Let me tell you about my social struggles

I always feel lonely. I’ve always thought that part of the reason why is because I’m an introvert, but I’m not sure anymore. It’s not that I don’t have friends, its just that none of them are invested in me enough to know the me behind the façade I put up. I’m always a mutual. A few reasons why I’m a mutual: I don’t open up easily, all my friends have best friends, I don’t have a life, I’m a good listener, I’m too cautious.

Not opening up easily is something that I found out recently from a friend of mine while I was taking a survey and one of the questions was “is it difficult to get to know you?” obviously that isn’t a question that I can answer without being biased so I asked her. She responded “yes, you don’t open up easily. you are very reserved.” I wasn’t really shocked because I know that I’m not very open but I think it’s just hard for me to adapt to the way things are in society these days. I was brought up being told that I shouldn’t tell people too much about me because that puts me in a vulnerable state; at least that’s how I remember my parents saying it. I’m always shocked when while standing in line at the local Wal-Mart, people turn to talk to me and within five minutes, I know how many children they have, their marital problems, where they live and what they will be having for dinner that night. I generally don’t say much to strangers but I always lend an ear. Lending an ear has it’s repercussions because then people only reach out to me when they need advice about something, and that’s not true friendship. Sometimes I’m the one who needs an ear to listen, but I guess I don’t do a very good job of voicing that to people. I recognize that that might be where I fail in the communication aspect within the relationships I have with people.

With all my friends having best friends, the problem is that I’m always the girl in the middle. None of the people in the group knows much about me, just enough for me to be part of the group. Problem arises when I need a friend because who do I talk to? are any of them really close enough for me to talk to? do I trust them? will they judge me? will my secret be safe with one or will the information spread to everyone else? do I just tell them all and hope for the best? So what generally ends up happening is, I tell a little bit of something to each person and leave it at that. I still get some opinions, or advice except its from different people with different perspectives. Note that I rarely if ever discuss such things anymore because it gets tiring to tell snippets of stories to every person separately.

I don’t have a life. This is the big one. I was brought up by parents who sheltered me but it was partly because we lived in different foreign countries and there’s always insecurity when you don’t live in a place you consider home. Sleep overs weren’t allowed when I was growing up, even when I was in high school, I didn’t get to go to all the dances, hanging out with friends was a rare occurrence and when you don’t attend many social gatherings, you end up being an outcast because you end up not understanding most of the jokes in conversations and people get bored of talking to you when you keep asking “wait, I didn’t hear! when did that happen?” People also stop asking you what you are doing this weekend because they know the answer will be the same “nothing.” So sooner or later, you find yourself binge watching shows on Netflix all weekend and hearing about social events only through social media.

The second part of me having no life is that I have a fear of my parents that I cant manage to overcome. I have never been a straight A student, they set such a high bar when it comes to what they expect from me that I almost always disappoint them, and they are stuck on constantly constructively criticizing me that the only encouragement I get is from the outside world such as my professors, friends, and even strangers. There are certain rules that my parents set when I was young and they never changed throughout my life (as you can already tell, my parents don’t change their minds easily) and it was either you follow them or get punished and I learned very early in life that punishments aren’t fun. Problem was that the rules were against hanging out with my friends unless they approved of them which included asking them what they wanted to do in the future with their lives, and looking at the kind of company they kept and such. Asking to do extra-curricular activities was also not allowed because it was my duty to watch my sister when I got home from school (since they were at work) and that was a responsibility that I couldn’t get out of. I appreciate that my parents work so hard but that leaves me and my sister with nothing but rules which aren’t very beneficial when it comes to our interpersonal growth as individuals who have to someday move out and live independent lives. What my parents don’t realize is that we are not in the same era that they grew up in, in this day, you are expected to be well trained to survive in the real world by the age of 18 so how can they expect me to be good at everything now if I was never trained for any of it? Practice makes perfect as they say. Its almost like being thrown into a pool and being expected to learn how to swim, some people learn that way, but others drown. My parents think that as long as you do good in school, everything else will fall into place, but you have to have other skills in order to lead a well rounded and successful life. Overwhelmed and confused is how I walk around feeling.

Due to being brought up the way I was with so many rules, I have grown to be too cautious and this pushes people away more than all the other things. The older you get, the more risky things you are pre-disposed to; for instance, alcohol, drugs, tattoos, etc. When most of your friends party, drink, do drugs, and have tattoos while you haven’t done either of those things, you are seen as an outcast and it ends up not being fun to hang out with you, so people don’t invite you to places because they assume you may not want to go which most of the time its true anyway. It’s crazy because whenever I’m invited to a party or any event where being out late at night might be a possibility, I always find myself rejecting the offer and making some excuse. I have never admitted that to anyone I know, but I’m sure they would judge me and say that I act as if I’m still 12 when I needed permission from my parents but what they don’t know is, that is something that is instilled me and it is a battle trying to change my mindset because even now, if I walk into my house past midnight I still feel as though my mom will be waiting up to yell at me or ask where I was but in reality, I find my entire family asleep and they don’t even ask any questions the next day and it never ceases to surprise me. Crazy isn’t it?

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