SuperListenMode 296: I don’t have many friends

SuperListenMode: I don’t have many friends

And that’s okay.

Being a loner a lot of the time is okay.

Accepting that I’m usually feeling lonely, tense, overwhelmed and isolated when I’m surrounded by many people or am on social media too long.

And bad at verbalising feelings and uncomfortable with being the focus of attention – I just tend to look at the floor and go quiet, especially if I’m in a group situation. It was pretty bad last week during the Mighty farewell lunch.*** I kept looking around and was just grateful, quiet and sad really.

But when I’m by myself, I rarely feel lonely. But energised, free, peaceful, reflective, recovering, quiet, calm, relieved, lost in my own world and real.

And if I’m with a good friend or someone I’m warming up to, I tend to ramble too much ;D

I talk about this countless times as I’m acknowledging and am slowly accepting it better. Even though most people I know have a bunch more friends than I will ever have. And people they’d rather talk to, over low energy Leonie. And that’s fine haha

Emotionally working through all this. (:

People may argue I have lots of friends. I assure you that most are part of my larger circles of kind, generous online acquaintances, friends of friends, brief good friends or casual friends I may/may not see or talk in person. So I’m pretty astounded when kind peeps give me encouragement, help and kind words when I’m actually intimidated to reach out to people I don’t know so well. Eep.

Gosh I need to get better at building friendships, asking for help and connecting with people in general 🙁

[*** Sidenote: I was just happy to be around Mighty peeps – I’m not that outspoken and brave to begin with when I’m in groups anyway so I felt terrible for not saying too much. I noticed some kind peeps hung around me more because it was a farewell thing after all but awkwardly I wasn’t used to being followed. I am usually the person who follows behind :’)

Gosh I’m terrible at goodbyes. There were some peeps really I didn’t say anything to :< I could only manage to say thanks and see you as I didn’t want bring things down by talking about my anxiety about job hunting. As much as I did write them an essay about my feelings prior, I still feel so bad looking back! Apologies. :’) ]

I just hover around the edges and not really belong within a given group anywhere. Sure I feel sad and lonely even with company a lot of the time but solitary, unstructured downtime is important for me to function.

I realise how out of the loop and I don’t belong with existing friendship groups and cliques whenever I actually do social things. At least that’s what came to mind during things like MIGW18. Been feeling distant and more apathetic about it all. It’s all good, just observing and listening to people having fun. I don’t *have* to say anything ;D

Or I’d rather have a group activity that’s not centred on socialising. Games or learning something together would be great 😀

Then again, I don’t have much non industry friends I hang out with regularly. Nor am I super part of any art community. Nor too much of a social life but I do hope to keep up with a few, wonderful friends that I do have. Figuring it out :0

I just find it all super draining when it comes to groups. I don’t want to care about the status quo of a group. The words “family” and “community” when describing friendships or teams doesn’t ring true to me right now. Maybe one day in the future it might.

I don’t properly fit in most of the time and that’s okay.

I can’t play that community minded, hustling, kind, witty, cool, generous role in order to get myself out there. Trying to do it my way. The stubborn, difficult, risky way. Reach out and help others once I have clarified my intentions and purpose. Only if it feels true to me.

Fighting to do things I believe in that is genuine and sustainable for me, given my reserved, quiet, sensitive, introverted, grumpy and energy conserving nature. Prefer low key, quiet, 1 to 1/small group social things. Other times I’m not bothered. I’m probably too selfish and a loner. Who really cares?

I’m sensitive and drained whenever I come back from going outside. I pick up on everyone’s energy so sometimes I block it out as much as I can with headphones. Sometimes I take breaks during the day to recover somewhat. Then I spend my downtime during nights and weekends in solitude where possible to recover and recharge – for better or for worse. And the cycle continues.

Gosh what a selfish silly snowflake I am :’)

Growing pains and stop actively seeking + expecting rejection and abandonment everywhere

Learning to focus on the people who matter and value me, decide for myself who I am and stop worrying about what’s wrong with me or what I think people expect of me. I need to stop fixing everything about me and striving to do drastically better all the time. There’s always something to find that’s wrong with myself, let alone every human being.

Stop seeking out and leaning on people who won’t show up, just to reinforce and relive the pain of rejection and abandonment. Stop projecting rejection, disappointment, expectations, resentment and abandonment everywhere just because of bad experiences where love, friendship and support aren’t really there, the way I wanted. Accept family and people as they are and not how I want them to be.

It’s scary to just say something vulnerable anyway while expecting rejection. And then actually getting rejection. Happened recently – unrelated to my current job hunt. I just had to do it without being too direct so I can move on with a clear conscience, not leave things on an awkward note and that I did the best I could. In hindsight, I should have just let it go without communicating anything further however. Felt like I made it worse and I’m expecting rejection many times more in general. It’s not leaving me optimistic but it’s always a new learning experience with every individual anyway :’) Just let it go Leonie :0 !!

There are also points in life where no one will show up. No one will be there for you to the degree you’d like them to. Ultimately, you have to be the one to face your toughest times – alone in your mind. Sometimes that realisation hurts. Accepting that this is out of my control. Accepting that everyone in the world can just leave me on my own too with no love or support to be found. Alone and lonely.

Here is where I need to take charge to love and support myself, ask for what I need and want and have my own back. Easier said than done, when I don’t know what I haven’t experienced a lot of, let alone know what I want from others. Boundaries, goals, values, routines and habits I need to keep redefining and evolving. My personal belief systems too.

I also need to learn to not care about disappointing people too much because the people who matter and will still show up for me and will understand. And mutually, I will do the same. Not bother trying to be the “perfect” friend but just do the best I can.

Find people who listen, who can and want to help. Those who are happy to talk about deeper, emotional, scary things, weaknesses and fears too. Even if it is rambly and heavy. People who I can lean on – though I know that people won’t really want to lean on me in turn as they’ve got partners and closer friends :’) I’m at peace with that though.

Just keep being grateful for who I am and progress in baby steps. Practice asking what I actually want [once I figure that out!] It’s all super difficult for me during bad times though. 🙁

Why do I want alone and quiet time and breaks so much?

Because I don’t want to be watched all the time. I don’t want to be sensitive and aware of others’ presence and energy. I don’t want to absorb more sensory and social stimulation around me. I don’t want to get overloaded and unproductive to the point of shutting everything out. 
It tenses me up. Open offices and hot-desking are not great for me but sometimes one needs to deal with it as you know ;P

I want breaks to become a blob, focus, meditate and relax all of that tension away. I don’t feel comfortable being watched when I’m trying to work or relax, let alone see me as a lazy blob.

Only close people, I feel more comfortable around ;P

Snowflake rambles aside, collaboration and proximity with your team and friends are important. Working in isolation gets detrimental too – I’ve been there many times and burnt out.

Learning to accept this, making sure I manage my energy levels and take care of myself. I’ve been told I’m dealing with performance anxiety and I still need to manage my perfectionist nature. All the things to manage!!

Maybe one day I can build towards half the week of being around lovely people working part time and half the week being alone, freelancing and doing my own thing. Something close to a 1 to 1 ratio. Hmm!

Aye. Learning to not worry about fitting in is a long process.
Learning to stand my ground too.

Don’t need to belong in friendship groups

I’m trying to shake off my conditioning and standards from all forms of entertainment that everyone has one or many groups of great friends for activities, clubs, work and other commonalities. But I don’t have much of that. I envy people who can conveniently do games nights and bond with each other. But then again, I’m too lazy. I’m far from the city and enjoy my introvert, solitary activities.

It’ll definitely happen now and again when I want to collectively connect with people meaningfully and grow as a person but I’m tired of trying to find my place and belong…when it’s not there in the first place. It’s exhausting. I’m going to do it at my own pace.

Sure I will have different values and boundaries from people but I’d want vibes to come from a place of joy, comfort and acceptance for who I am, rather than what I lack and how different and alien I am from other people.

I usually feel most lonely, awkward and alone when I’m physically around most people. I feel alienated and in turn, people probably feel extremely alienated by me and my reserved, deadpan exterior. It becomes a cycle of “why bother connecting or talking”.

It takes ages for me to break down the “polite/pleasant/professional/nice/friendly/distant” barrier and genuinely warm up to people. And I have trouble being direct about my feelings unless I feel clear about intentions, plus safe and warmed up around you.

Plus also easy for me to clam up like a sad, hurt pup and distance myself again if I find it’s with someone not feeling mutual. :’)

When I’m actually alone, I don’t feel lonely when I’m not reflecting and concerned about people I’ve interacted with and the disconnect I feel when around them. I forget myself within my own world, lose my sense of time and get immersed with whatever I’m doing in the moment. Talking to a few close peeps and then being alone a lot of the time is great for me (:

Hey I know I can’t completely isolate myself as that’s harmful to myself and people close me (:

Ultimately all I have is this blog to reflect, connect with people and sometimes people come to visit or we catch up in person ;D

I have many high expectations for myself and others…figuring out what a “good friend” means.

So I don’t let many people in if over time, I don’t see us being compatible, mutually interested and willing to invest reasonable time into the friendship. My time is valuable to me ;P

Friendships and relationships will support you but ultimately won’t save you from your own personal struggles and issues. The internal mental battles. The idea that friends are “supposed” to be *always* there for you when you need is unrealistic. We all have our own life struggles going on and own well-being to look after. Maybe I don’t have enough good friends to balance things and to not place heavy burdens on the few I do have. And proximity is a huge thing too…I don’t know. :’) Wahhh.

No doubt it feels terrible when no one is there for you when you need a friend. Or vice versa when you can’t be there for someone for the sake of your own mental well-being or inability to emotionally support them. And it’s super hard and unrealistic to focus on the positive things and be a perfect, good friend 100% of the time. It doesn’t mean people don’t care – it’s just not in the way you want them to. Sometimes it might mean you need to seek it from other people or from a therapist. Regardless it’s so easy to feel like nobody cares. And I’m super guilty of feeling like nobody cares about me.

Plus I don’t talk to many people in my day to day life! I only vent to trusted peeps if they happen to be in proximity yet I don’t want to expect anyone to go out of their way for me if I’m just wallowing in my feelings! I’m super weak in the world of social skills and human relationships. And I think it’s going to be worse, now that I’m a homebody post-Mighty and physically isolated from people.

I’m like Ralph in the second Wreck it Ralph movie where I can’t depend on people to hang out with me regularly anymore. :’) Everyone else is on their own paths, as am I.

Sometimes I cope by retreating to my own safety bubble. Or vent with a trusted friend. I’m trying to be better at it, now that I’m a hermit since Mighty – I need to actively arrange catch ups :’)

I definitely do need trusted friends to talk 1 to 1 about my personal feelings with, in order to release that anxiety, steam and feel listened to, understood, relaxed and happy. And vent it out in this blog too ;P I have to force myself out of the house. One day I’ll be brave enough to reach and message people online haha

Always figuring out when to clam up, retreat and behave professionally and robot-like to get things done and not emotionally burden other people. And when to express emotions, stress and worries openly with people I can trust.

Ah the human condition. Aye.

Feelings of isolation and loneliness come in small waves…

because I still can’t help feel disconnect and rejection thanks to silly expectations and hopes for deeper connection and longing for things that aren’t going to happen. Especially during and after going to a social thing. Closeness and connection doesn’t happen often! Gets too intense and creepy if it’s one sided! And I’m probably seeking it from the wrong people + not really knowing what kinds of company, love and support to ask of them.

We can’t always have deep conversations – most people just want small talk Leonie! Rahhh! Let the deeper stuff happen organically :0

For instance, most people don’t want to talk about the things I care about like what I do in this blog. It’s too personal and/or intense. That’s why this blog is important to me because I can ramble about my feelings and clarify things for myself without having to care too much about who’s reading/listening. Very few people have the attention span to read someone’s blog these days ;D

Social media and its communities have taken over instead.

In person, I strive to see people as they are, not as I want or fear them to be. Strive not to let first impressions dictate my judgments too much. Not easy though. I focus on learning about them as people and only start talking about myself the more I trust and warm up to them. If I really enjoy your company, good luck telling me to stop talking to you – unless you ghost and physically ignore me which has happened several times before.

It hurts a lot when someone actually doesn’t want to engage with you. But one needs to heal, keep at a respectful distance and move on. Oof. It’s better knowing that the other person isn’t feeling mutual anyway. I’ll just keep putting my emotional walls up until I feel I can trust them enough to talk to them again. 😛

Other times I fear the worst – that I did something I did wrong or insensitive :< I wish I wasn’t so oblivious to how people are feeling and the subtlety that comes with human interaction. All about perspective.

Gosh it’s so, so hard to find like-minded, special friends/companions who mutually deeply care, respect, listen & understand you [with emotional needs]. So exhausting and disheartening.

How do people do this. 🙁

Learning to let go searching for friendships, makes me focus more on rare special connections that I do have instead. Maybe it’ll happen naturally when I do things I’m interested in from a genuine place but realistically I won’t count on it. I got a lot to work through.

I guess I don’t want to actively go out of my way to make friends if I’m not really interested in making time for it right now since I need to figure out employment :< I need some structured hobbies with people one day.

With my lack of social activities, I’m not an ideal, good “normal” friend.

If people are not in my everyday world, it’s hard to be an ongoing friend and keep in contact. It gets cliquey and people keep growing and changing. Even I’ve got my blind spots and lack of social awareness. There’s only so much you can do under your control and attempts at doing better. Always super open to learn though.

In a way, I don’t often keep or maintain friendships but doing my best with established friendships. Been lazy, laid back and it’s up to others to decide to keep being friends with me too. I don’t really pursue, call, compliment, intervene, organise, invite or initiate often. I don’t demand time or attention nor I want to cause any drama either. I’m happy to be here and be present with you if you ask and if I care for you enough. Happy to not judge but I will be rusty about you if we haven’t talked in ages. Catching up every other month or even yearly is fine with me (:

I’m super okay with just having a small handful of good friends, not forcing anything and taking my time with making potential new ones…considering my deadpan, grumpy and aloof exterior. I don’t often come out of my shell and safety bubble, especially when I don’t feel like it and don’t have a purpose! I don’t want to change who I am just to give the wrong impression of myself. I need to be selective with how much time I spend with people. My natural state is hiding and recharging after all. Being around people is draining! ;P

Generally we’re all doing the best we can with who we connect with and relate to and don’t necessarily want to be to talk and cater to everyone. Sure, talk to people different from you but with everyone and all the time? That’s too intense for most!

Sometimes I expect rejection as a defense mechanism

Especially when people I know and like are befriending others…at my most insecure, lowest place I feel like I’ve lost friends when I’m around them. Because I don’t feel worthy or enough to keep them interested and maintain my bond with them for some sad reason. I end up quietly existing while they joyfully interact and I feel left out. I also don’t feel appreciated when people prefer to spend time with other people and I’m just an option out of many friends. Sad and painful when you thought you could slowly let or keep someone close into your inner world but they don’t feel or treat you the same. Or they’ve changed and gone distant.

Most of the time things don’t work out, it happens.

Normally I’m okay with the fact that my few friends have lots of closer and wider reaching amount of friends than I do. I just don’t want to be around just to tag along if I can help it. I got or need better things to do ;P

Realising that I don’t need or want a tribe or pick out 5 people in my life who influences me the most.

I don’t even think I have 5 people! As an extreme introvert, I usually feel lacking in value and am out of my element when I’m in groups or communities anyway. It feels super sweet to be included in groups and I’m open and hopeful to the idea of dating and friendships. But I’m pretty much a homebody loner most of the time.

Well got to keep learning ;P

Clarifying reminders for me:

I’d rather be my own good friend and build good mutual friendships with individuals first. I strive to:

  • Cherish friendships who are better matched with me in energy, whom I can be lazy, silly blobs with and who I like
  • hang out with kind people
  • befriend peeps one at a time
  • put myself out there at my own pace,
  • care for myself & learn to practice this “self love” thing
  • stay patient,
  • forgive myself + others
  • keep busy with creating and learning
  • do things on my own terms and not out of obligation
  • get better at asking for help
  • slowly push my comfort zone
  • keep facing and accepting my fears
  • be my own best friend and don’t let negative self talk bully me
  • do my best with what I have
  • maintain my few friendships even though instinctively I want to retreat and isolate myself
  • continue not caring what people who don’t matter think of me
  • live my own quiet, fun life of my own
  • keep connecting with people through my work and learning
  • maintain my baseline level of social skills and having company…somehow through baby steps
  • know it’s okay if I slack off on any of these sometimes

The last one is there because I won’t consciously remember everything! That’s why as a whole, my reflective posts feel repetitive to outsiders because I forget and need reminding haha

Hey you know I’m just going to wing it anyway haha ;D

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