I’m finding that as I approach the midpoint of my 30s, I am feeling more isolated. Peers are getting married, having kids, venturing deep into romantic relationships and/or consuming free time with hobbies. As a single, childless vagabond, this means that former BFFs, friends and associates are falling by the wayside–efforts to connect be damned, attempts to message ignored, and pushes to be on their minds brushed aside.
Naturally, this hurts. While I am an introvert, that need for quiet and solitude does not mean that I don’t crave social interactions with friends, that I don’t feel slighted when I’m not included in others’ plans. And I’m finding myself increasingly on the sidelines as I age–a footnote in friends’ lives as they fill their time with other people and activities. In turn, this leads to an ever-increasing effort to shield myself from rejection, holing myself inside so that I don’t feel the sting of putting myself out there.
That surplus of alone time has led me to contemplate a lot of things in my life, and one of those things is how I see friendship. As I take myself (sometimes too) seriously, my standards for friendship may be unattainable. Here are my insane requirements:
- Humor me if I make an effort to make plans to get together
- If spending time with me is not appealing, let me know via awkward exchange(s)
- Keep me in mind for things that can be shared experiences–especially based upon past outings
That’s it. And that’s expecting too much if my experiences and continued frustration lead me to believe.
I’ve seen too many friends fall by the wayside, too many supposed close compatriots permanently bail over slights (not dogsitting for a weekend despite living 45 minutes away, admitting that the brother of a friend was rude, mysterious reasons), and too many people rip my heart out and toss it carelessly in the trash. It’s no secret that dating is that much more daunting if not answering a simple Facebook message feels like the end of the world–let alone learning that I missed out on a get-together with mutual friends.
Maybe this is all on me. Maybe I deserve to be friendless at this point. I’m certainly laying the groundwork–or rather, demolishing the roadways–to my isolated island. Maybe I’m too far gone. I know that my sensitivity is a culprit in always feeling heartbroken when I see my supposed friends having fun without me. Maybe there’s no winning with me. But it would be nice to have someone supporting me in the trenches, even if I’m digging an impenetrable one around myself.