Recently, I got a new friend request on my Facebook. I had not spoken to this person in a while, to the point where I honestly cannot recall the last time we spoke or spent time together. It’s been years. I was very taken aback by this gesture of a friend request. Why now? It’s been years and you just decide to pop up again? Not that either of us did anything to the other, we just lost communication- though if I’m being honest, I had no problem letting it drop.
I had to send a message asking why. I needed to know why this sudden contact, what this person wanted, and why now after all this time has passed. The response I got was a fairly generic “Why not?” As well as a few things like “busy with work” and things like that.
I texted a couple of my friends. One who I had been friends with back at this time as well, so she knew the person but also knew that it’d been years since we’d talked. The other was my best friend, who I’ve only known about a year, but I generally explained the situation. Both of these people did find it odd that this person had reached out to me, but I felt something beyond that.
I started thinking about previous friendships, why they’d ended, and why I did not consider people in my life anymore; and I got to thinking… Am I too guarded? The way I tend to see most sorts of relationships (friendships, family, and romantic) is that once things are done, why pick them up again? I’ve always gone through cycles on Facebook where I’d go through my friends list, think about who I do and do not communicate with, and delete those I hadn’t spoken to in a while. I’ve had this cycle for a LONG time.
Sometimes I would have people immediately add/request me back, and I’d usually add them. If you notice when that happens and try to “correct” that, I guess sometimes I have to give people mental-props for it. For the most part, though, not as many seemed to notice. Or maybe they noticed but didn’t care- whichever.
I guess maybe I should explain a little behind my thought process:
I have always had a difficult time with friendships. I tend to be a more “all or nothing” type of person when it comes to most relationships. Either we are fully friends or we are nothing. I’m not a fan of the “part-time” friendships anymore. I used to have “bar/club friends,” “college friends,” “‘home’ friends,” and “job friends.” Most were kept pretty separate from each other. It gets to be obnoxious though, especially when you are no longer doing whatever activity. Like when I left my longest job, I quickly lost contact with all but one person- and this was a LARGELY employed place. When I left my most recent job? I barely speak to anyone. Mainly if I happen to go into that location. I stopped going to the bar frequently, lost contact with the people I would see there. Stopped going to college, no longer saw or heard from the college friends.
All of this lead to the point that I decided I was no longer indulging in these “situational friendships.” I don’t really make friends at work as much anymore. I have people that I enjoy, people that I talk to, but keep most of my private life separate from work. At one point, I even had my former coworkers tell me they weren’t aware of how many siblings I had, because I rarely mention things.
I used to get very attached to people. Thinking there was friendship in really what was just a friendly coworker relationship, so I’d get sad when I or another “friend” quit, only to never hear from them again. Or a few “we should get together”s that never happen. This seeped into how I viewed regular friendships as well. If a few months had gone by, and I still hadn’t heard from you, or I have 12 messages of “we should get together” that never happened… are we even still friends? Even with family, if I have not seen or heard from you in years, why change it now?
I basically get into this “all or nothing” type of mentality with all of it. Not even mentioning the fact of if we don’t speak and we haven’t been friends in months/years, why would I still want them on my social media, having access to what I am doing, how I am doing, and all of that? It seems very odd to me to keep giving people the in-depth version of my life when we haven’t spoken in a year.
Is it just me? Do other people feel this way? Am I in fact too guarded?
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