So yesterday I was walking into a local chain restaurant and I ran into my neighbor from across the hall. I said, “Hey! If I knew you were coming to the same place I would have given you a ride!” He had walked. I drove. Obviously. He thanked me and we chit chatted for a little bit. His girlfriend is sick and I asked after her…anyway. After a while he let me know that one of our other neighbors “has the hots for you.” Nice? I guess. But I was seized with anxiety. I kinda muttered, “well with work and supervision and everything…” (There was once, years ago, some guy asked me out and I said, “I don’t know. I’ll have to ask my Mom. I was a grown adult…) I don’t even know who this guy is, other than what his car looks like. Leaving my apartment and coming home I simply don’t pay attention to that kind of thing. I don’t notice who else is coming and going unless they are in my way or I am in theirs. I might exchange pleasantries if I pass someone. I behave the same way when I am in public as well. Unless it is obvious, I am usually in my own little world. This has made it difficult to make friends or establish relationships with people. Yesterday, I was stuck wondering why my first reaction was to pull away as if I had encountered something dangerous. I was anxious just contemplating interacting with this guy and I don’t even know who he is!
Wondering who this neighbor is that supposedly likes me, I think about my lack of closeness with anyone. The amount of discomfort I feel fluctuates, but it makes it difficult to get close to anyone. I think frequently of my therapist as I drive to work each morning. Her office is not too far from my workplace. I miss her. I miss her because she is the person I’ve been the most honest with and even with her, there have been things I’ve been afraid to talk about. Like my fear that I am really not cut out to be a therapist because I am stuck in my head (I don’t even know how to develop appropriate social relationships for goodness sake). And somehow she or I would think less of myself because of it.
I overthink encounters with “friends.” I even overthink my supervision meetings. Living alone, with Piper, my cat, I at least don’t have to analyze every little thing. At home I can do my own thing without constantly worrying about someone else. Living with someone has a lot of emotional feedback for me. (This actually makes a lot of sense. When coworkers are upset at work and being toxic, I feel ill and have to leave the area. When I lived at home my Mom’s emotions would frequently cause me to leave the house. Library, bookstore, a walk…) Living with someone is exhausting. Even thinking about a friendship or a romantic relationship with this mysterious guy is anxiety producing….And I understand even better our residents’ (at work) default state of “I don’t know what I am supposed to do.”
I don’t know how to friend.
My head understands that in relationships there is no “supposed to” (besides human decency) and that there are two people being individuals together. My heart is full of fear of being rejected, of my most essential fears, hopes, dreams, silliness, pettiness, flaws, being rejected and, worst of all, invalidated. Heck, I’ve never really been in a “relationship” or had ongoing ebbing and flowing friendships. I have people I am friendly with. I have acquaintances. There is no one I am really intimate…or perhaps vulnerable is a better word, with. The last peer friendship I had, that I was closest to, was when I was a kid, a young teenager.
I am amazed at the level of objectivity I am able to maintain at work and yet I still feel others do it so much better…Every encounter is a mixture of analytical decision making and “I shouldna’ said/ did that. (To be read in Hagrid’s voice.)” As a result I am not as smoothly intuitive as I’d like to be. And after a day at work or a few hours with people, I am tired.
TL:DR I don’t know how to make friends. I miss my therapist.