Social circles and barriers

This is the seventeenth day of the Love Blog Challenge
hosted by the lovely BelleBrita
Prompt for 2/25: Growth

francisco-galarza-110053-unsplash barrierOne of BelleBrita’s suggested questions today is: How do I grow my social circle?

Ugh. That just makes me feel a little lonely and pitiful. More the loser than I know I am. Because, honestly, I don’t even know if there is enough “social” in me to create a whole circle.

I was so relieved to see another writer, Kris Camealy, speak to this on her Facebook page  – just a simple post about a group of artists she loves and with whom she feels welcome. She starts…

All of my life I have felt like I’m always between circles of friends—like I don’t fit well into any one “group”, like I’m welcome in each, but only to a certain extent. I often feel just outside of whatever group I’m in. Maybe it’s imposter syndrome. Maybe it’s because I’m an enneagram 4. Maybe it’s because I’m fiercely independent and while I LOVE people, I don’t want to NEED them (a constant battle with my pride).

I’m defensive enough to think that pride has little to do with making friends, yet I can’t help but believe Kris is spot on. After all, she is a Four.

Quality and quantity of pride must affect how and why we make friends. Some are so needy that new acquaintances are put off by the clinging. Others are too proud to need anyone, which is equally hard to love. Probably most of us lie somewhere between those two extremes – and often run from one end of the spectrum to the other depending on the given day and whether or not the toast burned this morning.

But even if I can stay somewhere in the middle, between clingy and distant, I still feel a barrier between me and the friendships for which I have longed. The barrier is not unkind or harsh. It’s not rude or exclusive. It doesn’t see me as unworthy or less than.

In fact, I think it’s visible only from my side of any relationship. The people and groups on the other side are often quite unaware of the fence I see that keeps me out…

or keeps me in. Good golly, Miss Molly.

As I wrote not long ago[my very best friend] has always had lots of friends, lots of events, lots of adventures. My circle is small, and home is my favorite place.

Yes, home is my favorite place.

For all the world, I wish it were the favorite place where I often have friends over for casual dinners or coffee-and-a-nosh or movie night. I wish it were the place where people stop in just because they know they can.

And it’s not that I don’t have people over for dinner or coffee or movies. It’s that I don’t do it as often as I wish I did.

And it’s not that people think they can’t just stop in. Even yesterday, when I had ladies over for a fashion show, someone commented how welcome they felt. But I don’t think people would naturally gravitate over when they need a place to land.

I read with green eyes the stories of women who meet up with their four or five best Besties every year and laugh until their sides ache and cry until the tears have gone dry. These are women they have known for years. Women whose babies they have held and put to sleep and given beloved hand-me-downs. Who have stood up at each other’s weddings and attended parents’ funerals no matter where or when.

I don’t know what that feels like. I feel as if there is something wrong with me. And I’m way too old and it seems way too late to get it started now.

Please note: I cannot impress on you enough, my dear readers and lovelies, how dear and important my very best friend is. I will go to the mat for her, be anywhere anytime for her, drop everything when she calls. The bond we have is solid and precious and eternal. This is not about me being friendless.

And I do have a list of lovely souls with whom I share concerns when I need prayer and support – like working through my mother’s aging or when I lost my job.

But when it comes to “circle of friends,” well, that’s another story. When it comes to having a tribe, as they say, that, too, is a foreign concept.

Ummm…evidently, there are days when writing for you becomes writing for me.

When finding the balance in the everyday is more about finding my balance than helping you feel less alone as you find yours.

Welcome to one of those days.

I’m quite sure that writing this all down will help me persevere as I search out true friendships and become a better friend. It will help me continue to figure out what a circle of friends looks like through my eyes, not someone else’s. It will help me be more  content as a Four: The Individualist, sensitive, introspective type. Expressive, dramatic, self-absorbed and temperamental. (Sigh.)

And I know that Kris and I can’t be the only ones who often feel like outsiders.

So, I’ll share these words in the hope they will help you figure out – even in the smallest measure – how you fit in the world of circles, too.

 

Photo by Francisco Galarza on Unsplash

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