthy of his blog. I thought maybe I shouldn’t write anything, maybe I should just decline the offer. Nothing I wrote would be good enough. I wasn’t good enough. These are the exact same feelings that prohibit me from actively seeking out and making new friends. The exact same feelings that keep me cooped up in my dorm room every night listening to my hall mates’ laughter.

It’s difficult to show who I am to others, but I have to believe that it will get better. That someday the switch will be flipped and I will be more comfortable in my skin. I have days sometimes where I feel like I own the world, but most of the time I’m just there. I’m not depressed, but I’m not happy either. I know that there are many out there who feel the same way, and our society needs to realize that not everyone is naturally outgoing. While there has been progress, mainly on the internet, to recognizing shy people (some people even try to act awkward to seem “cute”, blegh) but there is no where near the appropriate amount of acceptance and support in the real world. Perhaps I haven’t met the right people yet, but right now I’m lost.

Let me just add to this and say, I’m incredibly glad you decided to contribute this. It speaks to me in more ways than one. -Stephen


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