As of late, it hasn't been quite a surprise but all my closest friends are moving away. Melbourne, Brisbane, Utah; They're all dropping like flies. It's a part of life, especially at this time and age, but it never makes it easier to say goodbye to each one.
So I thought - Hey! Why not blog about it 'cos that's not a depressive topic at all!
*High fives self for great ideas*
This'll be a short one, so don't expect a whole essay on Feelings.
But as per usual, time comes and goes and these people spend their time before they go again. This begins the panic and anxiety over the fact that I am going to be alone again, having to start back again on a blank slate of social relationships and retreat even further back into my shell in an attempt to help me find new friends who are genuine and who I can trust and be myself with.
And the worst thing that I have found growing up is that making friends gets harder and harder - When you were a kid you could just go up to another kid, notice that they had a character that you really loved on their shirt or playing with a doll character that you love, and become best friends over that. Or simply asking if they wanted to play would introduce you to the best friend you'd have for the next few years. Times were simpler, people WANTED to be friends and you could be friends over the dumbest of things and it would just make sense. Now though, at 18, it's like a whole new game that no one has given me the rules to. I can't seem too interested, but I can't seem disinterested either. I can't be like one of those excited kids who was so happy to just be your friend, because that makes you seem weird or coming on too strong. And you can't just go up to any group and stand there, expecting to be accepted in and talked to, because you'll be seen as the weirdo that just steps into conversations of people you don't really know well enough.
And while all this happens, you just feel alone through the whole ordeal. You brave it for your friend and put on your best smile, helping them along the way in any way that you can offer, you make promises to each other that you'll stay in contact and be best friends forever, but some tiny voice in the back of your mind doubts that fact and toys with the imaginary scenario of you losing contact and having no friends left to turn to.
This is the scenario that I find myself currently in. Worrying about the fact that you have no one to sit with when you go to the activities that you would have gone to with your best friend and that you know everybody there already as an acquaintance but not as a friend so it's at this awkward stage where you acknowledge each other but can't hold a conversation longer than a few minutes. Everyone else is happy with their best friends, their groups, and spent their time properly getting to know everyone in a larger group setting, but as someone who finds the idea of hanging out with more than 10 people sending chills down my spine and already making me physically and emotionally tired, it gives off a very hopeless vibe to someone who struggles to maintain eye contact without feeling creepy and finds small talk grating like sand-paper against my psyche.
But having a couple of months to cope with the news that all my friends are moving away, it's given me time to reflect (And stress out) and try to see the positives in what I have been dealt. With a new blank social slate comes new opportunities to boldly go ahead and meet everyone, be friendly to everyone, and learn to be comfortable on your own. This was my experience at EFY where the only person I knew in my group was Stephen, and we often had to be segregated into the boys and girls when our group came together. There were many times I freaked out and cried to myself in the bathrooms because my social anxiety was throwing me through the loops of doubt, insecurity, and worry. So I called my mum during one of my breaks and she gave me a wonderful piece of advice of, yes it's about get cliche here, being myself and just being so friendly it sickens other people.
So that's what I did - I walked with a confidence that was mostly lies and hope, I would repeat to myself that the people I talked to was just as scared and self doubting like I was, and that gave me the courage to go and talk to everyone, make a couple of new friends that I probably wouldn't have because I was so scared and anxious. It was truly a sight to behold, and even my friends who I'd see around at EFY would comment on how extroverted I seemed.
But that's not me, I'm not able to just go up to people and start talking, and I can't hide the anxiety that's strained on my face when I do try in vain.
That's why I cherish my friendships, and cherish new ones. I appreciate when people give the effort to talk to me, or acknowledge me even with a smile and a wave. I appreciate when I can sit with someone new and get to know them genuinely as who they are. Some people want that, and some don't...
But I have decided, in correlation with some exciting news that just happened to me recently and which I will update on pretty soon once it's official, that I'm going to go out of my way to talk to everyone, to go out of my (very small) comfort zone and just TALK to people, regardless if they want to or not. To put aside my feelings of discomfort to possibly make someone else's day or to make them feel a little less lonely or unacknowledged.
So, if you are reading this, I thank you and I hope that sometime in the future that one of us will talk to one another like two human beings who have their own fears and dreams and thoughts. If you see me, and want to talk to me but I seem distant or daydreaming (Yes, I do that a lot, it comes with the territory of a writer) just come on over and say hi! Ask me whatever you want! I promise you that I will feel way more grateful for it than you could ever imagine, and I will try my best to talk to you whenever I see you.