So this happened.
In 2016, I got a temp job working for the Bureau of Labor and Industries. I worked front desk there for about six months. During my time there, I met Amanda, who first got my attention because she wore amazing lipstick. I decided I would be her friend. We both moved on from BOLI pretty quickly, and once we were both out, I invited her to lunch.
Because I’ve had some bad luck with friends in the past, I made it a point not to put much pressure on the relationship. We hung out about every six months; we would shop at the MAC counter and/or go to lunch. It worked. It was simple. I’d made a friend. She came to my parties and bought us towels for our housewarming a couple years back.
Last year, I got married. Sweet Trav and I had a simple, Dude-ist ceremony officiated by our friend, Jordan. We needed witnesses, so I asked Amanda. She came with her husband. And she decided her gift to me would be personal training sessions, because that’s what she does now.
We met for sessions a few times, and then Covid happened. We resumed in the summer, masked and distanced. When cases started going up again, we put the sessions on hold. And then we started meeting about once every week or so on my lunch breaks downtown, just to chat and get some (masked, distanced) social time.
Around Christmas, Amanda stopped texting me back as often. I noticed. I brought it up to my husband, and he said “Maybe she’s busy. Don’t think too much of it.” So I tried not to.
But in the past couple of months, I couldn’t shake the feeling. She’d respond to messages eventually, but she wasn’t volunteering anything. She wasn’t asking to meet up, and she wasn’t initiating conversations. Last week I was pretty worried about it, and so Sweet Trav said I should message her. I did. She responded. It seemed fine.
But I still couldn’t shake the feeling. So this morning I sent what was intended to be a lighthearted message, and I got the response you see above.
When I was in California from 2010-2012, I had two parties at my Mom’s, where I was living. Both of them were very well-attended. At the second one, a few people came up to me to tell me that I had awesome friends and sure knew how to throw a party. There are people from that time whom I still talk to, which is nice. But none of them live close by. And I’ve fallen out of touch with most of them. I’ve been written off by a few of them, too.
The past eight years have been awful for friendships. In March, 2013, my sister-in-law (who was also one of my best friends,) cut me off very suddenly and said a bunch of terrible things to me while doing it. We were living together at the time, so I moved out as quickly as I could. My brother also stopped talking to me for awhile, but I’d gotten pretty used to that by that point.
In May 2013, I moved in with my friend Dee, which was pretty much a disaster. I couldn’t keep a job, and I had trouble paying rent. In August of 2013, one of her friends said he’d replace my brakes and I’d only have to pay for the parts. I drove over to where he lived, and as soon as he got the wheels off my car, he started trying to extort more money from me. On the way to the ATM so I could take out cash to pay for the new brakes, he told me that someone had once refused to pay him for his work, and he’d cut that person’s brake line. I was freaked out. I gave him another $40, which I had to call my mother to have her send to me. He wanted an extra $200 or so. Over the next few weeks, he kept trying to intimidate me into giving him more money. I refused. And on Friday, September 13th, my brakes failed on the highway at 50mph, and I steered my car into a ditch so as not to hit anyone else. I’m pretty sure that this friend-of-a-friend tried to murder me. I was lucky that my only injuries were from trying to get out of the car, which had flipped onto the driver’s side. Love that Volvo engineering.
(Dee treated me like I was crazy for thinking her friend had tried to kill me, even when I told her he’d bragged about doing it before. When I confronted him about it a few years later, right in front of Dee, he said “I don’t want to talk about that.” Apparently that didn’t make much of an impression on her, either.)
Eleven days after the car accident, on September 24th, I lost my job, and on the 25th I checked myself into a psych facility because all I wanted to do was die. I spent the next few months in a hell of unemployment and (catastrophically) failed medications.
In January, 2014, Dee kicked me out. Someone else took me in. That was a disaster, too.
I hooked up with my husband, Sweet Trav, in July, 2014, and we’ve pretty much lived together ever since. My housing is finally stable, but I haven’t really succeeded in making new friends. Some of his friends like me. But if we got a divorce, he’d get them in the split.
Amanda was the first person in a long time I’d made friends with all on my own.
My heart is broken. I’ve spent the past hour or so googling “why don’t people like me” and “how to make friends.” It’s pathetic.
I know that there are parts of me that could use a bit of a polish. I tend to talk too much when I’m nervous, and I’m almost always nervous. When people tell stories I have a tendency to say ME TOO and then elaborate, and some people feel like I’m one-upping or talking over them. I’m working on that. My humor can be abrasive, but I’ve toned it way back. Former coworkers who I considered friends dropped me without telling me why. I feel unlovable. I don’t trust anyone not to turn their back on me or ghost me, because it’s happened so many times now.
Last week I told Travis that there’s a voice in my head that says “nobody likes you, and they’re right.”
Having a hard time shaking that feeling today.