I’m very, very introverted, as I mention a lot, and being around people exhausts me. Lately, it’s been especially bad. I want nothing to do with my friend group. Every time I’m around them, I’m miserable. I try not to show it, and I think I successfully come across as energetic, fun, and charming, but god it takes so much out of me. I feel like we’re stuck in a rut socially, where we talk about the same things, do the same activities, make the same jokes. It’s so boring that I don’t even feel bad when I miss out on things.
I realize that even still, even now, I’m being left out of things by my friend group. It upsets me so much because it’s really hard to motivate myself to do social activities. I have to hype myself up, give myself a pep talk, go back and forth on the decision, make a pro/con list, piece data together to figure out who’s going to be there, compare the ratio of people I know to people I don’t know, and figure out how long I’ll have to stay (because it’s never just one thing—it always ends up turning into dinner after, then drinks after that, then a movie at someone’s house, then a sleepover, then brunch in the morning). It’s a lot to handle, but if, on top of that, I get the sense that I’m not even wanted there, that I’m an after-thought or whatever, it makes it so much harder to justify going.
About a week ago, a friend sent out an email to a group of us about a lecture happening last night. I love going to lectures, and the speaker was a prominent scientist and an advocate for women in STEM, so I sent an email saying that I would definitely be there. Then, yesterday, there was a poster session right before the lecture, and I ran into my roommate (also included in the email) on the way to the session. I mentioned the lecture to her, and she was all “Oh, you’re going, too? X, Y, Z, and I are going out to dinner afterwards, if you want to come.” Why was I not told about this? Why did everyone else in the email have a separate conversation about dinner, and no one extended the invite to me until literally 2 hours prior as a coincidence? And it’s not like my roommate didn’t get a chance to tell me earlier because we live together. Then, at the poster session, I was talking to the person who originally sent the email (X), and she mentioned the lecture. “Yeah, I’m going, too,” I said, and she acted surprised. I know everyone received my email saying I was going because people responded to my email saying that they were going as well. Why was I still getting left out of everything?
I had the thought that maybe I wasn’t being left out but just kind of forgotten about because they did include me in the email, but the email felt more like an FYI than a collective group hang. It was more of a “Hey, you guys all might be interested in this.” Then, based on the RSVPs, those who all wanted to hang while they were there, X, Y, Z, and roommate R, made plans outside of the original email list. Coincidentally that was everyone who said they were going except for me.
I ended up not going to the lecture because I was exhausted from a particularly eventful week, and honestly, they’re exclusivity was pissing me off. I shouldn’t have to beg to be included in a thing that I was invited to by a group of people that are supposedly my friends. I walked up to them while they just happened to be making plans on when to head over (probably wouldn’t have conveyed the information to me, but whatever), and told them, “Hey guys, I’m really sorry, but I’m not going to make it because I’m not feeling well.” Z had already started walking away as I was talking. X and R ignored me, and Y kind of blinked confused, and then said “Okay? Feel better, I guess,” as though she was wondering why I was bothering to tell them I wasn’t going.
This kind of stuff angers me so much. More than that, it just makes me so sad. I talk through these things all the time with my therapist because it’s an ongoing issue. I can’t even begin to list all the times I get left out of things, but I do a pretty good job highlighting some of them in a previous post. It’s been happening since high school, and it really, really bothers me. I always thought it was because I wasn’t likable or fun or special to anyone. That really hurt because it meant that I would probably never really have a good friendship.
But I was thinking about it today, and that can’t be true because I know that I am likable. When I went to the figure drawing group on Tuesday, people liked me. At the Fiction Writing group, people also really like me. I’m very well-liked in my lab, and someone told me way back that before I joined the group, a lot of them were talking to each other about how much they liked me and they hoped I would join. In my PI’s letter of recommendation for a fellowship, she talks about how well-liked I am, and everyone says that I’m the favorite. I have good friends from college that I got along really well with, even if it wasn’t a single, cohesive group of friends. I hit it off with almost everyone I go on dates with. Multiple people have fallen in love with me (or at least indicated that they had). My boss from an internship in college to this day still tells me I’m her favorite intern. When I was a chemistry TA, my students really liked me and gave me a card at the end of the semester, one student told my professor I deserved a raise because I was so great. Most of my coworkers at the department store I used to work at really liked me and included me in things. I’ve had surprise birthday parties thrown for me on 4 separate occasions.
All of this is to say I’m definitely likable. I just have shitty friends.
And that’s fine because, as I said earlier, I don’t even like hanging around with them. They’re just my only option right now. That’s fine, though. I’ll only be here for 2 or 3 more years. I just need to tolerate them for now, deal with them excluding me and being stand-offish, and I can try to make friends with the people in my other groups. Or I can just be alone because I’m happiest that way anyway. I get along with my roommates very well, so even if their extroversion makes them act like assholes toward me from time to time, it’s still a pretty good living situation overall. I’ll survive, and eventually I’ll find a group of friends that I’m compatible with and can like and appreciate me for me and I won’t feel so miserable being around them.