I know a lot of people and am generally quite social but there are only a few people I’d call close friends. It takes a lot for me to feel like I’m really close with someone because I’m a naturally private person who doesn’t trust much or let many people really know me. Even with my close friends, I’m more of a listener than a sharer. The people who know stuff about me are usually people that ask or go digging for it as I won’t usually naturally volunteer much more than superficial information about myself.
I’m also very easily turned off by people, which is a pretty big flaw of mine. The smallest thing will make me go from really liking someone and making an effort to be their friend to never wanting to see them again. In 99.9% of cases, it’s totally me overreacting to some non-issue but nonetheless the feelings are there and it’s very hard for me to turn them off, even when I know they’re irrational.
To make matters worse, I’m not very comfortable in big groups. I’ll rarely accept an invitation to a big event where I’ll only know one or two people. I tried to force myself to step outside my comfort zone in situations like this a few years ago and, while it wasn’t all bad, there were enough unpleasant ones to make me realise I just wasn’t suited for these types of social gatherings. I’ve missed friends’ hens nights, birthday parties and girls’ nights out because I was terrified of not knowing enough people and/or being that poor sucker following one person around all night.
It’s also a good thing I’m a ‘planner’ (someone who organises get-togethers and social events for my group of friends) because, and as much as I hate to admit it, it lets me control who I hang out with. If someone else was the planner, I would have to hang out with their choice of friends and that would most likely be very unpleasant for me. This actually happens to me occasionally as I have another friend who likes to plan stuff but I generally don’t end up going because she has a totally different friend group and I end up feeling horrendously out of place.
It sounds terrible, I know, but this is my rationale when it comes to these things. I only want to spend time with the people I like. I only want to meet new people on my terms. If I must spend time in a big group, there needs to a critical mass of people already known to me. If these things are not present, I’m usually that anti-social person engrossed in their phone or I’m that person getting super-hammered at the bar to make myself ‘interesting’. And I do hate being that person.
Image credit: Board of Wisdom