Making friends gets so much harder as we get older.
It’s not like when we were kids- seeing someone you kind of liked the look of, or sharing a sweet with another child in the playground and bonding over a game of hide and seek- making new friends as adults is really damn difficult.
Because as children, we’re all about keeping it real. There is no child out there who will begin talking to another human being without anything but good intentions. Kids aren’t fake. They don’t care about other people’s imperfections, their weaknesses, and equally, they aren’t afraid to show that they can be weak too-to openly admit what they are afraid of and what makes them uncomfortable. They don’t laugh if they don’t find something funny; they don’t tell fake lies to make others feel better or for personal gain; and if they don’t like you, that’s it, they’ll tell you.
Adults are a whole other thing. People can be genuinely nice, or they can be fake and have ulterior motives. I have one person in my life right now who I’ve seen be completely and utterly charming to new people we meet and have a dozen bad things to say about them at the first chance she gets.
What is the point?
This is one of the main reasons why meeting new people is so nerve-wracking for me. Having recently gotten into a new relationship, one of the biggest things (apart from meeting the parents of course) is meeting their friends. Their friends, in a way, are even more important, because those are the people they spend most time with, and the people who judge your character from outside of the relationship and comment on it.
To me, this is frightening.
I am by no means a horrible person… maybe a bit shy at first, but that’s it. When meeting new people I like to give them the benefit of the doubt… I trust pretty much anyone until they f*^% me over and give me a reason to keep them at a distance. At 22 years old, this may seem incredibly naive, but it’s proven-for me at least- to be an extremely effective way of wheedling out fake people from the ones I can call my real friends.
The last couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of nights out, drinking, socialising, and doing new things with people I’ve never even met before, and tonight, it started to take it’s toll. Trying to make a good first impression without seeming fake is hard to do constantly. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t wait to get to the point (hopefully), where I can be just as friendly with his friends as I am with my own… one of his friends in particular has actually spent a lot of time with me since we met, and it’s been great fun… however, I understand that that takes work, and with my brain, every small niggle or worry I have is multiplied by 100 and made worse.
I have barely slept in the last week and a half for stressing about how I’ve behaved, acted, or spoken to his friends, and I know for a fact that one of them hasn’t taken a particular liking t me, which makes me feel physically sick.
I know, I know, you win some and you lose some right? I’ve been reassured a few times not to worry about this person as she is particularly passive aggressive, and doesn’t really take to new people anyway. Also, I may be naive but I’m not stupid enough to think that everyone I meet is going to like me (or even pretend to). But having this knowledge makes me nervous. It makes my heart race and overthink every action I do, whether it be in the past, or in the future.
I was invited to a dinner party this evening with a group of his friends, and I heard this girl was going to be there. I freaked. I didn’t tell my boyfriend about it too much for fear he would think I was being overdramatic, but I began to feel the fear on Friday, and it carried on for two days, rendering me unable to think about having to talk to her without cringing.
I’m not going to lie, I was secretly so happy when I found out she had bailed. I felt awful for the hostess of course- it wasn’t fair for her to have bought an insane amount of cheese and have people cancel on her, but for me, whether it be incredibly selfish or not, it was one less person to worry about.
I know that inevitably I will have to talk to this girl- I can’t avoid her forever. And, as an adult, I shouldn’t let one person make me feel like this, especially when she’s formed an opinion of me without even having spent much time with me. For all I know, she could just be as shy as me and turn out to be the nicest person in the world… however, with university deadlines to keep up with, spending time with my own friends to do and actually working, I think avoidance for another couple of weeks is understandable!