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Addicted to friendship

Since my friends ghosted me, I can’t enjoy anything by myself.

Give yourself time to adjust to getting older, says our elder. You’ll soon make new – and real – friends.

 

Dear EWC

I (19, m) am unsure as to how to deal with this problem. I recently (about a year ago) made some friends that I thought were close. We would game or talk at night, and we would never go a week without talking to each other. But recently (about a month ago) they ghosted me. I’m not going into the details or who was right or wrong, that’s not what I’m asking for advice about. I realized after being ghosted that I needed to focus on myself. I wanted to take time for myself and that’s also what all the advice on the internet said. But that’s where my problem comes in. So basically, to ‘focus on myself’ I tried many things. I tried picking up art, coding, and investing. I ran outside, watched shows that were on my backlog, and tried the single player games that were collecting dust. 

But, I just can’t enjoy anything. Every time I try something, I just feel so bored. I keep thinking how much more fun this would be if I had someone to try it with me. I realized I haven’t enjoyed single player games since I became friends with them either. Even weightlifting, the one thing that was my habit and something I did alone 99 percent of the time, is becoming more and more boring. I just can’t enjoy anything for myself anymore. I feel a deep urge or need to have friends with me or otherwise it won’t be fun. Or I think I’m wasting my time because no one is validating what I do. I know the general advice when relationships go south is to focus on yourself. 

But the issue I need advice on is that I literally can’t enjoy anything by myself so how do I even start focusing on myself? The only thing I can do is lay down and listen to music and stop thinking. I don’t think it’s depression as I’m not sad, and I can still do daily tasks and work without an issue, without feeling drained. And like I said earlier, I reflected and realized this issue was present when I was with my friends too. Lastly, the feeling of boredom goes away only when I’m with someone else, in the time from being ghosted to now those ‘someone else’ have only been my family, but when I stop talking with them the boredom returns and I can’t focus on things myself. TLDR: I feel empty and directionless without friends. It was fine when I was with them, but now that I have no friends again, I decided to focus on building myself. However, I can’t enjoy anything or feel content with doing new things or working on myself anymore. Reflecting on myself, I seemed to have this issue for a long while now. I feel that I am only alive when I have someone to be with. I really want to enjoy the time with myself and grow but I just can’t feel good being alone with myself and I don’t know what to do. I only feel good when there is someone with me, which is why I wrote the title as if I have an addiction.

 

Kathy replies

It’s great that you have taken time to reflect on your life, and your friendships.  Nineteen is kind of a tough age, you’re coming out of your teenage years and beginning to feel much more like an adult. When we are young we have lots of friends, we see almost everyone our age as a friend. As we get older life gets more complicated, people change and we become more discerning about friendships. It is a natural progression in friendships. Sometimes we start seeing the choices some friends make as ones we wouldn’t make, we become more sure of our own values and morals. Friends are important to have but as you get older your circle of really good, trusting friends becomes smaller. We also learn to rely on ourselves more and begin to have more confidence in our own judgment. This is all normal and is part of becoming a mature adult.

From what you have written you are worried you are addicted to friendships and don’t enjoy doing things by yourself. In my opinion you are going through a life transition. As you get older there will be more such occurrences. One day you may get married or live with a partner, have children, maybe move to a new area, etc.. These are all life transitions. It is sometimes difficult to go through these transitions because they usually bring change to our lives. These are also the times we grow as people and usually become more confident in our abilities to handle the changes that life brings our way.

There is nothing wrong with wanting to do things with friends; none of us wants to do everything by ourselves. It is sometimes hard to do things by ourselves when we are used to doing them with friends. When I was young the thought of going to a movie or dining out by myself seemed horrible. When I moved to a new area of the country and hadn’t made any friends yet, I wouldn’t go to a movie by myself even if I really wanted to go. One day I really wanted to see a movie that recently came out, so I decided to just go by myself. I went and it was so much better than I thought it would be. Yes, I would have rather seen it with a friend, but I still enjoyed the movie and felt really good about myself. 

Give yourself time to adjust to getting older and becoming more mature. In the next few years you will begin to make some of those really good friendships that will last and realize that if you have two or three good friends you are lucky. You will also begin to enjoy your own company more and become more self-reliant. Be patient with you, things will get better!

Article #: 477204

Category: Self-Improvement

 

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