it’s not you, it’s me. it’s so definitely me.

I have had friends, in my life. But I mostly can’t handle it.

This picture was taken on my 21st birthday. I assumed I would go to a bar with Lance, maybe a roommate, and have a drink. Somewhere between Sunday afternoon and Sunday night, I had my boyfriend, my roommates, and a good portion of my a cappella group, all singing and dancing and buying me drinks all over the Oldies-Night dance floor.

I still can’t believe it, looking at this picture. How did that happen? I don’t have friends! Where did they all come from?

But that was college. College ended and my friends mostly stayed and I left and I mostly disappeared. I was happy to remove myself from a number of friend-based situations, I wouldn’t miss sitting at home thinking about whether I should invite myself to a party I knew some of my friends were going to but hadn’t invited me. I wouldn’t miss the stigma behind Sitting At Home and Doing Nothing. I was so happy to return to people (aka my family) who would join me in my Sitting and Nothing.

So I stopped wishing my college friends happy birthday on Facebook, lost my cell phone numbers and didn’t go out of my way to replace them, and after six years of daily AIMing, officially gave up on Instant Messager because it totally stressed me out. I spend most of my time with my favorite friends: my family.

I still have my friends from high school,


but without exception, they are all engaged or married, and they all have children.


Which is fine, which is great, I still love them and I wish I could see more of them and their adorable kids, but we’re just in different stages of our lives, you know?

I was excited to move to Boston, to meet more people who were in my stage of life. And I did! Grad school friends!

But there’s still a distance there, and it’s totally my own doing. We see each other once or twice a week, in class, before class, after class, and that seems fine to me. That seems like plenty of time to see your friend. And there is always work to be done – homework, housework, work-work – that precludes close friendship.

There’s not enough time in the day to make friends, basically. There is almost always an excuse not to hang out, not to go to this bar, not to go to this event.

I’m okay with this about 90% of the time.

But then I start looking at other people’s friendships and get jealous.

And I think about my future…

– When I get married, will I have ANYONE to invite to my wedding? Will anyone even WANT to come? (see 21st birthday anxiety)

– When I have kids, will I want my kids to grow up isolated from relationships with other adults just because *I’m* a social recluse?

– Wouldn’t it be nice to feel like you are part of a community, Jessica, of people your own age who help each other and support each other?


So I’m not actively seeking close friendship with peers… but am I also consciously rejecting it? I shut off my instant messager. I RSVP “no.” I smile and nod when you mention something fun you are doing instead of inviting myself along. I am always too sick to go out, always too broke, always too busy.

So I am always sitting just outside the circle.

And maybe that’s just the way it’s gonna be.


6 Responses to “it’s not you, it’s me. it’s so definitely me.”

  1. I’m like that, too. Except I’ve never really had groups of friends. A group of 3 others, at most – and that was high school. Ever since college, I’ve been more than ok with only seeing friends at school, which, to me, makes them mere acquaintances. Oh sure, we’d go out to bars and stuff, but nothing like high school friendships. Which is exactly why I call them high school friendships… I think you grow out of things like that and it’s normal and ok.

    I’m probably like 97% ok with being a recluse. When that 3% chimes in, I just have no idea how to make new friends, and even if I did, I probably wouldn’t want to hang out with them in my free time. So I grab a book and I’m ok with it all.

  2. I hear ya. Recently, only after living alone, I realized that I actually have a desire to do something about this friendless sort of existance (and I”m the same way – my family, my sisters, have become my people). So I organized a book group after trying to find one I liked. I am joining a knitters/crocheters group that I found on I found a girl on craigslist who wanted a bingo buddy and now we play bingo together and it’s fun! A friend of mine has a monthly board game night that’s always a blast. These events only occur once a month, but these people will only lead to more people of similar interests and I’ve been having a great time with it so far.

    A lot of the time, I do just want to sit at home and watch Gilmore Girls and be look totally gross. I have friends (far away) who’d love to be right there with me, and I’d love for them to join but it’s not where my life is right now. Sometimes you know pretty quickly when you meet people where your common interests end, but I think that’s where you have to redefine what community means in this time for all of us young digital people. A friend suggested to me that I should go to some of my favorite places – bookstores, galleries, coffee shops – and check their message boards for groups or volunteer opportunities. Have you considered having a movie marathon with a friend, or just having a couple people over to play video games or even just play with your cat? There’s probably thousands of people just like you out there who want to be your friend 10% of the time too! 🙂

  3. Dude. Me too. Yet, somehow with this internet thing, people have managed to sneak into my life anyway and I’m delighted.

  4. I got here by way of Ashley and I’m going to just cut and paste one part of my comment to her because it was really a comment to both of you 🙂

    Having friends is a weird thing. I’m finding I’m having the opposite pathway when it comes to friends. I used to not discriminate at all! Everyone’s a friend. Birthday dinner parties of 20 plus people! Road trips! With exactly 20 people! And then slowly, I”m starting to see that maybe having a filter is a good thing. Being more cautious who to let in, is a good thing. Saves the trouble of being let down. later and makes me a better friend to those who mean more. I’m not diluting myself as much.

    • I also totally agree with this. I’m becoming much more of the type of person who would rather have a few close friends than a million just-ok friends or acquaintances. I just know that as I get older and I’m not married and don’t have kids, I don’t know exactly how to meet/connect people who could be potential friends without coming off as somewhat creepy, hence the community and volunteer suggestions.


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