Let’s Talk About My Social Life

When I was in middle school transitioning into high school, I told myself that things would be different. I told myself I would go out more with my friends and be more social. For someone who is as shy and introverted like me, this seems like a pretty lofty goal. Surprisingly enough, it happened, just not how I thought it would.Now I’m not the go-out-every-weekend kind of girl, but I do things. I go to football games and school dances. I hang out with friends at home, school or coffee shops. I do the football game night crazy more than I would like to, but I don’t usually regret it.

When I made this goal of breaking my antisocial streak, I was so young. I was sick of being alone and tired of dealing with friends who were better at being bullies than anything else. I thought being outgoing was the only way out of that situation, but I know now it’s not.

I’ve learned that being social and outgoing isn’t the answer. It may be for some people, but I am naturally an introvert, so it’s not easy for me to put myself out there and meet new people. I have learned that one of the best ways to make friends is to push yourself outside your comfort zone just enough so that you can meet people who feel about as uncomfortable as you trying to make new friends.

I still have never truly reached that instinctively outgoing point I thought would be easy to achieve, and I don’t think I ever will, but I can pretty easily talk myself into going out, having fun, and starting up a conversation with someone new. I’ve found my people, at least for this stage of my life, and I’m perfectly content.

I lost all my friends from middle school and gained new ones in high school. I needed to meet these people because knowing them has made me who I am now. I know how to stand up for others and myself, I know how to be a good friend even when every instinct tells me to stop trying, and I very rarely feel anxious in social situations anymore. I am still shy and sufficiently awkward, but I just don’t have that fear of human interaction anymore.

I typically won’t go out of my way to talk to someone if I don’t really have to, but if I need to, I will because I am not afraid of my own shadow anymore, or anyone else’s for that matter.

I’ve learned that these people I now call my friends brought out a part of my personality I never thought I would unlock. They have built me up, made me laugh, frustrated me to no end, and then made up for it by being exactly what I have always needed: friends.

I’ve finally accepted the fact that there are no “perfect people” which means there are no “perfect friends”. Once I accepted that fact, it has been so much easier to allow myself to build relationships.

I’ve had to ask myself “What kind of friend do they think I am?” I know that I can be distant and closed off, but I am also available and willing to listen and give advice to the best of my ability. By asking myself this, I’ve been able to improve so many of my relationships, without losing sight of what I want out of a friendship.

With me, sometimes I still want to be alone. I want time to myself; I want to stay home and hang out with my family. I know I still have the option to go off and be on my own, but most of my friends don’t really understand that. Some of them immediately assume that something is wrong, that I am sad, and pressure me to talk about problems that are frankly nonexistent. They don’t understand that I will never be the kind of person who constantly wants to be surrounded by others.

I love my friends, hanging out with them and doing things together, but sometimes I wonder where I would be if I had stayed quiet. Would I constantly be immersed in teen drama like I am now? Most definitely not. Would I get to stay home and not worry about friends wanting to make plans every weekend? Another, yes. But would I be happy with that kind of life?

I think I long for time alone now because I’m constantly surrounded by people. I have somehow created a social bubble and for me, it’s getting a little crowded. I am almost annoyed that I took it all for granted when I was little, but I know that’s not fair.

Even though some days I just want to walk away from all my social responsibilities, I also feel like I have an obligation to my friends and to my younger self. I want to make her proud and say “It’s okay, you won’t be alone forever, you’ll make friends someday,” but then again I also want to tell her “Don’t wish it all away, you’ll have friends someday, but you’ll miss the time you’ve had to discover who you are without the influence of anybody else.”

Don’t get me wrong, I had an amazing and happy childhood. I did have a few friends, nothing to get too excited about. I didn’t hang out with other kids every day, there were no other kids my age on my street, so I never had that tight-knit neighborhood kind of childhood that most kids at my school had. I mostly played by myself or built pillow forts and watched movies with my mom, which if I’m quite honest, is what I would much rather be doing in my free time now.

Maybe I feel this way about my social situation because I’m older now and am constantly surrounded by people, so naturally, I crave time alone; or maybe it is because when I was young, I wanted to have someone to share the adventure of childhood with. Either way, I can’t change the way I feel.

Conflicted doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about my social life, but hopefully, you understand that better now. If you understood any of what I’m feeling, please let me know, I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for stopping by,
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An American teenager documenting her life and the world around her one blog post at a time.

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