Confession: I’m A Terrible Friend A Lot

So I’m sitting here in my grotty trackpants, wondering ‘should I go out and do this thing that I feel like I might not enjoy, because it’s important to someone I love?’ and it hit me.

Surely this isn’t even a question!

It’s important! To someone I care about! And they are important to me therefore this thing is also important to me! It’s a basic transitive property, right?!

And it makes me feel like I’m being a bit terrible again–like, I’m so self-involved that choosing to do something to make someone else happy is this big effing dilemma. It’s not even something horrible like eating spiders or getting teeth pulled. It’s a fun social time that just sounds slightly like it’ll stress me out and might involve things I’d rather not do, but then again, maybe it won’t, because I’m not actually sure what the details are. The stakes are so low that a small and not particularly limber mouse could probably high-jump them. What the hell is my problem?

I’m not saying that we should all just do things we hate because someone we like wants us to. That’s peer pressure at best and toxic co-dependence at worst. And maybe ‘I don’t know if I’ll enjoy it’ is sometimes a perfectly good excuse. After all, I’m being forced into doing plenty of things I don’t enjoy, just because modern late-capitalist existence means I need ‘money’ for food and shelter (and wi-fi). And I’m sure my friend would understand–hell, they probably won’t give my presence or absence a second thought.

But then again, I do this a lot. Because there’s a lot, socially speaking, that makes me uncomfortable and means that I’m often not having pure 100% unadulterated FUN even in the most fun-seeming circumstances. And probably my characteristic Friendship Style–occasional tea dates and out-of-the-blue text messages with really great terrible puns in them–doesn’t make the people I love feel super warm and fuzzy inside the way actually seeing me in large social groups might do. But. I mean. They’re my friends, right? They’ve signed on for this. They’re aware of my Style, they accept it. Right?!

So there’s the rub. I’m afraid that my Style means I’m not doing the heavy lifting, socially and emotionally, that actual friendship requires. And, having been a bit of a loner my entire life, there’s a lot of fear about being friendless. I don’t want to have friends until I really, really want to have friends, and this makes me one of the worst kind of friend.

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