I’m pretty sure friendship is impossible.
In the first place, I have had, in my entire life, only one deep relationship where I felt like the other person cared as much as I did. It wasn’t until I got to college that I had a best friend who also considered me her best friend. And that was a really important friendship to me, while it lasted.
My late twenties and early thirties have been increasingly dominated by feelings of isolation. I have a handful of friends who I used to be really close with, but now rarely see or talk to; and though we still have a great time when we get together, we don’t have very much in common.
I desperately need friends. I am very much an introvert, but I also need connections with other people. I need alone time, but I also need other people around, and I guess the real problem is that I need them to be really easy to access because my social anxiety almost completely cripples my ability to reach out. I grew up in a large family, and even when I moved out of the dorms in college, I still had five roommates. I went to church regularly until I was 25, and because I was Mormon, church provided a detailed structure for my entire life.
Now, I’m not in school anymore. I’m not religious anymore, and I don’t live with family. I work part-time, and I live in a state where I feel completely out of place, so it’s even more difficult to make friends. I no longer have the kind of friends who keep in touch on a daily basis—the only people who text me are members of my immediate family, and when I do see my friends, it’s once every two or three (or six or seven) months. I am so fucking lonely.
I’ve spent the past seven or eight years racking my brain, trying to think of lapsed friends I could get back in touch with. At this point, I think it’s time to acknowledge that those friendships aren’t going to happen—which leaves me the option of making new ones. The thing is, I can’t imagine how to do it.
All the aforementioned reasons I am lonely are also reasons it is incredibly difficult for me to make new friends. I am intensely private and insecure; I was bullied all through my childhood, and I’m basically a super-minority in terms of things other people enjoy. I don’t like sports, I don’t like reading romance or thrillers, I don’t like movies about white men shooting everything. I’m a liberal in Texas, an atheist in the U.S., a feminist in patriarchy. I don’t open up to someone until they’ve shared enough with me that I feel they are safe, and unlikely to reject me once they find out who I really am. And the only way for that to happen is for me to be around people a lot, for a long time.
The thing is, also, I have a lot of quirks and weirdness that may be part of my personality, or may be related to anxiety and depression. I have a deep need to find friends who are like me, who love the same things I love and hate the same things I hate. I have friends who don’t really read, and though I like them a lot as people, there is just only so much I can feel connected to them. I have friends who are politically moderate/conservative, and though we have a ton else in common, we can’t really talk about a lot of important things. I have friends who read the same books I do, but are also super into sports, so there are several months of the year when I just roll my eyes and scroll past everything they post on Facebook. I love these friends, and I love to hang out with them. But they don’t fill the space I need filled.
I need friends for whom reading is a natural part of life, who never say the words “I wish I could find the time.” We all experience the same number of hours per day, it’s just some people do different things in them. I need people who can’t imagine books not being part of regular life.
I need friends who swear, or don’t cringe when I do. I just can’t fully take seriously an adult who complains about “language” in a book or movie. It’s how people talk, okay? They’re just words.
I need friends who don’t wear a full face of makeup, who don’t get their nails done outside of special occasions, who don’t shave or wax their legs. I need women in my life who prefer to just exist the way we exist.
I hate to say it, but I need friends who are done reading YA. I am not the kind of asshole who thinks adults should be embarrassed to read it—I’m just over it myself, for right now, personally.
I need friends who are sick of movies, because why are they all about racist, sexist stereotypes and cliches? It’s been a long time since I was able to get excited about a movie, and I hate how hard it is to explain that to people.
I need friends who are or have at some point been bigger than a size 8, because (1) empathy and (2) god, sometimes you just need to be able to not see yourself directly in comparison to someone else.
I need friends who drink, because I really like drinking—but I also need friends who can’t afford, physically or financially, to stay out until four a.m.
I need friends who are interested in things, who like to learn things, who don’t treat me like some kind of exotic alien because I do geography quizzes and watch anime and study languages and memorize the periodic table.
I need friends who aren’t pushy, who are skeptics, who don’t try to make me Think Positive or sell me on their newest Life-Changing Belief. I especially need friends who don’t ask me to push something for them. Yes, I will like your business’s Facebook page; no, I won’t share it with everyone I know. I’m not a sales person.
I need friends who are liberal, feminist, and atheist—at least agnostic. These are all places I have reached through a lot of personal growth, and I can’t start back at zero with someone else. I need people who’ve already made it there.
I need friends who honestly, genuinely don’t judge people for all the shitty reasons most people judge people. I need friends who don’t make assumptions about people based on one tiny piece of information, don’t shame parents for not being super-robots, don’t mock people’s clothes or hairstyles. I know we’re not perfect, and yeah, sometimes I’m shitty, too. I need friends who are aware when they’re being shitty, instead of trying to justify it.
I don’t understand why I need such intense compatibility. It’s an INFJ thing, so I know I must not be the only one. But that doesn’t help, because even though another INFJ might understand how specific my needs are, what are the odds that they would match them?