Everybody has at least one person in their lives that they can call their friends, maybe you have lots of friends, lots of people to go out with and party with, but how do you differentiate between the real relationships and the ones there purely out of convenience? The fact is, you may never know… You may go your entire life thinking somebody is your friend because you’ve known them since you were little, or you’ve worked with them for years or maybe they are in the same social circle as you. There are moments of clarity, however, where you truly discover whether an individual in your life is a real friend, or in some sense a foe.
As with many people with anxiety, I hide myself away both emotionally and physically; I spend a lot of time on my own, that’s how we like it, because when other people are around we can’t focus on the task ahead of us as our brain is screaming ‘they don’t like you!’ at the top of its proverbial voice in front of a proverbial crowd made of your self esteem. It takes moments of intense vulnerability – a mental breakdown, for example – or the guidance of emotional lubricant (lots and lots of alcohol) for the anxious of the world to be themselves around someone in the dark. This is when we are honest and open with the people around us about all of the repressed dark shit we’ve hidden away behind a mask of confidence for years, when we tell the people who think us sane that we are broken.
This is a good thing, talking to people about how we truly feel, yet it is not without consequences. The way people react varies from person to person; some friends are happy that you shared and supportive of your situation, whilst others do not understand, with the worst part being how long it takes before you figure out who is who. As many of you may know, I recently had somewhat of a breakdown and drastically changed my life (for the better, fingers crossed) and had to open up to a lot of people who had no idea how I truly felt. My girlfriend, for example, understands that I will always struggle to talk openly, yet I know whenever I am ready to talk then she will be there. The trouble came when I told my friends.
Telling your friends can be very intimidating, so much so that a lot of us never truly open up to them, in fear of rejection. It’s true, your frame of mind will never be accepted by everyone, just like religion isn’t going to hook everybody, it is just a way of life. When someone you open up to starts to act differently around you, and you know it isn’t your usual anxious tendencies making you feel this, it can be really fucking hurtful. The fact remains is by being yourself you have lost a relationship, but the trick is to seek the positives in such a situation. You saved yourself from a fake relationship, which may have felt even worse years down the line; you made the relationships stronger with those who accept you for your true self.
The idea behind this post is to not make you panic about losing friends, it is to open your eyes to the fact that you are never going to know where your true relationships lie until you are completely yourself. Maybe we never find out who our friends are and who our foes are not. Maybe it will take until our deathbed to realize who you truly loved. The twist is, if you spend your life pretending to be someone you are not, at the sake of maintaining a relationship, will you die happy?