a young woman's experience with anxiety


How do you make friends?

I used to know how and I used to do it effortlessly.

But, then, you know…I was 10.

I’m 23 and …I have no friends. Well, I have acquaintances and people I text/call occasionally but they’re either old friends or college friends who all live out of state. Oy…no bueno!

I guess it’s because I’m confused (about myself.)

I’ve been extremely unfulfilled socially for a decade. I started surrounding myself with “safe friends” in high school. Basically, I felt like “safe friends” wouldn’t reject me and I didn’t necessarily like them (rude I know). The part that gets me is — there was a mutual friendship attraction (lol) between me and other people but I distanced myself from them. I brought these behaviors with me to college, too, even though I tried not to.

At some point, I stopped picking “safe friends” and went for people I actually liked. But then I kinda took on the role of “counselor.” Someone who gave good advice. I was afraid to show my “flaws” with them, afraid they’d reject me for them and I was lonely and thought this was the only way someone could like me.

Then in the past 2 years, I switched schools, worked a lot and was afraid to go to the school’s clubs, etc so I made no friends.


Why does my behavior sound SO RIDICULOUS now that I’m looking back? I knew then that I was acting pretty strangely. I just didn’t know how to stop it.

So now…I’m like…who am I?  I know who I am but I’m still afraid to show it sometimes. Old situations, unfortunately, hold me back from being myself now. Sometimes I still feel like that awkward 12-year-old girl who was the only girl of color in her entire class. Which is a shame.

I’m so used to giving people what I think they want instead of who I am. Only to later find out, what they wanted was the real me. They often seem to end up dating/being interested/befriending someone who has  the same characteristics I kept on the down low. So it’s like…a wake up call.

So…now what?

Comments on: "Friends" (2)

  1. I know how you feel, because I have been through similar experiences many years ago now. So I can reassure that friends will develop, given time and the right circumstances. Trying too hard puts people off too, What I found was just to be nice to everyone: that includes people you may not like. Offer a smile to everyone. That sounds trite, but in time, it actually works because your reputation develops as being a happy person, and that attracts people. Ok so you might end up being counsellor for a time to some of the more extroverted people, but in time, if they are worth anything a mutual trust and friendship might develop. If you constantly doubt yourself, that will also show through.And yeh, acceptance is a big thing, I am still dealing with that, but with experience, comes wisdom. Looking at others and watching their interactions can give you much wisdom. You are not pathetic, ( this becomes a self fulfilling philosophy if you say it to yourself), you might just be a quieter person, at the moment, but as your confidence grows, so will your friendship group, whether that be online, in person, or at work. Hang in there, and smile!

    • Thanks for the reassurance. You’re right, it’s a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m pretty good at those self-fulfilling prophecies. Yes, I’m definitely quieter than I’d like to be…and have been that way for many years. But I, finally, realize the reason for that and with that understanding comes progress bit by bit. Thanks for reaching out, I really appreciate that!

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