Benefits of Friendship

Every person in my life who is concerned for my well-being insists that I go out alone and be social on a regular basis.  I understand why they want me to; a person needs to have connections to get by in the world and not lose touch with reality.  Most people have friends already, I haven’t lived anywhere long enough to develop those relationships and my children absorb all my attention and energy, but there is a lot that they are unable to give back.  Adults need adult relationships for a host of reasons that I do not need to list here.  Yet I avoid them because I am broken, and do not feel I have much to offer.   I recognize I need to be social because the longer I keep myself secluded, the less I care to get out, the more difficult it becomes to even fetch groceries. 

It’s a touchy spot for me, because as I’ve mentioned, time and again…  I have some social anxiety.  Big doses of it because I am not entirely able to pay attention to what is said, nor field the questions thrown at me in a manner that I am comfortable with. Simple questions can trigger panic.  Strangers unintentionally pry into areas I am not prepared to cope with right now.  There is the potential to set off a cascade of embarrassing physical reactions if I am pushed too far outside my comfort zone.

I feel I have to practice though, because I will eventually have to work in that world to support my little bunnies.  They are depending on me to get my shit together.  So I try.  I attempt to spend a couple of hours a week in a social environment.  I spend time writing in the coffee shop or library, watching some live music at a local venue, or grab a burger and beer at the neighborhood dive and watch the game on the big screen.  I make myself do things that I once enjoyed, and I try to savor those moments of solitude although my head is constantly drawn back to the current and future wellbeing of my children.  I admit, even though I hope for positive interactions, often most of me does not want to be disturbed.

Making friends is difficult for me. I have very little time; it is a precious commodity in my life. The only thing I have to offer is an occasional compassionate, non- judgmental ear, honest insight, and a good sense of humor. I am helpful, and I share my skills and resources.  But, my heart is still very broken, even feelings of love are very painful to me, therefore, I am guarded and don’t allow myself to be too attached to people so they cannot yank my chain.  I don’t need outsiders messing with my equilibrium, my three little drama queens are enough of a balancing act. They need more than everything I have.

Therefore; I am not looking for a romantic relationship.  I am certain that any good councilor would agree that I am a work in progress. (Thank-you Mr. Williams for all your awesome posts <3) I know that my family and friends hope that Mr. Wonderful is going to swoop in and rescue me and my girls, but my heart can’t hold that sort of hope because my head says, “I don’t want to be rescued.”  It has a tendency to set up a dynamic in the relationship that you are indebted to your partner and I am not for sale.

As soon as people start inquiring about my relationship status, I let them know I am single and have no intentions of changing that.  I know myself and I know I am just not ready; there is too much conflict in my psyche and my life is too chaotic.  I cannot place the burden I carry on someone else’s shoulders and call it love.  I don’t know that I will ever be ready for relationship again, which causes me a great deal of sorrow if I dwell on those thoughts.  I love almost everything about men, and I enjoy having masculine energy and perspective in my life and miss it when it is gone. I am pretty sure that is normal and healthy and doesn’t make me a whore as some people with their own hang-ups like to suggest.  It would be really nice to have a local friend or two so I try to be open to people and opportunities,

Almost immediately upon ascertaining that I am not in the market for a date or a boyfriend, emboldened by the idea that I am single and therefore sexually independent men will propose a FWB- The friend with benefits.  I almost always do not want to have sex with my friends for a lot of good reasons.

  • That sort of intimacy in an ongoing, mutually caring relationship is going to create emotional attachment that I know I can’t handle right now.
  • There is the potential for painful conflict if your source of fulfillment is suddenly removed because your “friend” finds a girlfriend or even a friend they like better.
  • Men get a little of me and then they think they want the whole thing.  I’ve been proposed to more times than I care to mention, I do not care to break hearts any more than I want to have my heart broken.
  • I simply do not have the time or energy to put into that sort of relationship. If I knew I had access to a safe source of good sex I would likely drive the average man (and myself) crazy begging for it.

I tell them it is unlikely as I am content with my self-imposed celibacy. Not that they know what that word means in these parts.  If they persist in wanting my attention knowing I am not a sex positive kind of girl, I assume they understand that there are other benefits to having females in your life and try to leave my self open to further interaction.

Honestly, knowing what I know about myself and other people, if I really needed sex, I would likely be more inclined to seek out a random stranger with whom I had an instant and deep connection when and if the moons were all just right.  I’ve not been single or brave/stupid enough in my life to indulge in much of that sort of reckless behavior.  It would also probably take a couple drinks for me to let my guard down enough for a man to get sufficiently close to subdue me with his mojo.  This is why I don’t go drinking with boys anymore; even friends get courageous after a few beers.  I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings and men get all dejected when I assert myself and defend my boundaries.  It is a mystery to me that they think I am going to change my mind when I already said “no” and gave them logical reasons to support my decision.   Why would I trust a man to respect my naked, vulnerable body when he will not respect my words?

Recent social excursions have once again brought this scenario into my life.  Truth is, this is a world in which a person would reject having a kind-hearted, sincere friend because “sexual benefits” were not part of the package.  It’s not the first time that I have been to that rodeo, and I suspect that it won’t be the last.  I understand that the world is full of people who can justify having sex with anyone.  Sex is just another commodity to trade for things that you want.  It always has been.  Apparently, being sex positive is a more valuable character trait than compassion when seeking out new companions these days.

My family chastise me and say that I attract the wrong men, adding blame to my shame.  I can only work with what is offered, and the good ones run for the hills when they hear I have problems? Children?  A noticeable lack of interest in being rescued by a man?  It’s really all too confusing for me to try to analyze and sort out so I don’t bother. I’m just trying to learn how to live again.

I can accept and shoulder the rejection; I have suffered the ultimate rejection already.  It’s just a few more tears in the bucket.  Yet it stirs up an echoing sadness at my very core for the fallen, selfish state of mankind, making me feel even more alone in this world.