Does anyone else often feel like they don’t matter? Like they’re alone in a crowd? Even amongst people who should be my friends, I feel like I don’t belong. Then again, I don’t think these people are real friends. Yesterday, I was at another party. Sitting there among a circle of people I know (people who are supposedly my friends), watching them talk and laugh about things that deep down I can’t truly relate to, I have never felt so alienated and disconnected. It was like I was an audience member watching a show I didn’t really enjoy or find all that funny.
It always seems to be the case that I don’t get back from friendships what I put in. I am introverted, and find it hard to get to know new people really fast, due to being bullied when I was younger and the fact that I have battled depression and self-harm on and off since my teens. But it’s not like I mope around being depressed and unpleasant in front of people. I hide that aspect of my life well, and for the most part I come across as a happy, “normal” (read as: non-depressed, non-suicidal) person. And once I get past my initial shyness and become friends with someone, I usually open up and am a caring, friendly, considerate and reliable friend (so I have been told). I am always nice to people and happy to help. I’m also quite empathetic and I try not to judge anyone, because I know how it hurts when people exclude you and make fun of you. And I don’t think I’m a boring person either – I’m often making people laugh and I get invited to their events.
Yet despite all this, it’s not enough and I somehow always end up at the outer edge of groups. I end up thinking that I’m quite good friends with people, only to realise eventually that they don’t view me as important as any of their other friends. That they practically don’t view me as a friend at all. I feel like I am so easily replaced. Yet they all like to use me. They don’t hesitate to come to me when they need a favour, because they know I am reliable and true to my word. They take advantage of my generosity, expecting me to contribute to birthday presents and the like, but they never can be bothered to do the same for me. I’m not being friends with them to get gifts, but I strongly believe in reciprocity in friendships. It’s more about the principle than the actual gift. When I have been giving presents to some people for the past two or three years, and they never once thought to give me anything back on my birthday, but they give our other friends presents…well, what does that show me? That they don’t care about my feelings at all. That they don’t value our friendship to the same extent I do.
I’m sick of it now. I’m sick of being the nice girl. I’m sick of always giving emotionally in friendships and never getting the same in return. Most of all, I’m just sick of people, and sick of being disappointed in them. There’s only so long that one can keep one’s hopes up about finding people that truly “get you” and genuinely like you for who you are (not what you can do for them) before one starts feeling disillusioned about human relationships in general. The same thing keeps happening no matter where I go. It happened in primary school, in high school, and now at university. I guess it just must be me. Yet I really don’t know what exactly it is that I do wrong.
So what exactly makes a “worthy” friend to these people then? It seems like these days people just want someone who can entertain them the most, someone who likes to drink and party. Someone who likes to gossip and ***** with them about a person they both don’t like. I thought friendship was about enjoying each other’s company, about accepting and liking the other person for who they are. I thought being a good friend meant being kind, being dependable, being trustworthy, being loyal. Nope, those things don’t matter as much. You have to be loud, out-going and fun-loving all the time. You have to crack crude jokes, and talk and laugh about meaningless things. Where can I find a friend who would like to have a conversation about the deeper, more meaningful things in life? Someone in real life who won’t judge me on the things I’ve gone through, like self-harm and suicidal thoughts? Someone willing to be there during the rainy days, not just during fair weather? There have been times when I have become so drained from maintaining my facade all the time, that my “happy” mask has slipped a bit, and I can’t help but let my depression show itself somewhat through the cracks. During those periods, I became more withdrawn and tired of making social efforts. But instead of asking me what was wrong, my so-called friends would all just scatter and disperse. It seems that people can only afford to stick around for the “good times” and leave you to deal with the “bad times” alone.
I have been struggling with low self-esteem/self-worth throughout my life and always finding myself amongst people that make me feel like I don’t even matter is making it worse. Most days I just feel so tired of it all, of life in general. I know this post made it sound I’m only depressed because of not having real friends, but there’s actually a lot more to my depression than just that. I feel as though even if I do find people I like, my depression and dark thoughts will always be at the back of my mind, ready to creep up and take over at any moment. There’s nothing I’d like more than to just go to sleep and not wake up. At the moment, I’m just here, merely existing.
I’m not sure where I’m going with this super-long post. I just needed to vent. I guess I wanted to get this off my chest and to see if there are others out there who can relate to feeling insignificant and invisible in this empty thing we call life.