I’m that friend who never reaches out. The one everyone complains that they have to put all the effort in to maintain friendships with, who always bails, always forgets.
I’ve come to terms with it. My way of communicating is jubilant but fleeting. It is a text message saying “HELLO, I LOVE YOU” with an oath of your greatness but rarely is it followed by a genuine “we should hang out soon!”. Not because I don’t want to hang out. I do. I’m just that person who never knows how they’re going to be feeling and most days I just cannot fathom choosing to be social.
This is not because I don’t like people. I love people. I love the distraction, the silences, the laughter, the expressions and confessions and everything else that comes with human interaction. Often, though, my life is so busy that I do not get time to have these moments within myself – the silences, the confessions, the awareness.
I am lonely. Or very close to it. So I never call to hang out. I believe it was Rupi Kaur who said “Loneliness means you are in desperate need of yourself” and holy shit is that ever true. But when you live in a life full of people, it can be easy to carry on that way. Talk to hundreds of people at work, come home to my roommate and boyfriend, have people coming over at least 3 nights a week, yoga class at least 4 times. Even just living in a neighbourhood where people know you gives the feeling of never truly being alone when you can’t walk down the street without getting a hello.
My life is so full of everything, except for me. It’s true, what Rupi said, that when I feel lonely and want the attention of other people, that is when I have the time alone – when I need it. That is when I need to be relishing in the fact that I am worth spending my own time with. And this is why I don’t call. Because at the end of the day, it is not that I don’t want to see you my dear friends, it is that I need to take some time to get to know myself. To listen to my own needs and wants. To read, drink tea slowly, to stretch into my own desires.
Even as I write this my roommate is waking up and starting her day and for the next couple of hours, again I will not be alone. It’s hard to make time when I don’t know what time I will have for myself. I can’t call you when I am by myself because then I am deflecting the loneliness. I am trying not to acclimatize to my solo situation. When I feel fear at just my own company – whether it be because I am not productive, I am guilty for it, or simply because I just don’t know what to do with myself – these are the times I need to learn to be alone.
So for all that I do not call, do not see often, do not hear from me frequently – I am sorry I don’t call. It is because I am lonely.
Written by Forest Greenwell