I don’t know how to interact with people.
This isn’t entirely a new discovery, but it’s something that I’m learning more and more. I’ve always had people whose company I really enjoy and with whom I would like to be friends. I want to be around them. Just to hang out.
But most of the time, they don’t seem to want to be around me. Or they want to help “take care of me,” be there for me when I need something, but they don’t want to just hang out.
Somehow, this has led to a tendency to interact with people on the basis of needing something. I don’t like asking people for things. In fact, I downright hate it. Yet I feel so often like people just don’t want to be around me unless there’s something wrong, something I need, or unless there’s something they need that I can help them with.
I wish I had some major break-through to say on this topic. And this one–I’m not even saying that this has anything to do with my parents, except maybe that I’ve used my issues from growing up as a way of having people talk to me. (I didn’t invent things, mind you. Rehashed some elements more often than I should have, sure, but I didn’t invent them.)
But I don’t. My only break-through is a realization that I seriously have no idea how to interact with people. I want to be there for other people. I want people there for me. But that isn’t all there is, that can’t be all there is. I love laughing with people too, but somehow I end up too intense and even getting together and laughing together starts to feel like a burden, a strain on time. I even like getting together and just doing our own thing in the same room, just to be around each other.
I know that kind of friendship takes a long time to build for most people. But it doesn’t take me a long time to feel that close to others, and it’s so frustrating to me that it takes that long to build that friendship locally.
I do have friends. And a wonderful husband, who is most definitely my best friend on earth. But other than my husband, I don’t have many local friends. Most of them are spread across the country and (in some cases) around the world. I have one amazing close friend, one who mentored me throughout middle school and high school, and has been an amazing friend always. I don’t know how or why she’s put up with me, why I don’t become a major drain on her as well. But she is such an amazing blessing from God and I can never possibly repay all she’s done for me.
But she lives a little over half an hour away and often travels for work, so we can only get together every once in a while.
I have recently developed another friend, one who lives almost as far away as that friend. So far, things are fine, but having recently lost a good friend of many years to my own inability to interact correctly–and I don’t say there wasn’t fault on both sides, but I do know that the most major issues could easily both have been my fault*–I’m terrified of losing this new friend as well. I second-guess everything I say, I don’t know how often to ask to get together, or how often is too often. My intensity and social cluelessness has, in the past, driven people away from ever being a close friend, but I’ve never lost a close friend like that. Drifted away, sure, but never been cut off like that. And I know that, in this most recent case, I lost her as much for the things I did without realizing it, as for the things I didn’t do because I kept second-guessing myself.
And the worst part? I tried asking her how to do things differently, and I’ve tried asking other people how I could do things differently, and they’ve always said basically the same things that make me second-guess myself.
I just don’t know what to do. I don’t know how to be who other people need me to be. And that is all I have to say for today.
*The two issues that I know could easily both be my fault: she felt like I was draining her, I felt like she was draining me. I know they can definitely both be my fault because I don’t know how to interact with people. I made her feel drained because I didn’t know how to interact with her. She made me feel drained because I didn’t know how to interact with her. When she’d struggled with something in the past, I didn’t know how to know that those struggles were done. That was my fault for not making her feel like she could just talk to me about these things. This friendship was drifting apart anyway because we just don’t have enough in common anymore. A friendship may start with just a few things in common, but it can’t be maintained with only a few things in common. And since I’m obviously not good for her, I have no problem with letting her go, though I still miss her and it still hurts. But I wish it hadn’t ended with the anger that it ended with. She told me in a very loving way that she felt drained by me. I tried to say in a loving way that I felt drained by her, and was even ready to admit that that could all be my own fault and nothing to do with her, but apparently I didn’t say it right because she got very angry and started telling me things that I’ve done wrong to her, things I never knew had upset her. I’ve hurt her in so many ways and I don’t know how to fix it. It’s been many weeks, but I haven’t yet gotten past this or figured out how to repair things, not to the point of friendship, but just to get past the hurt and anger. I’m yet again in that place of not knowing how to interact–I should be the “bigger person” and go to her, but I have no idea how to, or if I’ll just make things worse.
And that ended up being a whole sub-blog post to the regular one up there, but I don’t feel like I can separate these, and since my ultimate goal isn’t readership anyway, but to just have my own outlet for dealing with things, well, I’ll keep it the way it is.