I think that I might have an internet crush on Herey at Rhymes With Fairy , because her posts always elicit a response from me. When I read her Why Can’t We Be Friends? – about “friend crushes” and how hard it can be to turn them into actual friendships, I felt a bit ashamed. I think that I sometimes am that hard-to-get-close-to person.. and sometimes I’ve been flat out told that I am. I am interested in people’s motivations and experiences and stories.. I like getting along… I believe we can benefit from the success of people we know and I try to support people’s endeavors.. I like girls! So why am I sitting here with my fingers covered in the pie-stains of friendships that never got off the ground? I’m just speculating, but here are some theories:
Now, before I begin, I’m only really talking about people I actually might want to be friends with here. Why I don’t want to be friends with some people.. would be at least one other post.
- I fail to believe that she is actually interested in really being really friends. Like I get the point that she’s trying to be nice to me, but I don’t recognize that she’s doing it because she really wants to be the kind of friends who do stuff, and talk on a regular basis. I guess I assume that she’s just being nice because we are standing next to each other at this particular time. Later, usually much much later, I might have the realization that she was actually trying to connect with me, specifically, to be my friend in particular. I mean much later, as in, I just now this year had the realization that a couple of girls I knew in elementary school were trying to be my friend. (And also, now that I think about it, some boys from elementary school were too.) I don’t know why I can’t recognize it, or trust it if i think i’m seeing it. I just have an innate doubt that someone would want to seek out me, in particular, to be friends with.
- Or, in the case of guys (because I’m such an EO blog) sometimes I can’t decide if he’s really interested in being friends or if there’s an element of pursuing me. Since I work with mostly guys, and share interests with a lot of guys, I do have the sort of friendships (some more casual than others) where gender isn’t really a factor and we interact without thinking about it. But I’ve also been burned before by thinking that was the friendship we had, and then finding out he was harboring the dreaded “interest”. Its really hurtful to me when that happens, I feel betrayed. So I try to preemptively declare its unpossibleness. Or sometimes if I have trouble reading someone, I just don’t pull the trigger on being friends outside of that one arena that we see each other in.
- I am kind of self centered sometimes. I recognize that I am. I think at some point when I was a kid I had an epiphany that went something like “No one cares about what you say or what you think. So you have to be the one to care about it.” This translates to missed friendship opportunities because frankly, sometimes I just have my head up my ass. I realize a week (or longer) later that I didn’t text or Facebook message someone back. I also can sometimes be really preoccupied with whatever my goal or strife or interest is at the moment. I don’t think that’s all negative; but sometimes I’m not willing to sway in the way that is sometimes required to seal the deal on a friendship. To make an arbitrary example.. if my thing at the moment is that I want to go to.. a flea market for example, I won’t change that to go to the place that I know potential friends are hanging out, even if I go to the flea market alone. I feel like if I go to where the potential friends are hanging out, I may or may not feel like I got any value out of it, and I have to protect my pursuit of what I’m interested in, because no one else will.
- Or alternately, I am feeling self consciously aware of my potential to be self-centered, so I’m trying really hard not to talk about myself or dominate conversations, so I am not sure what to say or how to move conversation forward.
- I think I have a long warm up period. Like you might have to say “Let’s hang out” three times on three separate occasions before I really think you really want to hang out. To a certain degree I need time to get used to the idea that we are going to do something. I can see you fairly often “on accident” and still not feel like I know you well enough to feel comfortable accepting an invitation. I’m afraid you are inviting without really meaning it; I can’t read if its an invitation to do something one on one or if there will be a lot of people I don’t know there; I’m afraid I’m not reading some context about it and i’ll wind up showing up and it turns out you were just inviting me to buy bottle service at the club you work at, or I’ll totally have misunderstood what was appropriate dress, or… I don’t know, something else bad.
- My brand of friendship can be different from some people’s expectations. I find I do really well, historically, with friends that might drift out of touch for awhile, who might be somewhat unreliable, but who never call me unreliable or get pissed about me not fulfilling their quota of acceptable friend stuff. I like my friends to do what they say they will, and come through on big stuff, and I think I do come through on big stuff.. but maybe its pushing my envelope to be constant companions anyway, so if it becomes a source of criticism to me, I tend to bail. (Or maybe I’m just attracted to vagabond types.) In the case of new friendships, I think maybe some people don’t interpret my “trying to be friends” as enough frequency to be seriously “trying to be friends”.
- Sometimes we start to be friends, and then shit gets real… and I just can’t deal. If things happen that are emotional, especially emotional in a conflict-heavy way, sometimes I just can’t process it, and I don’t know how I feel about it, so I can wind up pulling back. If this doesn’t piss the other person off beyond the point of going back, after I have some time to process and stop freaking out, I probably want to pick back up and be friends, but not everyone is that patient.
- I feel like I’ve over shared or been too emotionally honest too fast, and I’m embarrassed. As you can probably tell, I’m a bit arm’s length-y with people. Sometimes, I realize i want to connect though, and I go to the other extreme too fast. (or what I think is extreme, fast..) I don’t really know what to do about this one or how to rationalize it.
- I have absolutely no idea how to make an invitation. I don’t know if she would rather be invited for something one on one, or invited to a get together where popping in when convenient is ok. I don’t know if I invite her to the thing that I wish i had someone to go with to… if that is an inappropriate venue for a first deliberate hang out. I have no idea if she is actually interested in being the next level of friends or is just being nice.
- I’m deathly afraid of imposing upon anyone or putting anyone in a position where they want to decline but feel obligated not to. So I make my invitation/friendship overtures really nonobligatory. I theorize that this has a psychological effect of making the person feel like I’m not very invested in them accepting, so they probably don’t even register it as me trying to be friends.