One thing I’ve noticed about myself over the years is that I really do value friendship and being around good company. I am a sociable person! Growing up and even into high school to an extent I would often describe myself as a “loner” and say that I’m okay just being by myself for long periods of time. Looking back, though, I see that was more of a coping mechanism and a way to justify those times where I just was alone. So instead of conceding that I felt lonely, I would embrace it and pretend that it is just part of my character in some way. But as more and more time has passed, I’ve realized just how friend and community-oriented I seem to be naturally. I’m not a social butterfly necessarily, and I’m usually not a fan of larger, less personal gatherings like parties or weddings, but throughout my life I’ve always felt happier the more I am around good company.
From online forums to in-person friend groups, I’m usually drawn to being a part of some sort of community at most points in my life. Maybe that’s just human nature, that natural desire for like-minded groups to come together and connect, but more often than not I’ll find myself actively starting groups or organizing community events rather than being a passive participant. Even in the parts of my life where I wasn’t a part of any in-person groups and just did a lot of community things online, I would still spend a lot of my time with my best friend, and those were some of the best times that I had. Now more than ever I value genuine friendships and bonds so much, and love bringing good people together. I rarely ever will turn down spending time with good company in favor of spending time by myself.
And that right there, that community-oriented trait, is not really a trait of mine that I was cognizant of throughout most of my life. Maybe that’s why I’ve felt so much regret about how I handled certain parts of my life. I would describe myself as “the weird kid”, or off-beat, or a bit of an outcast as a means of explaining why I don’t need friends, and as a result was dismissive of some of the true feelings of loneliness I would go through. A few years ago is when my depression really started to sink in as I finally acknowledged my issue for what it was: Loneliness. I wasn’t a “loner,” I didn’t want to be alone, but I found myself in this spot and my mental health was struggling in many ways. As I went through college feeling this way, even though I understood that I wanted more friends and more of a sense of community in my life, I didn’t make enough of an effort to actually make this happen. This is a big part of why I didn’t enjoy a lot of my college experience and also why I remained depressed for several years.
As I’ve discussed a lot, I still deal with depression now but in terms of friends I am in a much better spot than I was for most of my college years. Though I still battle with a sense of loneliness which I’ve also talked about on these blogs a lot, most of my depression now is rooted in my position in life rather than just the social element. Now I have some really good friends who I care about and who seem to care about me so that’s a good feeling to have to help with my depression overall.
The biggest takeaway from all of this is that I feel like I’ve realized a lot about myself over the years. Like, maybe I was the kid that sat by himself a lot because I was a “nerd” or because I was a little different than others, but that didn’t mean that that’s the way it had to be. I could have stepped out of my comfort zone more back and changed that narrative then but I didn’t. I could have branched out and done more to change that narrative in college but I didn’t. So now I’m doing the best with my life to live with less regrets and to make the most of my time with the people around me who I care about, now that I fully acknowledge my desire to spend time with good company. Not to mention that I love to make people laugh and have fun rapport with people so a lot of time alone can be particularly draining for me, especially with my continuing mental health struggles. But I’m doing my best and will continue to improve on other aspects of my life now that my social life is in a much more sound place than it was even just a few months ago.
Videos I Posted This Week: