And I can’t figure out why you want me around

I think it must be difficult to be friends with me, because I never quite believe that I am good enough. I am afraid to call even my closest friends because I think that I will be bothering them, which probably makes me appear distant and uninterested. I assume they are all busy, and therefore don’t pursue them like I should. I am afraid of angering people or being a burden.

I do this to Mike, too. I got really sick to my stomach on Tuesday night after he went to sleep, and I didn’t want to bother him, so I was very careful not to wake him up. And when I went downstairs to get some ginger ale, I replaced the can in the refrigerator with a can from the pantry so that Mike wouldn’t be irritated that I had forgotten to do that. Never mind that I would have been furious with him for not waking me up if he was the one who was sick. Never mind that he would in no way have been upset with me if I forgot to replace the can. I act all the time as if he is going to yell at me for making a mistake. If you’ve met Mike, you know he’s not a yelling kind of guy. I’m the one who would be upset with myself for forgetting to replace the can, not Mike.

There are probably a lot of reasons I act this way. As I have explained over and over, I feel pretty lonely these days. But it’s not just that . . . I remember acting this way as far back as high school. My closest friend in high school wasn’t someone I did stuff with outside of school very often, or who liked to talk on the phone. I wanted to do those things, to be a typical high schooler, but she seemed too busy with other friends and family. Maybe she wasn’t, and I just was afraid. Whatever it was, now I have a hard time believing people want to spend time with me. When it gets scary, I pull back and reject them so that they can’t reject me first, even when I don’t know I’m doing it.

As one of my friends pointed out, a million best friends wouldn’t solve this problem. I have to believe that God values me whether others do or not. But that seems like a tall order, and I don’t know where to start. How do you change a pattern that has been around for at least a decade?

[Okay, here’s my standard disclaimer that I did not make this post so that people would stroke my ego. I hope it doesn’t seem that way. I wouldn’t want any of you all to be irritated with me.]

[That last sentence was my lame attempt at humor.]

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  1. […] This entry was inspired by (and consequently borrows heavily from) Kari’s latest post. I can approach neither the depth of her wisdom nor the clarity of her writing. […]

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