A few months ago I was visiting my boyfriend and we went for a walk after he got home from work. On our walk, he asked me what I did while he was at work and I told him I was working on my blog. Usually, when I tell people I’m working on my blog I really don’t disclose what I’m writing about. It’s almost like I keep it a secret. I post it to social media as a way to share it, but I have never been one to talk about what I was writing or what I was thinking about writing about. On our walk, he asked me what I was writing about and started a conversation with me about topics to write about. It was one of those things that was uncomfortable for me just because I keep a lot of stuff to myself, and I’m still learning how to share with people. That being said, today’s topic was one of his ideas.
In college, I wanted to be friends with all the people. I was involved in a fairly large organization, and I really wanted to know everyone and be friends with all of them. I tried to keep this up through most of college, up until the last semester really. My last semester I started stepping back from this community that carried me through undergrad. Part of my reason for pulling away is that I was utterly overwhelmed and exhausted from trying to maintain so many relationships. I just couldn’t do it anymore. Part of the reason was literally just time. Trying to keep up with 8-10 women who I wanted to be close friends with had become exhausting. I just didn’t have to energy or the time to maintain that many relationships. In addition, my relationships with my family were also challenging. I would go home to spend time with my family and would be so exhausted from all these other relationships that I couldn’t love my family well.
Over the last 2 years, as I transitioned to this working adult life my social life has changed a lot. I learned that I’m not actually an extrovert, and am quite introverted. My relationship with my family has gotten better. I actually have time and energy to call my parents. The friendships I’ve maintained are life-giving, loving, and supportive.
I’m grateful for the variety of people that I got to know through college, and the many lessons I learned. I am also grateful that I now have fewer friendships that I strive to maintain.
This week I encourage you to evaluate what relationships look like in your life? Are you trying to maintain an unrealistic number of relationships? Are you sacrificing your well-being for the sake of keeping up all of these relationships?
The people you regularly keep up with should be people who allow for you to be yourself, who love you well, who allow for you to be vulnerable, who help you grow. The effort to keep up with each other should be shared. The reason some of my best friends are my best friends is because we both make an effort to keep up with each other.
It’s okay to have people you only see a few times a year and other people you see every week or so. College is such a special time in life where we have a lot of time to invest in relationships with a lot of people.
I wanted to talk about this because I think there is so much pressure to be friends with all the people and do all the things. I wanted to tell that it’s okay. It’s okay to not be friends with all the people. It’s okay to not to do all the things. It’s okay to turn down an invite to a social gathering in exchange for your book or your bed + netflix. It’s okay to take time to recharge. We live in a culture that says extrovert is best and is designed to support extroverts and essentially ends up exhausting introverts (as I’m learning from my most recent book Quiet by Susan Cain).
Love the people you love, like the people you like. Don’t sacrifice the person that you are for the sake of appeasing people, in the end, it’s not worth it.
Love yourself. Care for yourself.