I don’t like to be around people I don’t know. I have a hard time getting to know strangers and it takes a really long time before I trust a person to be genuine. I see rejection at every unanswered call and feel like I walk on eggshells because I don’t want to upset someone that might call me their friend.
This has been going on for ages. I remember in grade school, every single girl in my class standing at the top of a big jungle-gym structure, except for myself and one other little girl. The “gang leader” wanted us to basically “perform” against each other, and the person that wins would get to climb up on the piece of equipment and be a part of the group. I am embarrassed to say that I attempted to win. And was downright ashamed when I didn’t sing the Sesame Street theme song better than that other girl. I was an outcast that year. Reinforce that you are a loser and will always be rejected, right HERE.
I remember wanting to have a “friend” over to hang out or do a sleepover, or whatever, and having to call down a long list in my elementary school directory before I found someone who would come play. I remember my mom being exasperated that I actually WOULD call through the whole list. I remember feeling alone and sad, and not knowing or understanding why no one wanted to hang out with me. Rejection, again.
I did, over the years in grade school, develop exactly two friendships, but they both broke apart in dramatic fashion in junior high. Ack, junior high was a mess. The boys started to tease me mercilessly for being the tallest kid around, and I was slightly overweight, so thus started the fat jokes. And the worst was that the girls joined in. I had absolutely no friends in junior high. I remember those as being turbulent times, being confused at the roles people played, and shocked at the sexual-goings-on of my classmates.
In high school, things got better because I played sports. Being on an atheletic team almost invariably equals instant friends, just because you spend so much time together. I was in sports when I was in middle school, but it was quite disorganized and, looking back, I had a couple of “sports friends” but they were from teams outside of my school. In high school, I was “almost” popular. I usually had a boyfriend, or was working on getting one. I had something social to do most nights, and for the most part, the teasing stopped.
And then college and the real world came through, and there I was, without friends and people making fun of me again. I had a few acquaintances in college, but no one I would call a true friend. I’ve only stayed in touch with one person from that time in my life, and she mostly sends me email forwards, every once in awhile a card for my birthday.
I know I have social anxiety and I know it comes from those early days of rejection, people making fun of me, and generally feeling like I don’t belong. I still feel that way now and, at 32, have no friends that exist outside the Internet, and, even then, only a couple of Internet friends. I’m more okay with that now than I used to be.
I feel like I have a full life, even without having any “real life” friends. To be honest, people scare me. Even on the Internet, people scare me. I have a lot of support from family and DSB, and, while I do try to chat someone up every now and again, it generally doesn’t go anywhere, mostly, I think, because I am just so awkward with it.
I don’t know if I should do something about this or just let it be, but I lean toward let it be. My fear of rejection is huge, and I don’t care to feel like I’m back in grade school or middle school, being teased for being the fattest kid on the playground.