I Don’t Understand Friendships Anymore

I have often been solitary in my life because I don’t think I understand what friendships are all about. By now at the age of fifty-three you would think I would have the friendship issue down and pat and I would have many friends but that’s just not true. About two years ago I gave my heart to the Lord and decided at that point to give up my old life, and consequently my old friends as it turned out. I had just gotten over a life changing death of a close friend and I thought it was time to reassess my life goals. I needed to stop hurting inside and out. I kept thinking about my life before I chose to not serve the Lord when I had Jesus in my life and I was letting him control my life. I knew it was better for me and that life has always been just out of my reach because of my life choices. Over the years I have had some very special friendships in my life but they all seem to be here for a while and then they were gone. I was told once that people come into your life for a reason and when that time is up they leave again. I tried to hold on to a few of those friendships but they soon dissolve into something else and dropped off completely in most cases. I’ve lost friendships to death, people moving away and just growing apart with no common attractions. I find myself alone again and that’s not always a bad thing because I am use to be alone but sometimes you want to reach out and be something more than isolated from those around you. I’ve always love to write and I thought this place may give me an avenue to explore my inner thoughts by sharing them with other people and maybe I will meet some other kindred souls who like myself have lost friends and just need someone to share with.
Finding new friendships is what I desire most in my life right now. I need other Christian people who understand being alone in any format. You can be alone sitting in a crowd of people because you just don’t have the right words to say. You might have been divorced or lost a loved one but you know loneliness and you just don’t have any outlets to express yourself. That's what I am hoping to achieve here, meeting people I would probably never meet because of where we live. Through this resource and my love for writing maybe I will meet someone even if I only get to speak to them through words on a computer. At least I will make a new friend and you never know what can happen from there.
Originally, I thought my lack of friends for many years was the fact that I had low self-esteem and I couldn’t say the right thing to open the conversation. I my mind’s eye I would think that everyone saw right through my disguises and decided before I open my mouth, what I was all about or pretending to be. Already they didn’t want to take the chance of really getting to know what I was all about. I was defeated and paranoid before I began and then I would slink off somewhere and be alone again. Is it any surprise that I love to read and that I spend a lot of time reading? At the time I considered myself a wall flower or a fly on the wall. I was in the crowd but not part of the crowd. I would always have those flashback twenty minutes later of what I should have said in another conversation.
I have encountered something over the years which make me afraid to open up and really talk to people. When I am talking about an experience and I feeling passionate about the subject I can really delve into the story and express myself well or I feel I do. I tend to tell my story with a lot of feeling, expressions and maybe tell more than I have to, to get my point across. I am a story teller of sorts and I have to explain everything for my story to have depth and to really share my feelings of the experience. I have to have my beginning, middle and ending to the story and if I don’t tell the whole thing people won’t understand the feelings I am trying to portray. However when I am trying to express myself and someone either ignores me or just shuts off the conversation by either turning away or beginning a different conversation with someone else, I feel that I am boring my audience and maybe I should listen more and just stop interjecting my preverbal two cents worth to the banter. I shouldn’t feel this way but it still hurts when people shut you down. It has happened a few times in the single group mostly one person and I am not sure if he even notices what he is doing. I don't like confronting people unless I really have to, I try to pray for them and just keep it to myself.
It happens sometimes and it makes me shut down and really consider do I want to have friends like this? That the flesh talking and not the Love of Christ that we should always have with us. Maybe they don’t understand what they are doing because they are the life of the” party people”, and what they say has to be more important even if it’s just a joke being told. I have never been the “life of the party”, you know the person that can enter any exchange and really dominate the conversation. They are magnets and people are drawn to them like a moth to a flame. Often when I use to go out in my old life and listen to people tell jokes, it would be people like that who told a joke and people hung on to every word they spoke.
I’ve never been able to say that I had so many friends that I was unable to count them, in my situation I think the opposite is the case. The number of real friends can probably be counted on one hand over the many years of having made friends. I have had a lot of acquaintances, people you hang out with only when you go to a special place otherwise you never hear from them. My biggest fan and also a friend is my mom. We can talk for hours and have a great time. One time we were in the car driving up to Red Bluff California. We were on the 99 freeway and we missed an exit because we were talking so much and almost end up in Reno Nevada.
I use to be kind of jealous when other people had so many friends. I wondered what was so wrong with me that people couldn’t get past the first phase and see what a great person I am. I know I am not perfect and I have a lot of faults but I feel I am easy to talk with if someone would give me the chance. At the moment I don’t really have any close friends or maybe my representation of what a friend might be is eschewed and I need to rethink the friendship rules. I don’t think inside myself now, that I am not a likeable guy, but maybe I put up walls and people after a short period of time just stop trying to be my friend and let me go without really getting to know who I am and maybe I let them.
I am part of a singles group at my church Life Cathedral Church of God. We have bible studies and sometime we get together for games or pot lucks on Fridays each month, sometimes we also have outing to parks or lakes in the summer. This month we also started a prayer group on Thursday nights after our pastor had a sermon on the need for prayer in our life and praying for the lost and whatever else the Lord laid on our hearts. I am also part of the choir because I love to sing and I thought it would help me get to know more people within the church. A few Sundays ago Joe who is on the pastor’s council asked me to be an usher about once or twice a month. So I am getting out around people but most of the time I am listening and not really vocally participating because I have nothing to interject. It might sound like I am really shy and unable to communicate well but that’s not true if given the chance I could talk a person’s ear off. Many of the people at our church are nice and friendly but they have developed friendships over the years and as yet I don’t feel the closeness with them yet. I tell a few stories and try to keep them short when I talk to people. I am trying to keep myself open but I still feel lonely. I haven’t really connected to anyone.
Friendships sometimes depend on the person and what is being talked about, do we have something in common, and is there some kind of bond being made. A few weeks back I went to a potluck and I talked to this one guy for quite a long time and we seem to click. The topics were all over the place and I had a nice conversation with him. Since then we have had a few more conversations and I think he would make a good friend. Our group has more men in it then women, some of the women have kids and are not able to get away as easily as men do. Most of our group meetings have around 15 to 20 people of all ages.
As I said before, I had a friend who passed away and even though that friendship was before I got back in to serving the Lord I guess I judge my friendships on that person. He was married and his wife wasn’t able to get out much so he and I would go out for dinner and just chat. He was an interesting guy and had lot of stories to tell from his life and working at the Veterans Hospital. He was one of those people who could chat up a whole group of people and no one would be a stranger by the end of the night. He would call or text and send me little reminders of things throughout the week. He basically kept in touch and I knew he was a friend because he would call and seem generally interested in getting to know me more. We were friends for 8 years until he died Christmas Day 2010.
So I guess what I am try to say is that friends, including yourself should make an effort in being friends. Is calling once in a while just to see how you are doing or going out for coffee a think of the past? Did the friendship code change again? Do people only text sometimes and then meet you at the regular Sunday meetings and your friends because you know them by sight and we talk a little at meeting but the rest of the time you don’t exist? I guess I am just confused. Maybe I am hoping for something more. I am not looking for a relationship just a good friends who like to stay in touch and get to know me and be generally interested in my feeling and thoughts and what’s going on in our lives. If you read all this and it makes sense to you or is all hog wash give me a shout out on what your feeling are and add a comment. I will be waiting with anticipation.

vernon051 vernon051
51-55, M
1 Response Jan 18, 2013

Dude..*breathes heavily*