I didn't get much sleep last night. I left early, hoping to pick up a coffee for the long day ahead. Went to submit a mobile order for pick. Out at this location. "Bleh." I thought. I'll head to the other location. As I made my way in and our of traffic rushing to get across a town. I finally arrived. Alas, to my dismay, the line had 10 cars waiting to order. I didn't have time for that and off I went to drop the kids off at daycare. As I left the parking garage, now on my way to work, I decided to stop by a local coffee shop and pick up something.
To my delight, my favorite barista was working today. Giving me a "Hey! Long time no see!" and ringing up my usual they got to work brewing up my large mocha with caramel and whip. When I asked "How have you been?"
"Oh, I'm good. I'm doing 'Friendsgiving' tonight with some friends."
It was at that moment I felt my mind pull backwards and memories from the last ten years flooded me. Remembering when I would go and celebrate 'friendsgiving' with people who were close to me. Remembering weddings I had attended or birthday parties at friends' homes. Going out for pool and drinks. Mug Wednesdays ending with pizza and gaming at someone's apartment. The warm nights and laughs with friends. As my memory came closer to the present, those memories thinned out. The cast of attendees dwindled until there were no recent memories to recall.
"Ahh, that's nice. I used to do that with my friends." My voice is genuine, but a little sad.
"Well, you still could, right?" My face must have given me away because a second later they said. "Or, maybe not?"
Looking down at the counter, I just smiled before I replied.
"You know how a group of friends always ends up with that one person who everyone asks "why is this person in our friend group?"?"
I looked back up at them as they poured my coffee into its cup.
"I'm pretty sure I am that person."
"Oh. That's some...self awareness." They replied pouring the cream to add a splash of latte art before piling on the whipped cream.
Which started me on a path of self reflection once again. I made a few posts about this on Instagram this morning. Talking very shortly about it via 2 story posts. Despite 'getting it off my chest' it's continued to roll around in my head all day. I wanted to take a minute to try and exercise it out of my brain.
You might think "Why do you feel like you're unwanted in your friend group?" and let's go through why my mind feels like this is true.
Up until the last year or so I was friends with these folks on social media. I was in group chats with them as well. Any time I messaged my messages would be ignored, forgotten, or just stepped over. If anyone else messaged though, everyone replied immediately. For a while, I never let it bug me. Until I started to see pictures or hear stories of how everyone got together. Or celebrated a wedding, or whatever other major event you'd typically want your friends at. Only, they did have their friends with them. I just wasn't someone they saw as one. And I started to just line the pieces up. Everyone knew when x person was moving away because they told them all. I was told 2 days before hand. Another friend transitioned and celebrated renewing their vows/remarrying with their partner and everyone got together to celebrate. Only, I wasn't invited and only knew about it after a social media post was made.
"Well, I'm sure not everyone was invited." You might think.
But everyone was invited, except for me. That hurts, you know? It hurts to know you're the outcast, or the unwanted person. To think back on your friendships and think "was this a good memory for us? Or was it good to me, and just really annoying to them?" And then everything feels dishonest and fake.
Now, let me say this next. These people do not owe me anything. They're not bad people because I was excluded, left out, not thought of, or just unwanted. They're good people who lead lives where they just want happiness and love like anyone else. This blog post isn't a "here's 10 reasons why my friends suck" or whatever. I'm just listing out events and saying how they made feel. So again, they're all good people. It just became obvious to me they moved on in life and didn't want me to be a part of it. They didn't and don't want me there. And that's okay. It's okay they don't want to be my friends any more. It's okay they don't want me.
It still hurts though. I'm allowed to feel hurt and sad. These people were really important to me for a long time. It's why I always reached out, checked in, sent messages, tried to game with or get together. And for awhile it gave the benefit of the doubt that they just don't text much. They're busy. They had a long day. ADHD probably distracted them and they just forgot to get back to me. But when I saw them making plans together, getting together, going out, and living life with one another present. That's where it became obvious. I wasn't wanted and, really, I never belonged in the first place. I was the friend that everyone wondered "why is this guy even here?".
I don't want anything from them. I just hope they're happy and leading good lives. But inside, for me, it hurts. I feel lonely and part of seeing all these connections now I knew I was alone all this time. But held out hope it was just a misunderstanding on my part. I was being "too emotional" as some them used to tell me.
It's okay to be upset.
It's okay to hurt.
It's okay to feel lonely.
It's okay to not be okay.
Part of why I wrote this piece is that I always want to normalize the conversation of emotional and mental health. We need to remember we can, and should, talk about these things.
I am sad and lonely today as I realize I really don't have any IRL friends left around me. Which leaves me feeling so extremely alone. It's okay to feel that way. I'll be okay. But today, it's okay to not be okay.