The fear of friendship {SYL}

Week Ten of Simplify Your Life over at Home Life Simplified: How to Face Your Fears

Fear. Just the word has my heart palpating just a little. To look at me, you might not think I was a fearful person. I generally have a fairly pragmatic view of the world and can tend to jump into situations without thinking too much about them.

I have mild claustrophobia. I only identified this as an adult, but it does explain some of the strange dreams I had as a child. I don’t like confined spaces. I don’t do caves. Or mazes. Or window seats. It doesn’t affect my life that much though, and doesn’t really worry me.

I’m also a little agoraphobic. It’s not that I don’t like people, I just don’t like large amounts of them in the same place at the same time. Again, it doesn’t stop me from doing anything that I really want to do.

The fear that does make me sad that i’m missing out doesn’t have a name. I’m not sure it’s recognised as an official fear.

I have this fear of establishing friendships with people. I can come up with at least five excuses to not pursue a friendship with someone even though I really, really want to. They’re surely too busy. They probably already have enough friends. I don’t think they like my hair. I’m not sure I have the energy to maintain another friendship. They’ll probably think I’m boring. WHAT IF THEY SAY NO?

I’m shy. I have a degree of social anxiety that tends to make me freeze and feel completely stupid when I meet people. And then I walk away kicking myself because I really liked that person and now they’re not going to realise and I’ve just missed the chance to make a new friend.

Couldn't resist - man, I miss this show!

I’ve been blessed with some amazing friends. People who have ignored my tendency to keep them at arm’s length and been my friend anyway. Amazing women who would drop everything to help if I needed it. I’m definitely not friendless, despite my fears.

I just think I’m missing out on widening my circle of friends. Missing out on more fabulous relationships. On different opinions and experiences. People have so much to offer. *I* have so much to offer. If only I could really believe that and go for it!

On a positive note, last week I approached someone I really admired via email. I was terrified and embarrassed. But, in the end, I figured the worst that could happen was them saying they didn’t have the time to start this (kinda-businessy) relationship. You know what? She said yes. Totally worth overcoming my fear!

Do you struggle to initiate new friendships? Or do you find it easy? What are your secrets for striking up a friendship with someone new?

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10 thoughts on “The fear of friendship {SYL}

  1. I feel like I could’ve written this! I’m shy (introverted) as well – and have often lamented on the chances I’ve let slide with friendships. Pursuing friendships takes vulnerability, and I find I’m not always willing to be that vulnerable – because surely I’ll be rejected anyway! Realistically I know that the worst that can happen is that someone can say ‘no’ – but who knows what opportunities await when someone says ‘yes’ to a friendship. Good on you for overcoming your fear and emailing that person.

  2. oh my goodness – i could have absolutely written this myself! I dont have any secrets, or tips – i find it easy to establish connections on twitter, a few replies here and there and before you know it, connected! it takes some of the fear away. i think as adults, friendships and people change so much that it gets harder – so good on you for recognising, and taking steps to overcome it… like i said, you are SO not alone!

  3. you wrote this so well! Yes , a lot of us fear rejection, or what others will think once they find out the quirks, or things that make us who we are.
    I think you are taking little steps to fix this, and thats great, good on you, even if its hard, you are doing something about it, Big hug xx

  4. I’m a complete extrovert but you know what ? Sometimes I still have issues establishing and maintaining friendships. Being human, we’re all – on some level – have a fear of rejection. I think only time and experience can help. For all the times you’re adamant that a particular person wouldn’t possibly want to be your friend, I’m sure they’ll surprise you. Just like that person you sent that email too. Those wonderful moments are sure to happen again and again…and again !!!

  5. I find making new friends pretty easy, however this used to get me into trouble as I tried to be good friends with everyone – now i have realised its impossible to do that and remain sane. So now I aim to focus the most amount of time on my inner circle of friends (life growth friends) and then giving smaller amounts of time to my other friends and acquaintances :)
    Finding common ground is how I initiate friendships and encouraging the person inam getting to know.

  6. I definitely have many of the same feelings; about too many people around, being ‘out’ and making new friends. I blame WHAT HAPPENED and that it has put many areas of my life on hold but maybe there is more to it…lost some confidence, old enough to be too analytical? I look at kids and think, they run at things because they haven’t developed the anxiety or negativity that so often stops us later. The same way I think it would be easier to learn to swim or ride a horse when you’re younger. if we are all thinking it, imagine how many great friendships we are missing out on!

  7. I too could have written this post, but I have very few friends….period. It’s funny, I often long for that one girlfriend to do stuff with, to share EVERYTHING with & all that, but then I wonder if that would fit in with my life anyway? Who knows.
    Thanks for writing this post because to an outsider I would never have said any of this applies to you :)

  8. Another one who can totally relate – I have lots of acquaintances and decent friendships but most have recently developed from me putting myself out there more in the last year – pushing myself to do the inviting, letting go when i am not issued with a reciprocal invitation after that (it does kill me a little though as i struggle to understand why I am never anyone’s first thought to include). I have no best friend or anyone who calls me to share their news…

  9. I wish i could have written a post as good – i totally feel the same!! And it takes up alot of my headspace thinking of all the reasons the other person would not want to be friends, when really we should just jump in – i am sure people will soon tell us if they dont like us!!!!! My tip – or my ice breaker – has definetly been my kids. Especially as they get older and they are in team sports, week in week out you are sitting with the same mums, and so what starts as polite conversations can blossom into friendships, so thats probably my one and only successful tip for making new friends!! :)

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