I used to get jealous when I saw people with their friends. I just couldn’t help thinking how I wished I could have that. I didn’t understand how it could seem so natural to spend time with people outside of school or church or activities.
I never really thought about how people made friends. I just longed for that feeling of having a friend. I was jealous that people had someone to talk to and sit with at lunchtime. I was jealous that people could go to the mall or the movies or the beach with someone other than their family.
I love my family and they have always been my best friends, but I was jealous of people who could call someone when they had family problems. I was jealous of people who could be okay when their family wasn’t around. I longed for the feeling of knowing I was loved, not because I had to be, not because of a family bond, but simply because I was myself. I longed to feel like my presence was worth the time people spent with me.
It was mostly my fault that I didn’t have friends. I realize now that I didn’t exactly make myself easily approachable. I didn’t know how. I didn’t understand how friendship works. I only knew I wanted friends, but could never figure out how to make them.
Now, I look at people with their friends and I’m just happy for them. I think about how great it is for them to have that kind of relationship. It makes me happy to see other people happy with their friends.
It took a lot of little things on my part to make friends. It took going out of my comfort zone and doing things that made me shake with anxiety. It took talking to people and texting them when I wasn’t ready for it. It took being real and vulnerable and opening my heart, hoping that it wouldn’t get broken. It took making mistakes along the way and wondering if I lost friends because I wasn’t good enough. It took lots of tears and worrying that I was unworthy of friendship. It took accepting that I might never have the friendships I longed for, but that I could have courage and be kind anyway.
I don’t know why I have friends now. I still don’t feel like I deserve it. I still wonder if I’m doing this whole friendship thing “right”. I still worry about asking too much of my friends or not reaching out to them enough. I know friendship is two-way, but I’m still not sure how much to give or when to ask things. It’s difficult to navigate this new world.
I am so grateful though. People may look at my friendships and think they are relatively small, but to me, they are more than I ever dreamed of. Having someone who wants to see me and talk to me when I walk in a room is amazing. Having someone notice when I am away is incredible. Having someone take time to say hi and talk to me is more than I dreamed of.
I feel bad for not seeing it before. I feel bad that I could have had this earlier, but never knew what was missing. I feel bad that I never felt like the amazing people in my life were my friends because I never allowed myself to be theirs. I feel bad for all the friends I had in the past that I was never a friend to.
I am grateful that I can be a friend now though. I am grateful that I have friends now, that I realize I have friends now. I am grateful to no longer be jealous of the friendships other people have. And I am so grateful for the incredible people I can now call my friends.