I will never be the fun one.
You know that carefree friend you have who’s always smiling and always makes people laugh, even when she’s having a bad day? Wait, does she even have bad days? Yeah, those people are great, and they probably get invited to a lot of parties, but they’re not me.
Look, I will be in your corner.
When I love people, I love them all the way. I will plan your baby shower right down to the last detail, I will bring you food and send you flowers when someone dies, I will watch your kids when you move, I will pray for you every time I think about you. I will fight for you when someone does you wrong.
I will get in your pain with you and stay there. But when I am also hurting, it will show.
I am super sensitive and wildly serious.
Small talk is never enough for me. I don’t just want to know where you bought your purse, I want to know your hopes, your dreams and your struggles. Please don’t just show me your public appearance, because I want to know and value your soul.
I am just enough of an extrovert to want friends desperately but then not know what to do with them once I have them. You see, making friends is remarkably easy, but keeping them is unfathomably hard.
I can’t even count how many times I’ve felt like I was part of a tight-knit group of friends, only to discover that I’m actually an outsider, when I start being left out of their meetings. I’m never quite sure if the problem is that I am too much for people or not quite enough.
No one told me that adult relationships would be just as hard as adolescent ones. (And I’m glad, because that probably would’ve just depressed me.) In truth, they’re even harder in some ways.
I shouldn’t be surprised that having young children, long distance caregiving and carrying around a load of grief and mental health issues for years has only compounded my struggle to maintain friendships. But that doesn’t make it hurt any less.
I’m finally realizing that the only friends I’ve managed to keep long-term are the ones who’ve also experienced trauma--the ones who’ve lived through the pain of abuse, anxiety and depression or profound loss.
They understand that small talk isn’t enough, because we’ve all been dealt too much hard stuff in our lives to go back to playing pretend. And I thank God everyday for these brave souls.
So, no, I will never be the fun one. But I will always be your fiercest friend.
(I do want to know where your purse is from, by the way. But that’s only because knowing your favorite things helps me to know the real you.)