When studying 1500 people over the age of seventy the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health found that a strong network of friends made the people in the study 22% more likely to reach the age of 80. Friendship is an extremely subjective thing, which makes it difficult for me to take this study seriously on its face. Even with the subjectivity of something like friendship, I don’t feel it is an extraordinary claim.
Growing up we all learn about needs and wants. When it comes to tangible things it is very easy. Food is a need. Toys are a want. Just like with everything in life things get more complicated as we grow up. The one thing that has had me thinking about this is friendship. I have always viewed friendship as a want. I have felt entitled for thinking I deserve a friend. Humans are social animals though. Should it be this difficult to connect with other people? Even people who I get along with and who seemingly enjoy being around me I cannot connect to in any significant way. A human connection should be natural.
I had several unhealthy friendships growing up. I believe this plays a large role in my struggles of developing new friendships.
Growing up I was always the other friend.
I was the friend who didn’t make waves
I was the friend who did whatever I could to help others
Not because I was a good person
Because I knew people did not want me around.
The one left at home hoping that I was not invited because my “friends” were overzealous and just forgot about me. I don’t know a lot but I know hoping you have been forgotten by people who are supposed to be your “brothers” is not good. I have never had a lot of friends and I never saw that as a problem because I always thought that the few friends I had were always there for me. Looking back I have realized that this was only somewhat true. I can count two times that one friend came through for me when I needed it. Once when I drank too much and he made sure I was safe, another time when I got kicked out of my parent’s house and he let me sleep on the floor of his apartment until I figured things out. These two instances have made my realizations hurt even more because I don’t know which was the true face. The face that had my back when I really needed it or the face that was disrespectful and degrading publically and privately. I have never had a friendship where I felt on equal footing with the other person. I have always wondered what that feels like. It feels blasphemous to even say about the people I have always called my friends. Even how they interacted with each other shows me that I am not off base in saying this.
Why is it that no matter how much effort I put into it I can’t seem to connect to others?