Family

I’m not very good at family bonding and stuff.

I’ve been watching Fuller House, which is excellent by the way, delivers exactly what us Full House fans have been wanting, and while I know it’s television and I highly doubt that many, if any, families solve their problems with heart to hearts and hugs on the daily, I still wish that I could say I “hang out” with my family.

I complain about not having friends all the time, but my sister lives right across the hall. We’re ridiculously busy and don’t even see each other every day, but she’s usually awake when I get home at night and I could go sit in her room and talk to her. If I want to see a movie or try a new restaurant I shouldn’t view going with my family as a last resort because I don’t have anyone else, I should be looking to spend time with them first, and then look elsewhere if they’re busy.

People say that friends will come and go, but family is forever, and I used to completely disagree with that because in high school I was a strong believer of “friends are the family we choose” … but here I am, graduated, back in my parents’ house, and where are those friends? (They’re in the same city, actually, frequently hanging out with each other and just have decided I’m not worth their time. But this post isn’t about them).

This morning I had a very interesting conversation with my dad, he was telling me stories about his family when he was younger, and I learned a lot about my grandpa and aunt and uncles that I never even knew. I loved listening to my dad talk about them, he was just lighting up at some of the memories, and that’s when I realized, I don’t think I have ever asked my dad about my grandpa. I knew that he died before I was born, and that was really it, it never crossed my mind to learn about him as a person.

I have a half sister, and I don’t talk about her much because we really don’t get along, and I think that makes my dad sad and I don’t want to make him sad. But I saw her last weekend, and while we still didn’t get along super great and she kind of annoyed me, my mom pointed out that it was probably very hard for her because while my cousin was telling stories from when my other sister and I were little, my half sister wasn’t there for those, so she kept telling stories from when before we were born, and my cousin claimed he was too small to remember half of those, and things got kind of tense and awkward so the storytelling ended.

But I guess my point is that I know my dad had a whole other marriage and kid and life before my mom and my sisters and I, and by not talking or asking about that it somehow makes it seem taboo, or wrong. But it’s not, that’s just the way that things turned out. So in the same way I feel left out when my half sister wants to talk about life before I was born, she probably feels left out when I talk about things that happened when she wasn’t with us.

I’ve had a few projects in school where I’ve had to call my oldest living relative or speak to a grandparent and ask about the family history, and I know that going far enough back we were slaves, and I was supposed to write a paper about how my great-great grandparents overcame slavery and made a better life which led to the great life I have today… but me being me, I didn’t write about that.

I wrote about how I did not understand the paper topic, and that I couldn’t relate to a single thing my ancestors went through because I am not a slave, nor have I ever been, had I been a slave I would not have lasted long because I would have screamed “pick your own damn cotton” and been killed…and my ancestors being slaves did not give me the life I have today. My dad working hard, getting a great job, and having a house built in a St. Louis suburb and my mom quitting her job and staying home to raise me gave me the life I have today.

My teacher gave me an A, but in his comments he said he still thinks the family history had an influence on my personality. Whatever. Maybe he’s right.

Either way, my mom is really into ancestry, and I’m really not, at all. I don’t care where I came from. I don’t care that I’m black. I’m not meaning to say I wish I was another race – I am saying that race/ethnicity/nationality doesn’t matter to me at all. If I ever get famous, I don’t want to be known as the first black person or the first woman to do something. Hopefully by the time I get there, so many black people, women, and black women will have done it that they won’t even mention that part. I just want credit for being great at whatever it is.

My best friend Cameron asked me last night why I want a boyfriend so bad, and I told him I’ve always wanted a boyfriend because while they say family is forever, it’s not. You have your family until you turn 18 and then you go off on your own and eventually start your own family. So I’ve always wanted a boyfriend so that he would turn into a husband and I could start my family. That being said, I never thought I would return home for anything but holidays once I turned 18.

So now I don’t know.

Who am I supposed to be spending my time with?

What am I supposed to be doing?

How does one figure that out?

Quitting

I am very inclined to quit everything. I want to give up. 

I hate my job. I say this almost everyday, but I still don’t think my family truly understands how much. My sister says it will get better. My mom says hold on until my change comes. Great. I am at my wits end. I am at the crying on the way to and from work, pulling out my hair stage of hate for this job. I have even crafted a letter of resignation. The only thing keeping me from quitting is the fact that I live with my parents, and I don’t want to deal with their reactions to me not having a job. But why keep stressing myself out and being angry and hating life for a paycheck I don’t even need? As long as I’m not paying rent, I may as well quit and give myself some peace, right?

I want to quit praying. Nothing is happening. I don’t feel like God is listening and I don’t feel like God cares. I gave $20 to a homeless man the other day because he was standing on the side of the road with a sign, I was at a stoplight, and I didn’t have any smaller bills. I thought I would feel better, I told myself, “he needs this more than I do, I can get another 20 out of the bank whenever I feel like” but would you believe that I actually felt bad after doing it? I didn’t feel better, I felt annoyed that I gave all my cash to some man on the side of the street. What if he isn’t really homeless? What if he uses the money for drugs? That shouldn’t matter. I did a good deed. I should feel good. But I don’t, so clearly the praying and reading scripture isn’t helping. 

My dad says keep praying, God hears me. My mom says she BELIEVES I will get a better job, one with a salary! Well, since mom BELIEVES it much be true, right? 

You know what I say? Bullshit. 

I am angry. I don’t deserve this. 

Remember last week when I talked about loving yourself? I feel like a lot of people struggle with self esteem.

Not me. I think I’m great. I have no problem looking in the mirror and complimenting myself. I am beautiful. I am smart. I can sing. I can read music. I can write. I can clearly communicate my ideas. I may hate my job, but I have some of the best stats on the team. I can perform well under stress.

I have no problem with self esteem.

I have a problem with no one else believing I am as great as I think I am.

That makes me sound egotistical. If I am the only one who thinks it, it can’t be true. 

Does that mean I’m not great? I have nothing to offer?

I’m sick of applying for jobs and hearing nothing back. I’m sick of being told that it will get better, because it’s not. I’m sick of the last guy I dated randomly telling me he loves me but never showing it. I’m sick of working a shitty job. I’m sick of being tired. I’m exhausted. I’m sick of having the same conversations with my parents over and over again and them still failing to understand.

Hey mom, you’re so sure I can get a job that doesn’t suck as much as the one I have, with a salary? Show me the job. Show me the company. Show me the job posting. I will apply. Get me an interview. I will kill it. 

I am sick of my hard work not being acknowledged or recognized or seen. 

I want to be loved by someone as much as I love them.

I want to look forward to work when I leave in the morning. 

I want to feel happy, rather than trapped and worthless. 

I want to receive tangible help, action, rather than empty words of encouragement.

I want to quit family. What good does it to when their words don’t calm you or make you feel better? When their embrace doesn’t make you feel safe or protected, but uncomfortable? Aren’t parents supposed to protect their children from the pains of the world?

I want to quit reaching out to God. What good is talking to the empty sky? Does God really exist? Think about it. What sense does creating a world out of loneliness make? He could have just populated Heaven to begin with rather than put us all here to suffer before we get there. 

I want to quit the pursuit of friendship. What good is it when the friends don’t last? When you give your all and they leave you behind? 

I want to quit love. What good is it when it always leaves?

I want to quit, because I am tired. 

I want to cry. I want to scream. I want to lay in bed and never get up. I want to be in control of my life and not at the mercy of others just because I can’t figure out how to be successful on my own and nobody can help me. 

I can’t control my lack of job opportunities, or friends or family or love, but I can give up. I can quit. That is a choice I can make. That is action I can take. 

People say quitting is weak. They say it’s the reason for failure. They say you should never do it. 

You know what the idea of quitting feels like to me?

Quitting feels like release. 

It feels like escape.

It feels like freedom.

Love Yourself

I think loving yourself is one of the most important traits a person can master. 

Selfishness is so looked down upon that we forget there is a healthy kind of selfish.

We come into this world alone, and we leave it alone, and many times while here we have to be alone, so it’s important to figure out how to fill and enjoy that alone time.

This isn’t easy – I’ll tell you right now – the only places I go are school and work because I don’t have any friends to go out with. 

I typically don’t go to movies unless my sister is available or I am invited by colleagues from work or people I know from college, because I’m embarrassed to go alone. I’m uncomfortable. It’s the same with going out to eat – I want to try new restaurants, but alone? Never. I would much rather get McDonalds from the drive thru and eat it at home if I’m going to eat alone. 

I really want to take a cooking class, but again, I would like to have a friend to take with me.

I’m not sure why that is. I honestly can’t say why I have an issue with doing these things alone. Is anyone in the movie theater really going to care that I’m sitting there alone? Is the waitress going to look down on me because I’m eating alone? Doubtful. 

My sister was talking to me the other day about a new person she met and about how great they are, but when talking about herself she says she is clumsy and awkward and that’s when it really reasonated with me how important loving yourself is. 

It’s fine to think another person is great and that you are lucky to know them, but you should also feel that they are lucky to know you. You should have more strengths to share about yourself than weaknesses. You should feel you deserve good friendships and relationships rather than feeling that you’re so lucky someone wants to spend time with you. You’re not lucky – you deserve it! 

If there is something you want to do and you can’t find anyone to do it with you, do it alone. Experience something. Learn something. Enjoy your own company. 

Do you think you’re funny? Do you think you’re smart? Pretty? Brave? Happy? 

Take pride in these qualities. 

Challenge this week: each day when you wake up, spend 5 minutes complimenting yourself in the mirror. 

I am beautiful. I am brave. I am kind. I am special. I am intelligent. 

Whatever you come up with that is true for you. 

You don’t have to do this loudly, nobody has to know you’re doing it, but try it, and see what a difference this makes in your self confidence. 

When you feel even a tiny bit more confident, try doing one of those activities you’re usually afraid to try alone. I’m going to try too- and I’ll update you on the progress.

Remember: you are loved, and you’re doing fine. You’re exactly where you need to be. 

Circles

I’m so tired of people not understanding.

I feel like every conversation with my parents is a waste of time, and I may as well be speaking Latin or something because they just don’t get it, and we just sit there repeating ourselves over and over again.

It makes me hate being alive. Truly.

I feel like a waste of space.

I’m not contributing anything to society.

I sleep, I eat, I work, and that’s it.

I work a job that anyone can do.

I work nights so I’m not available to go out even if I did have somewhere to go out to and someone to go with, which I don’t.

They keep talking about how I could have stayed with my mom’s relatives – distant relatives that I’ve met maybe twice in my life and do not know well at all, so to me it would be the equivalent of living with strangers – in California, as if I didn’t know that was an option.

As if I don’t wake up every day at hate myself for leaving California. Wondering if this was worth it. Wondering if I would have stayed, would things have gotten better, or would I have always returned here eventually? Dealing with the fact that I will never know.

I’m tired of uncomfortable living situations, so I don’t want anymore roommates and I don’t want to live with strangers.

I have a friend in California that I could stay with, I could probably leave tomorrow, but I don’t have a job there and I don’t know how to get one. I could probably go back to Disneyland, but I hate working there. I could probably work at a hotel or something, but that sounds equally awful and unappealing.

I want to do something that is impacting someone’s life somewhere, somehow, so I can feel like I matter and like I have a purpose. Because right now I feel like I’m just taking up precious air by breathing that someone else could be inhaling and actually making an impact.

What is the point in waking up every day to go work in a call center and then come home and sleep and do it again the next day? To pay bills? Bills for a place to live that I only need for the hours I’m not at an awful job, and for a car that I only need to get to the job.

Endless circles.

You know what inspires me? Taylor Swift. She’s done amazing things with her 25 years of life. What have I done with my 22? Nothing.

I like music because when people sing about a feeling that I’m having, I don’t feel alone anymore. I know that the person who wrote that song understands, because they felt it before.

I like books, tv, and movies, because they take me to another world entirely. I can watch someone else struggle through life, but I don’t have the be the one struggling. I can watch them make terrible decisions, but it doesn’t matter because they’re not real. I can watch them make good decisions, and it doesn’t matter because they’re not real.

I did not leave Anaheim because I wanted to. I left because my boyfriend did not have his own apartment at the time, and my best friend and I could not find jobs and get apartments in the time we had allotted to do so.

I am not staying at home because I want to. I’m at home because I don’t know where else to go. I don’t know what else to do. I don’t have money to just get on a plane and travel the world while I write.

I don’t feel called or led by God to do anything in particular, like preach, or be a doctor, or become a humanitarian, or go back to school.

I really don’t feel anything at all, except pain, uselessness, longing, and loss. Pointless. Wasteful.

My family doesn’t understand this. Probably because none of them have ever felt this way. And there is nothing they can say or do to make it better.

It hurts, and it’s irritating, because your parents are supposed to be the ones with the life experience to help you through yours. So who are you supposed to go to when they can’t help?

The obvious choice would be God, but what if he isn’t hearing you? Or he is, but you can’t hear him talking back?

Where do you go? Where do you turn? When you have nothing, and no one?

You go in circles.

Well, I’m done with circles.

This is me, saying goodbye to them.

My 2016 goals were to write my novel, meditate daily to work on my inner peace, and read the bible in a year.

I am making progress on all of those things, and those things are my main focus right now.

When my parents decide to give me a deadline for getting out of the house, I will work on getting an apartment.

I hate my job, and I’m sure my breaking point is near, and when that comes I will strengthen my hunt for a new job.

But for now, what I have is me, my meditation, my bible, and my book. That is all I have, and that has to be enough.

I’m done with circles.

Searching for a Church Home

I have this memory, both hazy and distinct at the same time, about a conversation. I remember that I was in middle school, but I’m not sure if it was 7th or 8th grade. I remember the girl I spoke to, but I cannot remember her name. I know she had brown hair, and we were friends at the time of the conversation, but we did not stay friends for very long.

The conversation took place in gym class; the girl and I were walking around the track together. We were planning a sleepover that she wanted to have on Saturday night, and I told her we would need to do Friday because I went to church with my family on Sunday mornings.

“Why do you go to church?” she asked.

She didn’t say it rudely, just curious. It was a simple question.

I responded with something to the effect of, I’ve always gone, my family goes every week, I like it there because I love gospel music and the choir is fantastic.

“Sounds boring to me,” the girl replied, and the conversation shifted to another topic.

I realize I had to have been 12 or 13 at the time, so I can’t fault myself for not having a better answer, but thinking back on this memory, I’m upset that I missed my chance to share the word of God with someone.

This was a girl who had never been to church, her family did not have any religious practices or beliefs, and I was probably one of the first people she asked about it, and all I told her about was the music.

I didn’t realize it then, but about 3 years ago when I stopped going to church with my family, this is the moment that really stuck out to me when I thought about why I was going to church and realized that I was just going through the motions. I stood when everyone else did, clapped when everyone else did, but I didn’t really listen to the message. I didn’t connect and didn’t really hear the message, but I also wasn’t trying to. I sang in the choir, not to praise God with song, but because I had been doing it forever, I liked to sing, and I wanted people to hear me.

Once I realized this, I started really trying to pay attention, and I really struggled with it, so then one day I stopped going.

I want to note that my not going to church had absolutely nothing to do with any lack of belief in God, it was just that I didn’t feel I was being spiritually fed at that particular church.

Then I faced the new problem of finding a new church home, and I was so comfortable with the location and layout of my current church, and the comfort of going with my family every Sunday for my entire life, that I could not fathom the idea of going alone somewhere else. It felt uncomfortable, it felt wrong.

So I got really busy with school and clubs while I lived on campus, trying to create excuses not to find a church home. I went abroad to Europe, and then off to California, constantly telling myself that I needed to get accustomed to the new place before I could find a church home, but then I ended up not staying in that place long enough.

To help improve a committee at my old church, my mom is visiting other churches to learn about their process for welcoming new members, and see what resources are provided to them.

I’ve been going with my mom to these other churches so far, looking for a new home to call my own, and I’m happy to say I have attended some services that I have really connected to, where I felt I really understood and was really hearing the pastor.

I haven’t gone alone yet, but I am hoping to get the courage to do that soon.

I had lunch with a family friend about a week ago, and she asked me why I’m afraid to go alone. I really couldn’t articulate it to her, and she told me that our spiritual journeys are our own. We each have an individual relationship with God, so what difference should it make if I drive to church alone, sit on my own, and return on my own, if it is my own relationship with God that I am trying to nurture?

I’m really not sure why I wasn’t seeing that before, but having this conversation really helped me, and I am feeling a lot better with the idea of going alone, so I hope to put that into practice in the coming months.

I have been keeping up with my daily scripture readings and my daily prayer, and asking God for strength to overcome my fear, even if I cannot specifically articulate what makes me afraid of not having a “church buddy” so to speak.

I guess my point of this post is, if you’re worried to do something alone, try to talk through with someone why that is. We don’t always get to do things with somebody else. And if you’re struggling to connect in your church service, try a different church. Change is okay. It doesn’t mean there is anything wrong with you, maybe you just need a different type of speaker. Pastors all structure their sermons differently and have different methods of delivery, and you need to find what works for you so that you can be spiritually fed during your service.

Spiritual Connection

Last night I went to church with my mom, and the pastor told a lot of stories about people who made dramatic life changes once they connected to God. Members of the church are doing this challenge where they’re supposed to spend time with God every hour, even if it’s just a simple prayer like “thank you for getting me to work safely,” and document the changes in their lives.

The stories the pastor told were about porn addicts realizing they no longer wanted to watch porn, or alcoholics who realized they no longer needed alcohol, and I realized I had an extremely hard time connecting to the message because I’ve never experienced addiction.

I feel like so many Christians have these magical come to Jesus stories, where they were trapped in some deep sin and never opened a Bible or went to church or prayed and then one day they saw the light and turned it all around.

I’m almost angry that I don’t have a story like that. I went to church almost my whole life, I only stopped about 3 years ago. Growing up my family went every Sunday. I sang in the choir, I danced on the praise dance team, and I was an usher. I think I was 8 or 9 when I got baptized, and I made that decision myself, I wasn’t told to do it by my parents.

I feel like I was doing everything right, I went to church and school, I prayed, I read the Bible, I didn’t smoke or drink, but somehow I ended up with 3 boyfriends in a row that either went crazy or cheated on me, I lost all my friends and failed to make close, meaningful new ones, I graduated with what I feel like is a useless degree, and I have a job that I absolutely can’t stand.

It makes me angry.

I’m angry because I know I should be grateful. I should be thanking God that at least I have a job and a place to live, because so many people don’t. Maybe I don’t have a best friend I can talk to every day or who will come over and hug me when I’m sad, but I do have friends I can go out to eat with or see movies with every once in a while so I’m not completely isolated all the time. My boyfriend may live on the other side of the country, work 80 hours a week, and have hardly any time to speak to me, but at least I can say that someone is in love with me and wants to be with me even if he can’t.

So why can’t I be grateful for these things?

Because they’re not what I want.

I would honestly rather not make as much money but have a job that I love. I would rather have one single best friend who knows me inside and out who comes to me with their problems as much as I go to them than have 9 people I can meet for coffee but I’m really only meeting them because neither of us have anything better to do but we don’t really have a strong desire to hang out with each other. I would rather not be in love, than be in love with someone I can’t be with.

It feels like I’m being tortured, and it feels like God doesn’t care, and I don’t understand because I was doing everything right.

It makes me feel like, what’s the point in not getting drunk when all the drunk people are happy and having fun?

What’s the point in praying every day if God’s will clearly doesn’t include anything that I want?

Maybe this is what God wants for me, my life, exactly the way that it is. Maybe this is as good as it gets.

It’s not that I feel like I deserve more than the person who doesn’t go to church and doesn’t pray regularly, it’s more that I don’t understand why I can’t see or feel the changes or impact God is having on my life, when other people seem to have no idea who God is and stumble upon Him the next day and are just instantly filled with knowledge and understanding, and have this great story to share about how He awakened them.

Why can’t that happen to me?

What am I living for, what am I wishing for, what am I praying for? I don’t have the tools to make anything I want to happen in my life happen, and I don’t want to ask God for things He doesn’t want me to have… and if God does want me to have something then I’ll have it regardless of if I ask for it, right?

I just don’t understand, what needs to change, what needs to happen, what I’m doing wrong. Why I can’t have my magical moment where Jesus speaks to me.

I feel like my life is empty and doesn’t have purpose… and this is part of what depression does, I know… but it was easier when everything I did had a deadline, like high school was 4 years then I went to college. College was only for 4 years. Studying abroad was for 4 months. The Disney College Program was for 4.5 months.

Everything I’ve done up until this point has had a definite start and end date, and now for the first time, I can’t see an end to what I’m doing. I’m stuck living at home working a job I hate not having friends, probably never seeing the guy who claims to love me again… and it looks like this is my life for the foreseeable future. I don’t have anything else. I don’t have any defined plans of things I can look forward to. I don’t know where to go from here, how to change, how to make things happen, and I don’t know who can help.

The one thing I’ve found to help is to let all of this out, that’s why I’ve written it here. I used to push these feelings away and they would just creep back up stronger. So I’m saying it’s okay to be sad and scared and overwhelmed. I’m acknowledging how I feel, that I don’t like it, and that I want to change it but don’t know how. And hopefully one day it will get easier. One day an opportunity will come along to change my situation and hopefully I won’t run from it.

I guess here is where the disconnect in choosing your emotions comes from… my mom would say you can choose to accept defeat or you can choose to be happy and keep getting up every day and pushing forward. I say, you can’t change how you feel, but you can choose to believe that this won’t last forever.

I keep praying because I choose to believe that one day God will speak to me. I don’t know if that’s true, but there has to be more than this. There has to be better than this. Right now I don’t feel like there is, but I choose to believe that one day I will wake up and feel differently, and that’s what keeps me going.

My passion planner asked me to write something that would motivate me to complete my goal for the year, which is to complete my novel by December 31st. My motivation is the memory of showing my boyfriend the binder I have of where I planned out my book. I have pages of character profiles, over 20 characters and each has a full backstory, I drew a map of the boarding school where the book takes place, I made a class schedule for every character, and I wrote an outline of the story. He was really impressed with all the work, and told me he was amazed at how much thought I put into it before I started writing, so that’s my motivation – knowing that I’ve already put in too much work to quit now.

That’s how I feel about my relationship with God – I’ve already spent too many years believing and going to church and trying to understand the Bible and my purpose to quit. I don’t know how much longer I have to try, or how much longer I’ll be willing to try, but sometimes all you can do is believe that change is coming, and try to accept that it’s not today or tomorrow.

Friendship

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately… what makes a person appealing as a friend?

Making friends always came easy to me in grade school through high school but once I got to college that got really hard all of a sudden. I keep asking myself why, and honestly all that I can come up with is that I’m not interested in the same things as most people my age. I keep meeting people who want to get wasted every weekend and that’s great for them, but I don’t want to join them. I hate getting drunk, I don’t think it’s fun at all, and I’d rather go out to dinner, have a cocktail, and call it a night.

Someone mentioned to me in college that I was extremely off-putting by complaining so much about how I didn’t have anything in common with anyone my age because all they care about is partying, and I made it seem like I thought I was better than everyone else.

That shocked me, because I wasn’t aware I was putting anyone down. Whenever I went to a party, I got made fun of for not drinking, or stared at like I was crazy for declining, or people would just keep pressuring me about it until the night ended so I finally just stopped going to parties. I did not think less of the people who were going to parties – if anything, I was jealous of them. They were having fun, and for some reason I couldn’t have fun by joining them and it certainly wasn’t fun to sit alone in my dorm while they all partied the night away.

My other problem has been whenever I meet someone I think I really click with, I have to do all the work to keep it going. I have friends from forever ago whom I love dearly and I would do anything for, and they’ll see me, if I make the call. If I text, they’ll respond. If I invite them to hang out, they’ll show up. But do they ever call me? Not once. And that makes me feel like I’m annoying. Like I’m pestering them, like they really have no desire to be my friend or talk to me because if they did, then they would pick up the phone and initiate the conversation once in a while, right?

So that makes me think that it’s me. I’m doing something that is turning people off, something that is keeping them away. I have to be. But I don’t know what it is, besides the fact that I’m just boring. I would rather see a movie than go to the club. I would rather have deep conversation than exchange stories of drunken college hookups. But if that’s what my friend wants to talk about, I realize that I could do a much better job of listening and perhaps without realizing I have been turning up my nose at them.

If you like to party, please know I’m not judging you in any way. Everyone is entitled to their own fun. I wish I liked to party, that would make meeting people and finding things to do with them a whole lot easier. I’ve tried it, and it’s just not for me, and that’s fine.

Friendship is a two way street. Lots of people have told me I can call them any time, but then they never call me, so I never call them either. If you have a friend that you care about, and you want them to share things with you, make sure you also share things with them.

I have run into people through out the last few years who seem to really like me and want to hang out with me, but the conversation is dull and I just don’t have the same desire to hang out with them. So that’s another issue, is being open to the opportunities that are given to you.

Maybe you met someone in an unlikely place, or maybe they text you too much in the beginning so you just stop answering, but everyone should be given a chance. Maybe they have a really cool story of why they ended up in the weird place that you met, maybe they’re just as lonely as you and that’s why they texted you so much, and if you tell them to cool it and have that polite conversation, they’ll back off and you can start having normal non-overwhelming conversations.

I think the most appealing quality in a friend is a good listener. They don’t have to give good advice, they don’t have to give any advice, for me, I just need them to listen and show me that they actually care.

My best friend lives in Philly, we haven’t gone to school together since 7th grade, so I don’t know any of the people in her life that she talks about. I don’t fully understand her program because I’m not in it, but I love this girl to death, and I want her to be happy. I want to know that she’s doing well and succeeding, and I also just find her life super interesting, so I don’t have to know the people to listen to the stories.

I guess I shouldn’t say I can’t make friends – I have friends. It’s just that most of my friends live on one of the coasts, or even just a few hours away but still too far to coordinate visiting for a weekend. It’s hard to deal with time differences and it’s great to have people to talk to, but it sucks when you can’t see them.

I wish I could make the kind of friendships I have with them with people here. People I can see regularly. So I’m back in my high school neighborhood, living in my college town, and it’s just amazing that there are so many people living right around the corner that I know from school, and we don’t talk.

I know that we get older and things change and people change. But the weird part is that a lot of things don’t – I see a lot of the same high school cliques and college clubs keeping up with one another at their usual hang outs. And I just wonder if they can keep those friendships going for so long, why is it so hard for others?

What is the key to keeping those relationships strong and making them last?