In all my life, only two people have managed to be very close friends to me for more than a year without the friendship devolving into constant bickering and stupid arguments.
The first was my best friend growing up. He and I became friends when we were 9 or 10 years old, and as we grew up and changed we still stayed close, maybe because we’d known each other before the changes, and had gone through them together. After I moved back to Colombia and he stayed in Florida we stopped talking, but every time he cam to visit we fell right back into the old friendship, like slipping into an old favourite coat.
It was just… easy to open up to the other and affectionately share that time together, regardless of whether it’d been two or three years since the last time we saw each other.The second is my current best friend. I feel hesitant to talk much about my friendship with her because she and I are friends right now, and it’d feel almost like a lack of respect to divulge much about it. Mostly though, it’s a friendship where we mutually respect how different we are, and the opportunities for growth we give each other. We also have similar values, and that counts for a lot.
My friendships with other people have been more… complicated. With most of my friends, there has always been a certain level of distance. It was more pronounced back before I came out, but even now I don’t feel as close as I might to people I’ve known for nearly a decade. It’s not that they’re bad friends or anything of the sort, but more that I find it really hard to open up to people.
It all comes down to my lack of social skill. I love other people and cultivating friendships, but a childhood and adolescence spent inside the pages of a book left me hindered in regards to how I make friends and get closer to people. I try to be friendly. but I sometimes struggle in how I transition from acquaintance to friend, and from friend to a friend close enough to share who you really are with.
It’s a bit ironic, but I think it’s difficult for me to open up to people because it’s so easy for me to open up. Let’s look at this blog as an example. The kind of stuff I casually write about is not what most people would share with family, or friends. However, I feel completely comfortable sharing it, because that’s the sort of person I am.
If someone I barely knew at work said they wanted to know me better and reassured me they wouldn’t think less of me for being completely honest, I’d share just about anything with them.
So good so far, right? There are people who find it almost painful to open up even with the people closest to them, so what I have seems to be a blessing.
Well, sort of. The problem is similar to someone who likes any kind of food trying to become a chef. As far as it relates to themselves, most things will be enjoyable, but there’s a conflict when they’re preparing food for other people, with their own unique palate.
The chef might enjoy a hamburger as much as steak, but depending on who they’re serving, either dish might lead to very different reactions.
I feel comfortable telling someone about the way my sexual orientation has changed this past year, or the more personal struggles that have indirectly come as a result of me coming out. I will happily tell them about my personal flaws, and the problems they’ve caused for me in the past. However, most people simply don’t feel comfortable seeing someone open up like that. It makes them deeply uncomfortable, and often leads to them distancing themselves.
I’m like a tone deaf musician. I love making meaningful friendships, but it’s so easy to share who I am that it becomes a hindrance. I either share too much of myself early on and end up scaring other people away, or am so afraid of the former happening that I become hesitant to the point it congeals relationships that would have otherwise blossomed into good friendships.
I wish I could do this better. As much as I enjoy spending time by myself, I’m getting tired of such a lonely life.