My best friend in middle school was bullied for being ugly. And maybe she was. But I couldn’t notice. All I could see was how much she understood my sardonic sense of humor and that was enough to make us inseparable. That was the last friendship I had where I laughed from my belly, sat in comfortable silence and didn’t have to get ‘cute’ just to go over to her house. Because back then, I didn’t care whether someone was attractive or ugly, rich or poor, smart or dumb; if they gave me their heart, I gave them mine. But somewhere along the lines, society taught me to stop being drawn to others for who they were and instead… what they were.
If envied something about a person, I wanted to be near them, and therefore, I began befriending people for the most superficial reasons. Because they were thin and tall and beautiful. Because they were “poppin” amongst the NYC scene. Because they were privileged and could spend frivolously. Because they were extroverted and wouldn’t hesitate to hop on the nearest table and dance. It was as if I subconsciously believed that surrounding myself with all the characteristics I wanted to have, but didn’t, would somehow make those things rub off on me. And sometimes it worked… but for the most part, these “friendships” made me feel insubordinate, awful and downright oppressed. Except I didn’t know that they were causing me such inner turmoil because certainly, a friend is someone to help you through your sadness, and never the source of it. Right?
So I continued these friendships that didn’t operate on the basis of reciprocity. With people who were too self absorbed to bare. Who always seemed to be in some unspoken competition with me. Who’s basic morals and principles just didn’t align with mine. And eventually, with each invite, I started coming up with any and every excuse to avoid my “bffs”. And finally, last week, I was confronted about it…
“Why are you so flaky?”, a friend demanded to know.
I fell silent. I sincerely didn’t have an answer. But the question alone provoked my own curiosity. And just like that, the answer dawned on me. How had something so obvious escaped me for such a long time?
“Being around you just doesn’t make me feel good.” I responded quite frankly.
I immediately felt relief. Acknowledging and accepting that being around certain people just doesn’t make me feel good liberated me. Alas, I can begin to heal and connect with individuals who’s energy (not looks) appeal to me. I can start to cultivate real genuine friendships. Which, unbeknownst to me, is something I’ve been longing for.