Everybody has a few toxic traits and i decided to actually identify my own so i could work on them
Growing up, i was raised by a single mother and i was an only child. She was very protective of me. I hardly had any sleep overs or play dates with other kids. So naturally i thought thats how it is. I’m not supposed to visit or meet friends outside of school settings. Being an introvert, the only friends i had were those extroverts bold enough to visit me and reach out to me. This left me with hardly any friends and alot of time spent alone. Spending so much time alone made me socially anxious and it made it difficult to make friends and reach out to people.
Even the friends i had i always felt uncomfortable with the fact that they’d always visit and reach out first which made me push them away in hopes that they would distance themselves and i wouldn’t have to deal with the embarrassing fact that I couldn’t visit them. I felt bad about my lack of effort. This went on for a really long time. Way into high school.
At this point i unconsciously made no effort to maintain relationships (wonder who i expected to maintain them for me before. Lol ). I suppose i just got fond of being by myself. This, i think, led to me getting into some very sketchy friendships.
Just to talk of one, I once had a friend who was so good to me, checked up on me and was always there when i needed her (for a limited amount of time, that is). She was really nice, helpful and kind up until i realized she was only doing this to make me put my guard down. A few months later she literally stole all my belongings (i was in boarding school at the time) and as i would have never suspected her i was dancing with the devil asking her to help me figure out who and how my stuff was all stolen from up under me.
Anyways these experiences made me even more closed out and introverted than i already was but i was lucky enough to meet my best friend who has been amazing to me for 10 wonderful years.
But even with my best friend the underlying habits of not putting in the effort and not checking up on people still lingered which made the friendship somewhat one sided sometimes. As life would have it, she was understanding and would just talk to me about it making me realize and work towards being better. Believe me when i say this is actually hard for me.
I have lost many friends along the way simply because of this. In my head i say i know how to receive love and care but I don’t really know how to give it. And for many months i have been rocking my brain as why I’m like this.
When i arrived in college, i spent so much time alone up until this amazing person came and forced their way into my heart with their joy and laughter. We have alot in common and i too would have been able to initiate the first conversation or reach out but I didn’t. Somehow in the back of my mind (maybe resultant of spending so much time alone when i was younger) i am comfortable with the idea of being alone forever.
Because anything else would mean getting out of my comfort zone and reaching out to people then actively maintaining the relationship
Lucky for me she reached out, and thank God she did because she has been one of the best things about college over the years.
So far i could say i have 4 friendships that are functional in my life and now i am working towards being better with them and making some more
Being alone has always been appealing to me but is it really?
I had this great plan of a Solo life up until i met someone I’d call the love of my life (sadly we’re no longer together) in 2015.
I told him this perfectly schemed plan of wanting to be alone forever and he had me rethink it with one question ..
“Would you want to sit by the front porch, on a weekend when you’re 80, ALONE, with no one to laugh with about all the hurdles, achievements and memories you’ve shared over the years?”
It didn’t seem so bad but it got me thinking, if i have kids, they’d be busy with their own lives. We as humans desire companionship. I’d be the lady that just sits alone day after day until the next doctors appointment?
Anyways, we dated for some time and I learnt a-lot from him but also a-lot about myself. He was a free giver of love n I’m a receiver. The dynamics were perfect. And that was the problem. At the end of the day he also needed to receive love and i was doing the bare minimum. I didn’t stop to appreciate the love he was giving or even find out how to love him properly. I fell short and he couldn’t keep up.
If i could have done things differently I’d say I appreciate you more, I’d try be the one to send the good morning and good night texts first. I’d be the one to suggest we meet or go out or do stuff. I’d call to just check up and not just expect to be called. Basically I’d try to be the kid that visited my friends a lot more than they visited me. And I’d learn to be okay with being that friend because I’d know I’m doing it cause i love and care for them and i want them to know it.
There’s lots of things i need to work on moving forward but I’m glad i can sit and think about these behavioral patterns and point out how they came about and how to productively work on being better.
If you notice a pattern with yourself that you think isn’t helpful, look at it from the people around you’s point of view.
Would you be happy if you were at the receiving end of your behavior?
My friends have probably thought i do it coz I’m too proud to reach out or I don’t care enough to check on them but they don’t see how much I’m struggling with it too. Its not something i want but somehow i grew up and found myself strongly wired this way. Unlearning and teaching yourself something is so important yet so challenging
But I’m willing to do the hard work and i hope you are too
Let me know in the comments below one of the behaviors you found in yourself that you don’t necessarily like and would like to work on
Keep trying to be better ❤️