There seems to be a trend on Facebook where people post some sort of status update or solicitation for recommendations that is followed by the clause, “…asking for a friend.” Yesterday afternoon as the wild winds whipped through town and a dreary, cold rain pelted down in angled sheets, I found myself feeling especially lonely and forlorn. After work, as I scrolled through my Facebook news feed attempting to relax, I encountered the usual handful of this type of post. The pattern I’ve noticed is that there seems to be an element of possible humor or bizarreness to the answers, but not necessarily the question, though admittedly, I don’t always read them all that carefully. Yesterday, my reaction to them was simply this: I hope someday to have enough good friends that I can’t handle their problems or lack the resources to offer them advice or support so that I’d need to cast a wide net of assistance via a question posed to my Facebook network. Indeed, when I scrolled through yesterday, all I thought was, “Wow, I’m missing out on this,” this being “normal” friendships I guess. And then I felt just a little bit sadder and a whole lot lonelier. What I do know is the friends who do stick around, I hold so close to my heart and I try my best to be what they need, whether that be someone to laugh with, someone to cheer them up when they’re down, someone to offer advice when requested, or just someone to check in with them to remind them that they are loved and cared for. I’m far from the best “do something together with” friend, but I hope the people that consider me their friend feel my presence and role as a friend in other ways: through communicated support, encouragement, compassion, and readiness to do what I can for them.
Yes, maybe someday I’ll have to post a request with the clause “asking for a friend.” Today, I’ll keep working on being a good listener with a nonjudgmental open heart for my friends and continue practicing social skills and putting myself out there with the goal of building new friendships. Loneliness is a heavy burden to bear and a cold wind on a chilly day. I don’t wish it upon anyone, although I know it is a feeling shared rather universally among humans. I guess my hope is that someday, I’ll find myself in a place where I more readily feel the presence of my relationships outside of family. I often feel like I’m the chaser, constantly checking in with my friends and letting them know that I’m thinking of them and care about them. There’s little that’s quite as heartwarming to me as when someone takes the reins and initiates that interaction with me. Perhaps it’s me though. I had a friend that said I was “so annoying” by always reaching out via text to see how she was doing. That shocked me and deeply saddened me because it was the complete opposite of my intended goal of being a caring friend. It just made me realize that yet again, I have so far to go in understanding relationships and attaining what I consider social fluency. I can guarantee that my heart is in the right place; maybe my neurodiverse brain is wired totally backwards in the friendship realm. I certainly can’t fault my desire, as it’s there in its often painfully high levels. Someday, maybe, I’ll find a way to rewire my circuits or recode my programs so that I become the friend others are hoping for.