I mentioned earlier that I was worried that my friendship with Kellie wouldn’t last, and I turned out to be right. We’re both going through stressful times in our lives. I became more anxious, and she became inconsistent, cancelling plans at the last minute or even not showing up without telling me she couldn’t make it, which spiked my anxiety even more.
I couldn’t handle it anymore and ended the friendship. I take responsibility for my role in our problems. We were in a cycle of neediness on my part and inconsistency on her part. I could’ve been more understanding. I’m not sure yet if I’ll need to limit myself to being friends with people who are able to be reliable to protect myself from anxiety, or if I’ll get to a point that I can handle my anxiety well enough to be more understanding of people who act like this.
I’m sad about the end of our friendship. I remember when she told me that I have a kind heart and that she looked forward to learning about my and my outlook on life. I felt the same way about her. What she said was a big boost to my self esteem, since people had complained before about how boring I am. I’m self conscious now about if people are having enough fun when we’re hanging out. Now the healing effect has been undone. My anxiety contaminated our friendship, and I find myself wondering if she’s glad that it’s over.
I keep ruminating about how things could’ve gone differently.
I’m trying to keep in mind that I don’t have much social experience. It was only a few months ago that I finally started to understand, thanks the my therapist, how making conversation works. Since I was mostly nonverbal for most of my life, I didn’t have much experience socializing. During what little socializing I did, I mostly just sat quietly with the other person till they got bored and moved on. Due to my lack of experience, I shouldn’t expect myself to be perfectly smooth at relationships right now. With this insight, I’m able to forgive myself for this failure and begin moving on.
Content note: self harm
I asked for advice on a forum about how to deal with an abusive living situation and it seemed like the people who responded blamed me for it. It seemed like they were ganging up on me. I got so upset that I stabbed myself. I was even more upset that I stabbed myself cuz it’s a setback in my recovery from mental illness. I then sent several sad, anxious, increasingly paranoid messages to a friend about the whole thing and am worried that she won’t wanna deal with me anymore.
I don’t think that I can deal with going back to that website. I’m disappointed that it didn’t work out, cuz I got some good encouragement from people before today’s incident. I’ll look for other forums to post on. I hope I find at least one that’s a good fit for me. I haven’t had good luck with forums lately, so I’ll talk to my therapist before trying anymore.
I’m trying to get myself back on track. Here are some things that I’ve done or will do:
- I scheduled an im session with another friend that we’ll have in a couple of days. Even if my friendship with Kellie doesn’t survive, I still have Clare, and can do better with her and friends that I make in the future. The chat session gives me something to look forward to.
- I sent a final message to Kellie to apologize, say I won’t send more messages unless I hear from her, and promise not to send a bunch of emotional messages all at once again. It’s up to her if she’ll accept that. It’s out of my hands now and all I can do now is distract myself.
- I’ll take a PRN for anxiety.
- I’ll work on compiling a list of 100 songs that I like and do some more research about psychology.
- I’ll limit myself to checking Facebook once a day while I’m waiting for a reply from Kellie to keep myself from getting too obsessive about the situation.
Using empathy when someone says no to us can help us can ease the pain of feeling rejected (Rosenberg 121).
My friend Kellie recently moved to another state. We were planning to meet for dinner before she moved as a farewell. On the same day we were gonna meet, she cancelled without offering to reschedule, and at first, I assumed that meant that she didn’t wanna be friends anymore. My first instinct was to disengage, but then I remembered what I read about empathy. I said that I hoped she was okay, and I asked her if she was feeling pressured by all of the things she needed to get done before she moved. I said that I was afraid she didn’t wanna be friends anymore. She said that she was dealing with family issues and wanted to video chat after she moved. I’m glad that, instead of just not reaching out to her anymore, I expressed concern for her wellbeing, opened up about my anxiety, and tried to understand how she was feeling. If I had stuck to my initial instinct and assumption, I could’ve lost a friendship.
I asked my mommy if I could stay with her while I look for a place cuz my current living environment is difficult. She turned down my request, and I was really hurt. I thought that she must not care that I’m having a hard time. I felt like disengaging from that relationship, too. Again, I remembered what I read about empathy, and tried to find out more about what was going through her mind. She told me that she has become very introverted and needs alone time in order to process the information in her mind. She also worries about doing something wrong when she’s around people, which contributes to social situations draining a lot of her energy. I was better able to understand that turning down my request wasn’t about not caring about me, but about her needs. I think that empathy saved my relationship with her, too.
I’m sharing my stories to illustrate Rosenberg’s principle, and in case they help someone else who could be having difficulties with their relationships. My experience has taught me that empathy has a healing effect on relationships.
Rosenberg, Marshall B. Nonviolent Communication. PuddleDancer Press, 2015. Print.
The writer of a letter to an advice column, who kept persisting when women responded ambiguously to their romantic overtures, was told to take ambiguous answers in the future as a no (Captain Awkward). This is an important social skill cuz some people are uncomfortable with rejecting someone directly. While it’s okay to prefer a different type of communication, it’s still important to respect their boundaries. Taking an unenthusiastic response as a no will also protect you cuz it’ll prevent wasting your energy on someone who isn’t interested. It’s a win win!
Here are some examples of enthusiastic responses to look for:
- “That sounds fun!”
- “I’d love to.”
I made similar mistakes when I was younger. For example, when I was in high school, I asked someone out from the running team. He said, “I don’t want to date during running season.” I waited until the season for practice ended and then asked him out again, and he got upset. I’m more cautious now. If I knew then what I know now, I would’ve just let go, partly so that he wouldn’t get upset, and partly cuz it’s better to hold out for someone who’ll wanna make time for me even if they have a busy schedule. I recently reconnected with two old friends, and the warm responses I got when I asked them about getting together or scheduling an im session felt so much better than the lukewarm response from my long ago crush. Holding out for people who show enthusiasm about you is worth it!
“#1009: Persistence is grossly overrated in dating and romance.” Captain Awkward. 14 Aug. 2017. Web. 3 Sept. 2017.
On Saturday, I went to a sci-fi/fantasy Meetup. The group meets every month at a cafe in a bookstore at the mall. I like the location cuz I’m into books and coffee. I saw Hershey’s chocolate cheesecake in the display case and would like to try it sometime.
Someone gave the group an important life update, and everyone was supportive. I like that the group is a safe space and people can share things like that.
I think, including myself, there were nine people at the event. We started out having one giant conversation, which broke up into some smaller conversations going on at the same time. Since I haven’t had much social experience before, I didn’t expect that to happen. I was kinda flustered cuz it was hard to focus and to decide which conversation to participate in. I wound up participating in each sub-conversation for a little while.
There’s a person in the group who I’m attracted to. It sounds like he’s one of the regulars. I asked him a couple of questions about the Godzilla movie he was talking about, and he was responsive. I’d like to ask him out to coffee, but I’m not sure how well I have to know someone before it’s appropriate to ask them on a date. I’ll do some research about dating.
I got to learn a little bit about Doctor Who, a show that I’d like to check out. Doctor Who can remember things from past lives, which is cool, and in a spin-off show, the Doctor is a woman.
I had a great time at the Meetup and will keep going. I give Meetup a thumbs up as a site for meeting people.
I’m lonely, so I’m gonna try some new activities to spend some time around people. The activities I’ll try include a sci-fi/fantasy Meetup, a Unitarian church, and art sessions. I’ll also get involved in a program for people with mental illness that involves things like movies and cooking classes. I hope that eventually I’ll get to know some people well enough to hang out outside of the activities. I’m nervous about how well I’ll do at socializing, but I’ll try to stay in the moment.