I’m the ghostly friend

When you can look a thing dead in the eye, acknowledge that it exists, call it exactly what it is, and decide what role it will take in your life then, my Beloved, you have taken the first step toward your freedom.
Iyanla Vanzant

Because true belonging only happens when we present our authentic, imperfect selves to the world, our sense of belonging can never be greater than our level of self-acceptance.
Brené Brown


A while ago, I answered 25 thought-provoking questions, of which one was;

10. Have you been the kind of friend you want as a friend?
This is something I’ve thought about lately, and I’d say no. I just can’t figure out what’s missing, but there’s definitely a blind spot on how I view friendships.

I’ve ruminated this issue for almost a month now. I noticed that although I have great friends, I felt…unnoticed,invisible. I was often the one starting convos or checking up on people. The same thing rarely happened with me. In fact, if anyone showed me that they had taken notice to me in any way; noticing my pic on whatsapp or reading a post from 9 months ago,it would touch me so deeply and leave me mindblown with gratitude. Don’t get me wrong – I wasn’t lamenting this fact, in pondering it, but years of introspection has taught me one thing ; cause-and-effect. Everything that happens has some sort of connection to me. In this case; what was I doing/not doing that made me such a distant and reserved person? It had to be me, and not in a self-critical capacity, but I knew it was something fishy.

Well, I figured it out. I’m emotionally unavailable and I seek out emotionally unavailable people. Whenever a friend tries to strike up a conversation or writes me an email, I feel it’s so tedious because deep down I believe it’s only semantics and formalities because there’s nothing interesting about me, right? I feel uncomfortable with being in the spotlight and I feel that I’m selfishly hogging attention that I don’t deserve. So I seek out people with whom I have (mostly) one-sided interactions. I convince myself that these aloof people are secretly shy or, like me, don’t think they are worth the attention. But I’ll show them; I’ll care for them, and keep up with them, and pick up conversations whenever they drop ( never entertaining the thought that they dropped it on purpose). In short, I’d build a false sense of confidence in that empty space between us that we’ve evacuated . There’s no threat to my anxieties there and since I know that the other party isn’t interested in me, that only relaxes me because I know that I’ll forever remain behind the scenes.

Emotionally available people scare the crap out of me. I say it like I’m an emotionally unavailable person, but not really. I’m building the bridge to cross over to the other side, and I’ve explored countless issues related to unavailability in the form of codependency, lack of boundaries, standing up for myself, etc. There are always neighbouring issues before you get to the core issue.

It is when I looked at my friendships from this angle that I realized I had ignored the friends who were interested in me and instead I became pre-occupied with apathetic ‘friends’.

Besides, when I’m so pre-occupied with dodging emotional proximity and numbing my pain, I’ll be so self-centred that I won’t have the energy or ability to care about anybody else. In fact, the times that I notice how invisible I am are the few times I rear my head from behind the latest escapism project; how ironic! I go hide and then wonder why no one can find me.

Come to think of it, I do have great friends and I now see how evading my pain and unresolved issues destroys me behind my back. When I focus on others, I lose sight of myself and the things that really matter in life.

 

And let your best be for your friend.
If he must know the ebb of your tide, let him know its flood also.
For what is your friend that you should seek him with hours to kill?
Seek him always with hours to live.
For it is his to fill your need, but not your emptiness.
And in the sweetness of friendship let there be laughter, and sharing of pleasures.
For in the dew of little things the heart finds its morning and is refreshed.

Khalil Gibran

Gee, Khalil, did you have to rub it in my face like that? -_-

 

3 responses to I’m the ghostly friend

  1. I wish there were a short version answer.Its starting to rain again. But I will tell you about the first thing I thought after reading this. Its from Joseph Campbells book, The Power of Myth and it has to do with an interview with a Japanese Shinto priest and how the he did not understand the theology. The Shinto priest only said ‘ we do not have theology, we dance’. And like the song says : a kiss is just a kiss, a sigh is just a sigh’. Were only critical of ourselves when time allows. But when we are in a kiss or in a jump the world folds itself neatly into place. Its something im just only learning. Theres definetely something fishy.

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  2. Being hurt by those close to use eventually builds walls of protection. If life changes so that we no longer need those walls — either through our own growing strength or because we find better friends — they can be hard to break down.

    Per your post about “wits” it’s possible for unusual people to suffer the reaction of “the herd.” That’s exactly what leads to those walls — we sometimes seek to hide our differences from those who can’t appreciate or understand them.

    Simply: the more unique a person is, the harder it is to find really compatible matches, either as friends or as romantic relationships.

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