I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship lately.
A few years ago I reconnected with some of my best girlfriends from my childhood via a Facebook messenger chat. What began as a space to organize a Secret Santa gift exchange has become a years long running conversation with some of my favorite people on the planet. I’m SO grateful that I was included in the original exchange–we now live in multiple provinces and cities, and the real gift for me that year was getting back in touch with a group of incredible women, some that I’ve known since grade one.
I had a conversation with them earlier this week about something that was bothering me, and it shook a memory loose. I have a friend that unfriends / unfollows me on social media, then seemingly changes their mind. Every so often I’ll receive another friend / follow request from them, and each time I wonder why I was deleted. The behavior carries over into real life, as my relationship with this person tends to run very hot and cold.
I know it might not actually be personal– something I post or say or do might be triggering for them. Maybe I’M triggering for them.
There was something about the repeated on again / off again nature of these requests bothered me more than I cared to admit… and as I talked with my friends and mulled about it, I think I realized why:
It feels a little like this person can’t decide if they want to be my friend or not.
It’s only one person. It shouldn’t bother me. I spend so much time here talking about knowing your worth.
And yet… it bothered me. Deeply. And as I thought about it, I remembered an experience from a few years ago that I had forgotten.
Maybe I forgot it intentionally. It wasn’t my favorite day.
Several years ago, I used to love to plan things. I organized book clubs, parties, dinners and get togethers. I actually LOVE playing hostess and organizing social activities, even if it’s just very casual.
But as time passed, I began to notice that people seemed busier. It happens sometimes. I would suggest dinner out or a get together with my local friends, and more and more it felt like they just weren’t.. interested. Life was busy. I get that.
…but then I’d see photos of them out, just with other people. So I quietly began to wonder if really, deep down, they were just too busy for me.
Then a few years ago I decided to host a little get together at my house. Nothing fancy– I just invited some of my girl friends over to hang out, eat appetizers and unwind after a long week. They all responded yes. So, I cleaned my house. I bought food. M made arrangements to go out with friends. I was really looking forward to it.
…then, an hour or two before, they began canceling one by one, independently of each other. Every. Single. Person.
It happens. Life gets busy. People are tired.
But that day it felt more like my friends were just tired of me.
Not going to lie, I had a good cry that night.
I don’t mean this to be a pity party. There are far greater problems in the world. I moved on.
…but the ease with which I had once invited people into my home disappeared. I always worried that people wouldn’t want to come. That unless my house was spotless and inviting, with good food, a good group and some other kind of fun draw, it wouldn’t be enough.
If it was just me, it wouldn’t be enough.
I wouldn’t be enough.
To be totally and embarrassingly honest, I still struggle with it. I am a grown adult. I know not everyone will like me. I don’t expect them to.
Actually, I think deep down I kind of expect them not to.
I am always nervous making plans, especially with new people. For all that I talk about having confidence in yourself and knowing your worth, it’s such a struggle for me. I’m working on it.
But this person repeatedly deleting and readding me just hit a nerve I’ve long tried to keep covered.
I like who I am. I like who I’ve become.
I guess I just still don’t trust that other people will.
It just makes me all the more grateful for the community we’ve built here. It’s a space where I’ve always felt that I could let my walls down and let others see the real me… even when it’s hard to do in “real life”.
So, thank you. Thanks for always showing up to this party.
It means more than you know.