Growing up in a family of nine kids you wouldn’t think that I would have any reason to be lonely…but somehow I always was. Every since I was little I always wanted friends. My only sister (at that time) was five years older than me, I was homeschooled, and we lived in the middle of nowhere. Admittedly, my prospects weren’t good. Don’t get me wrong: I love my family. They are incredibly fun people to hang around with and I wouldn’t trade them for anything. Yet, still, a certain part of me still longed to be accepted by those outside of my close-knit family.
Dolls were my friends. I would live my life through the dramatic plots I would act out with them. But eventually I out of grew that.
I would make up stories about girls living fun, lively, active lives. But those usually got pushed to the wayside once I started the first chapter.
I longed to have a best friend like I read about in all my favorite series. Books were my friends for a while. I would escape in the pages of thick novels, jaunting off to foreign places, solving mysteries, having adventures, and growing up. Still, while reading was wonderful, it wasn’t real.
My older sister used to be a dear confidant and companion of mine. Sure, we fought sometimes like siblings do, but I loved and looked up to her more than I realized then. But I knew when she left at age 14 to go away to boarding school. I cried my heart out for months without her.
The only real friends I ever had outside of my immediate family were my dear cousins. I loved spending time with them and we had so much fun! But, alas, they lived several hours away and I would only see them a few times a year.
I used to dream about the day when I would have real friends. Maybe in high school or at least in college. I would even see the neighbor girl and wonder if we could be friends. No, we were too different. Would I ever find someone who I could really relate with? Who would understand me?
Thus my life evolved into a mere series of acquaintances. I never resonated with anyone on a deep level. Even if I did, I didn’t know how to act with people. How to make friends. By nature a flighty and imaginative introvert, I didn’t know what to say or do.
In my tweens and teens I got very involved in a girls leadership club. I loved everything about this group, but around me there were not many girls that I connected with: they were either too old or too young or too this or too that. Or maybe I was just too picky? But I guess you can’t force friendship; it has to happen.
Around this time I met Ed. Ed as in Eating Disorder. He seemed like a good friend. Finally! I had someone to rely on, to trust, to believe in me. To make me strong and smart and funny and popular. Ed knew how.
Not surprisingly, shortly thereafter when I went away to boarding school—which I had dreamed of for years—I still didn’t really make many friends. This time it was mostly because Ed had distanced me from them. Or maybe, I just wasn’t the type for making friends. Maybe I didn’t know how to be a friend. Maybe I just wasn’t very much fun. Maybe Ed wanted it that way.
When I came home from boarding school because of Ed, I didn’t really think about friends for a while. He still convinced me that he was my friend. And I believed him. I don’t think loneliness was the main reason for the onset and proliferation of my eating disorder. I don’t know if there is any way to know. But one can’t help but wonder if it played a part—if even a small role.
Fast-forward a couple years later: now. I still, for the most part, am friendless. Sometimes I even question if I really want friends—I wouldn’t know what to do and they’re so high-maintenance, right? Plus, I had talking on the phone…and isn’t that what friends do? Maybe I’m so afraid of what people think of me that I’m scared to be myself?
Deep-down I still must want friends, though, because that is one of the reasons I started this blog. I yearned for connection. Something outside the walls of my bedroom, where I spend the majority of my time. Maybe that desire is not so deep-down.
My mom still assures me that I will have friends someday. She tells me that I am witty and kind and fun to be with. That’s what she says. Still, all through my life she has probably always been my best friend. At 18, is it weird to have your mom as your best friend?
Sometimes I think that I take my family for granted. They truly are my friends. Everyone from my big and little brothers to my big and little sisters. In them, I have so much more than many people. Through all my crazy moods and weirdness, they’ve been there and they still love me. I depend on them so much. In all my seeking of friends have I overlooked the dear people that live in my very own house? Is it wrong to still want ‘outside’ friends?
Today, my friends are mostly in movies and old TV shows. But then it makes me sad to know that those people aren’t really real. Can I ever make friends like them? Will I ever be happy with someone? Especially—dare I say it—a husband? Is there anyone in this world who would ever understand me? Really?
I know first of all, I have to be steadfast in who and what I am. But can others not help us on the journey, sometimes? Still, one should not enter friendship selfishly, only seeking what she will get out of it. But is it okay to want friends? Isn’t and shouldn’t Jesus be my best friend? He should be. Perhaps I don’t know him enough. But how? …And is it wrong to enjoy the companionship of others?
Who is your best friend and how did you meet? What are your thoughts on friendship?
*Be sure and enter my giveaway, if you have not done so already!*
“If you want friends, you first have to be a friend.” –not sure who said this, but I’ve heard it before. : )