Photo by abee_t via Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by abee_t via Flickr Creative Commons

Have this feeling that I don’t even know if there’s a word for.

I’m not lonely because I don’t mind spending time by myself.

I don’t feel isolated because I know there are people who care about me that I can call on if I need help.

It’s the feeling that people aren’t excited to spend time with you.

And I don’t know why.

I used to think it was because I was annoying or unlikable or broken in some way. But I can honestly say that most of the time I like myself. And I believe others like me because they tell me so, or others say they heard someone say kind things about me. I just don’t seem to make the top of the list. I’m not even upset about it really. For most of my life I haven’t had a lot of friends (if any), so it’s nothing new. I’ve never been popular and I don’t imagine I will ever be so. I’m used to being alone as the default setting of my life.

I just don’t know what to do about it. I don’t want to feel like I’m pushing anyone to spend time with me when they aren’t that interested. I am trying to apply poly ways of thinking to all of my relationships – to let each one find its own level, instead of me letting some predetermined idea about what I want from someone get in the way of what could be. If people have other priorities besides spending time with me, so be it. Life is complicated and there’s only so much time to do everything we want to do.

But I have met several really awesome people since moving to Austin that I’d happily set aside one day a week to spend time with, even to just grab a cup of coffee for an hour. Yet, it seems whenever I try to make plans, if they can’t do any of the first couple options I suggest, more often than not, they don’t suggest an alternative. So after a while, I give up trying because I don’t want to be in a one-sided relationship. I don’t want to be pushy or needy.

I don’t do the vague social “we should hang out” or “we should get coffee” thing. If I say I want to spend time with someone I mean it, but it’s so hard to know whether people are legitimately busy or whether they’re just not terribly invested in spending time with me. I tend to assume the latter. Because we can all make time for what’s important to us, right?

I read an article saying that to avoid this confusing, wishy-washy territory, to say “Fuck yes” or “No” to any relationship or activity. If you can’t be “Fuck yes” about someone or something, just say “No.” But it seems like anyone I would be “Fuck yes” about isn’t “Fuck yes” about me back. I don’t get the sense anyone is terribly excited to spend time with me.

It seems like there will be spurts of time where there is reciprocity and I think I’m getting somewhere, but then it falls off again. I’ve learned to amuse myself over the years, but I wish I had more people to share my life with. I want to go on adventures with people, and to share fun experiences together. People who want to hear how my day went, or to have philosophical discussions with. Or even to just sit beside me while we watch Netflix. Something to feel like I’m connected or a part of something instead of just wandering through life on my own.

Is this why people get married? But I don’t want that exactly. I’m happy being solo poly. I like my space. I just have too much of it a lot of the time. I’d like a little less space. Is it an introvert thing? There just aren’t many people who I would say really know me well at all. I’m not looking for reassurance or pity. I’m not looking for anything. I just don’t know how to make sense of this. It’s been years since I felt like I had a best friend who I was sure was best friends with me back. Even the people I feel emotionally closest to I sometimes rarely see.

I want to have friends who are excited to spend time with me. Who are willing to make room for me in their lives. Am I just going about it the wrong way? Should I try harder? But if I stop initiating the conversation and no one else picks up the ball, then was it ever a relationship to begin with? Is everyone just too busy working to have friends?

Is it just as simple as some people click and some don’t? I know relationships take work, but that work has to come from both sides, too. I’ve had friendships that felt easy and natural at one point, but then somehow things get out of sync. Maybe this is just the trouble of having quality time as a primary love language. If I don’t see someone often, it’s hard to know where I stand. I see my therapist more often than almost all of my friends. Maybe more people would like to spend time with me than I realize, and they just don’t say it. But I wish they would, if it’s true.

Maybe everyone just has too much on their plates. I know that I did for the better part of July. And now that I’m getting my energy back, I feel lost. I don’t know where to begin. I’m tired of small talk and trying to meet people at big events. Tired of having so many acquaintances and so few friends. I don’t do well when I’m relying too much emotionally on one person. But I don’t know how to get my social needs met without feeling like a nuisance.

If you’ve been wanting to spend time with me but you really are just super busy, come on over. I will make us dinner – or breakfast if that’s when you’re free. You’ve got to eat, right? Or we can pick a weekday morning to swim or do yoga. I don’t mind multi-tasking. But if you’re not “Fuck yes” about it, then don’t worry about it. I don’t need more confusing “Maybes” in my life.

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