Friends are Important, I’m Just Bad at Having Them

I’ve rewritten this post several times because it’s a jumble. For now I’ve accepted the jumble. Originally I had titled it “‘You’ve Got to Have Friends’: the Importance of a Support System.” But it’s kind of evolved into how I interact with friends, so here we go.

Takeaway: Support systems are tremendously important.

There are a few people in this world to whom I can say anything. I value them tremendously. Exposing the vulnerability is absolutely worth the risk. Why that idea won’t sink in and apply to other aspects of life I could not tell you.

However, a big thing for me is that I don’t want to bother anyone when I’m spinning out because it feels like I’m a burden. I reject the support system.

I get wrapped up in thoughts like:

  • Everyone is tired of your same old problems.
  • You are a burden on everyone, so keep it to yourself.
  • If you expose too much no one will want to be friends with you.
  • Everyone else has stuff going on. You’re not important enough to trouble them with your mess.

Unfortunately, those are thoughts I believe 100%, reassurances otherwise won’t penetrate the armor. As a result, I isolate myself and as the anxiety and/or depression gets worse as does the isolation.

Then there are the everyday interactions. Here, I don’t feel competent, as if everyone else took some sort of class that I missed, so getting out of the apartment to be social is a huge effort in itself. When I am committed to going somewhere, then I am barraged with thoughts like:

  • You’re not interesting. No one wants to spend time with you.
  • You aren’t fun and will ruin everyone’s good time.
  • You won’t be able to sustain a conversation.
  • They would rather you weren’t around.
  • They will see that you’re anxious and feel like they need to take care of you. That is unacceptable.

As with the other group of thoughts I believe these 100%. Given the opportunity, I’m going to spend time alone because the effort it takes to engage socially is rarely worth the effort I need to exert. In the cost/benefit analysis of my social anxiety the cost wins 90% of the time.

But at the same time I feel a combination of guilt, incompetence, and shame every time I decline an invitation or negate my own “hey buddy, you should invite so-and-so to the movies.” Sticky wicket.

To me this all sounds like whining. I’m not looking for reassurances. I just am acknowledging that there’s a disconnect somewhere in my mind that I can’t seem to wrap my head around.

Suggestions welcome.

Also, the song below is playing on my Spotify and it makes me feel feelings.

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7 thoughts on “Friends are Important, I’m Just Bad at Having Them

  1. Wow. Your last bullet point gave me significant pause. “They will see that you’re anxious and feel like they need to take care of you. That is unacceptable.”
    I didn’t realize that I wasn’t the only person who felt like that at times. I go to great lengths to hide my depressions and anxieties because I don’t want to be a burden to my loved ones. I don’t really have any suggestions, but I just wanted to let you know that I get how it goes. Good luck.

  2. I feel exactly the same way, your bullet points were like reading my mind! I guess my suggestion is just opening up and telling yourself you just want to prove yourself right even though in the end you’ll be proving yourself wrong. If that makes any sense at all.

  3. I do completely hear what you’re saying. I have very similar thoughts if you can. I try to think about what I would say to one of my friends who said those things too me. It’s easy to underestimate how much people care about you. No idea if that helps or means anything to you! Take care Wee Gee x

  4. I have had similar problems and ended up alone. It was only when I stopped reading people’s minds about how much they would rather not have me around that I allowed myself to remain comfortable. When I go to places and interact I feel so much better and my mind starts screaming, you gotta do that again sometime real soon. That’s the feeling that makes it more likely that I will get out there.

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