I’ve generally been a relatively solitary person. This isn’t because I wanted it that way; I’m really quite jealous sometimes of Adam’s ability to integrate himself into a group, to make friends so easily and just generally be outgoing in social situations. I am really not at all similar to him in that sense. Groups make me uneasy at best, and downright depressed at worst. This is the first thing that thwarts me in my attempts to make friends.
The second thing is the fact that I just don’t trust people. I don’t comfortably open up to very many people – and none of those people live on the West Coast, except for Adam, and in this case he doesn’t really count. What I’m talking about is friends of the sort that you sit around with and talk about the things that are really bothering you that you maybe don’t want to talk to your significant other about, maybe because he’s what you want to talk about, or maybe because he doesn’t really understand, or maybe because you want a different perspective about something from someone who doesn’t live with you. For whatever reason, in this case he doesn’t count.
What I’ve been trying to work out for the past couple of weeks is why I’m like this – the reason that I can’t make new close friends. I’m not close to anyone here, there isn’t that sort of connection that I had with some people back in Toronto (very few, granted, but it was there.) I just don’t want to unload my problems on anyone – I feel as though they really don’t want to hear it or deal with it. Years ago I had a friend tell me as much, and it hurt a lot – since then I’m probably over cautious about opening up to anyone. I was never that comfortable with it in the first place, and having someone tell me they didn’t want to hear about my problems again was a bit of a blow. Looking back, that seems about the time that I stopped really trusting people. And that’s bad.
It’s a pretty sad thing that I don’t trust people enough to let them be my friend. I’m happy to be their friend, to listen when they need someone to talk to, just to be there for them, but if I turn the tables in any way I fall back and hide rather than let them help me. It could be pride, not wanting to show weakness or something. It could be that I’m afraid I’ll get hurt again. Whatever it could be, whatever it is, I really need to change it, but now I don’t know how. I can’t just ask someone to be my friend – I tried that in an indirect sort of way, and it felt false to me.
The thing is, I could really use someone to talk to about how I feel about the future, the potential of having kids, fights with Adam, serious things that you don’t really cover in small talk with casual friends and acquaintances. How do you start conversations like that? How do you do it without feeling like you’re just whining, and that they don’t want to hear about your petty annoyances or your actual problems?
It’s like I need an invitation. I need to know outright that it’s safe to talk to you, that you won’t turn me away when things get a little dark or dirty. Because you know, when you’ve got a dark and dirty past, that’s how things get sometimes. And when you have a fight with someone, or when you feel insecure about your life, or you’re upset about something, uncertain, unwilling, whatever it is – these things aren’t pretty happy light and smiles.
It’s not like I’m always dark and depressed – far from it. But there are times that I need someone to talk to, and it can’t always be Adam.
Now to figure out how to move towards this concept of letting friends become more than casual…