On Friendship and Solitude

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Growing up, making friends was never easy for me. I enjoyed my solitude and doing my own thing in my own way. I found out recently that I’ve always been that way. Even as a baby and toddler I didn’t interact with other children or people and always seemed to be in my own little world.

I made my first friend when I was 7 or 8 years old. The memory I have of that is sitting alone on a low wall during break time, eating my lunch and watching the other kids play. Then Christina came. I didn’t know her, and think it was the first time I saw her. She gave me a sweet, or something like that, and the rest is history. I can’t remember much about our friendship, only that it was short. My family moved and I started at a new school the following year.

It’s still not easy for me to make new friends. I meet someone and we get along. Or so it seems. I automatically think then that we’re friends, only to find out a little while later that that wasn’t the case. I’ve always had the habit of rushing into a friendship (or romantic relationship for that matter) and go all in, only to discover that they had only needed me for something. It’s my own fault though. I would try to be the perfect friend. Always paying for things (even though I couldn’t afford it), giving them compliments and plenty of “feel good” words, and going out of my way for them. But I would get drained, never quite seeming to get anything I needed. Once I slowed down and they discovered they weren’t going to get quite as much as they used to with me, they would disappear.

These days I’m better at setting and maintaining boundaries. Earlier this year, I walked away from a few friends that were only causing me anxiety, anger, and heartache. Since then I’m more careful about who I let into my life, and how much I give to others.

I’ve always tended to make friends with those much older than me. As a child and adolescent I would spend most of my time with my grandmother during the school holidays. Watching something on TV, listening to the radio, baking, watching her knit, etc, while the children were playing outside. Their games didn’t interest me much.

Here’s the thing. I’m more than happy in my own company, doing those things I enjoy. It’s very rare that I actually get bored. I’m a life-long student and enjoy learning about psychology, animals (especially dogs), science and technology. With the internet, TV and library, there’s a never ending amount of study material available. Then there’s of course things like writing, reading, movies, and series. If I don’t get enough time to do all these things I burn out very quickly. So for me balance means 80% of time spent on my own, and only 20% with others.

Solitude is a beautiful thing, so I don’t understand how some people can constantly want to be around others and get bored when they’re alone. But, they probably feel the same way about me. How can I actually enjoy being alone? And that’s the beauty of being human. No two people are perfectly alike. Nor should we be.

6 thoughts on “On Friendship and Solitude

  1. I get you with me liking my own time and space. But I jave come across too those who think, don’t you get lonely, or bored?
    I was once asked in a surprising tone a question when they knew I was going on holiday, they would say “you’re going alone?” followed by “won’t you get bored?” when I say yes, I am going alone.
    My response to their bored question would be, “what do you think I do when I am on holiday. Sit in my hotel room all the time? How do you get bored when you go out and do, or see things, while on holiday.”
    I find it’s because they are usually the ones that would find it difficult to do things alone.

    I think people like us that can do things alone and like our own company have an advantage, because if you ever was in a relationship and you lost your other half, you know you can live alone, because you did it before.
    I have seen couples that have only known one thing and that’s living with their other half since moving out of their parents. Some of these cannot contemplate the idea of living alone when their other half is no longer around.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. drgeraldstein

    Sounds like you possess a great gift: finding the world, internal and external, a fascinating place. Which suggests that those who might be good friends for you would share in that delight.

    Liked by 2 people

    • I’m lucky in that my best friend of 24/25 years enjoys it when I rattle off facts and teach her about these things as well. She asks questions and seems to love learning through me. I’ve yet to find someone who does these things for themselves and thoroughly enjoys it too though. But that would be fun. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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