Why Do We Look For Friendship In The Wrong Places?

Ever since I could remember, there’s been a person or group of people I’ve always felt the need to impress.

Why is it that when I get the cold shoulder, I think it’s an invitation to keep coming back, as if somehow my constant rubbing will make their shoulders warm? What’s with wanting certain people to like us when they simply don’t care?

I feel the need to prove myself. I want them to see that I’m just as good of a person as anyone else; that I fit their requirements for being their “best friend.” I was, and still am, looking for validation.

As a teen, I was looking for some kind of emotional substitute. In retrospect, I don’t blame myself. My parents were away at work, I was an only child, and the closest my extended family lived was an hour away.

We look for friendship the wrong places, trying to find affirmation and appreciation among people who could care less. Then years later — days or months if you’re lucky — when both parties have moved on, we realize that person was never special to begin with.

There was a large group of people I wanted so desperately to be cool with. Since we were all in the same organization that preached acceptance, love, and being true to yourself, I thought we had a special bond.

I would invite them to hang out, go to the movies, or meet at someone’s house. Time and time again, I was rejected, ignored, or given the “Maybe some other time!” response. It was even more prevalent when I tried to hang out with them one-on-one. The only time I was included was when we were in big groups. Even then, there were subgroups and people rarely branched out of their inner-circles. I was the door mat; their little go-to-doll whenever things weren’t making sense for them. I was the background noise in a best-selling song. Everyone catered to their needs and sucked up to them. That was me for the longest time, until I realized nothing was coming from my beloved interest, so I let go.

I let go, and I told them how I felt.

Of course, there was backlash, and of course, things got hella uncomfortable as people started choosing sides. Sure, I felt betrayed by people I thought I knew. And sure, it was one of the most troubling experiences of my teenage years. But I’m not sad anymore.

I didn’t know them, and they never knew me.

Letting go was liberating. No more did I have to watch what I say or wonder how I was being perceived so I wouldn’t be on someone’s bad side. I didn’t care anymore. There was nothing more to prove and our days in the organization was over, so I spoke my mind without holding back.

I spoke for others who were too scared to speak for themselves out of fear of what happened to me.

The thing that pissed me off the most was, at the end of the day, you know, the moments right before bed when people start getting all philosophical? Some of them would post these unhappy and depressing tweets, talking about how lonely they were and how they had no friends or how no one invited them somewhere.

Excuse me?

I understand not everyone has to be friends with every single person that practically throws themselves at them, but come on. As many times as I put myself out there, and as many times as they professed their extreme longing for an acceptable social life by whoever’s standards, they continued to ignore other relationships just waiting to be developed. They still chose to complain and declare their loneliness on a website they knew their “best friends” saw.

If that isn’t fucked up, I don’t know what is.

I used to sit there, shaking my head because these people had the nerve to complain when they were normally too busy posting group pictures with #bestfriends #loveyou and #blessed hashtags on Instagram to even include me. Honey, you don’t know what lonely is.

I used to think they, or anyone else in their position didn’t have the right to complain. Unless you’re the underdog, the person no one pays attention to unless they want something, unless something drastic happens, I thought they didn’t have the right to have feelings of loneliness. I didn’t think it was fair to complain about not having any friends when they were constantly surrounded by self-proclaimed “besties” whom they bragged about on the daily.

I would get the urge to punch these girls through my phone and shake their shoulders and scream, “YOU DON’T HAVE IT AS BAD. SHUT THE HELL UP. At least you have people to go to, regardless if they’re the most genuine or not. Some people don’t have squat.”

I refused to sympathize with people like this and give them the satisfaction of caring because if they really wanted friends, and if people were really lonely, they would see the person whose standing directly in front of them; the individual who was there with open arms for the longest time.

In retrospect, my way of thinking sounds completely and utterly messed up.

Loneliness is a personal experience. It’s a feeling only that person can understand and cope with. It’s not in my best interest to decide if others are lonely or if their loneliness is reasonable.

There’s no doubt I’ve been the person who is lonely in a crowded room. There’s no denying I’ve been the person who appears to have good friends, when in actuality, I feel used and tremendously insecure as I wave goodbye and drive home at night. And I know I’m not the only one.

But you have to admit, it is puzzling when people are always boasting their social life and switching up between who their friends are and who they’re blessed with every other day. It is inconsistent when people broadcast how lucky they are to have the people in their life to the entire world, then hours later, talk about how alone they are and how much they’re looking forward to moving onto better things.

When a person does that, I’m completely lost. Maybe it’s not in my place to figure out. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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image – Heathers

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