Okay. I said I was going to be honest in this blog. I also said I was going to do my best to be diplomatic, because sometimes people that I would write about might be reading this, or people who would know them might be reading this.
Sometimes, those two goals are mutually exclusive.
In this post, I am going to do my best to be honest. There will still be points where I will feel the need to disguise some facts, and I’m resigned to that, but in general, I’m going to just lay out how I feel.
On one birthday, when I was maybe 11 or 12, I think — I’m never too sure about what ages correspond with what memories — I had several friends stay the night at my house. It was the guys’ equivalent of a slumber party, I guess. I think we just called them sleepovers.
I think I had six guests. And I distinctly remember that for over an hour at one point, four of them were playing on one video game system, and two of them were playing on another — and that was the maximum number of players for either system. I was basically left out of my own party for a while.
Another time, later in high school, I made the discovery that several of my friends were regularly getting together to hang out, and they never invited me. I never confronted them about it to find out why I wasn’t invited. I just assumed that they had their reasons. On my happier days, I assumed that the reason was just something like they lived near each other and it just kind of happened, or they had a shared interest in something that I wouldn’t have enjoyed anyway, like basketball games. On my more depressed days, I assumed that the reason was simply that I’ve never been very good at being a friend, and they were tired of dealing with it.
Since I’m being honest here: I never have been that good at being a friend. If I know you well, I assume that you’re happy with where the relationship is, and I don’t tend to put effort into it. If I know you moderately, I don’t think to ask you about what’s going on in your personal life, and if you tell me, I may or may not remember it the next time we meet. I have had people that I considered to be pretty good friends that would be very disappointed to learn that I had trouble remembering things that were very important to them, like that their father was very sick or that they were unemployed or possibly moving to another state. I don’t know why I have so much trouble remembering things that are important in other peoples’ lives. It’s one of my least favorite qualities about myself.
So recently, I’ve been re-evaluating my friendships. Specifically, I’ve been trying to ask myself: Is the way that I have been treating this relationship accurate for the type of relationship that it actually is?
And I have to say that I have not been pleased with myself for the results.
For me, a key point in starting to re-evaluate these friendships came when we had our delayed baby shower. As you know if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, Sage was born nearly five weeks early. The friend who was hosting the baby shower had to redo her plans entirely, and we agreed on a post-birth baby shower. It was primarily for ComedySportz people. Probably fifty or sixty people (not counting the hosts or my family) were invited, if I remember correctly.
Three people sent word that they couldn’t make it. Another two told me after the fact why they couldn’t be there. A sixth person couldn’t make it, but sent a lovely gift.
Other than that, two guests showed up.
Now, I had a fantastic time. The small group made for more intimate conversation, which I really did appreciate. But where was the rest of my ComedySportz “family?”
Had I burned that many bridges without knowing it? Was I just not aware that those bridges were never there in the first place? Could I blame it on the fact that a post-birth baby shower is untraditional, and that just threw people off? I hoped it was the latter; I feared the first two were true.
I’m not mad at anyone but myself for this. I struggle to understand a lot of people’s relationships, and as such I often find myself in odd relationships with people where I think we’re really good friends, but they don’t — or vice versa. I’m not even mad at myself for that — I’m mad that I let myself fall into this trap over and over, where I start to get upset that I feel neglected by my friends… and I then have to acknowledge that (a) if anyone should know about neglecting friendships, it would be me, and (b) the odds are at least reasonable that I had mis-judged the closeness of the friendship.
I’m not asking anyone to feel sorry for me. I’m not asking anyone to suggest ways I could try to make deeper friendships. And I am CERTAINLY not asking anyone to tell me why they didn’t come to Sage’s baby shower, so please don’t think I’m trying to get sympathy or to make anyone feel bad. I am writing this because I wonder: does anyone ever know for sure if their friendships are real? Am I in the minority, struggling with this? Or is it pretty universal and I’m just very aware of it recently?