I have terrible luck when it comes to making decent friends. I blame it on the fact that I am an INTJ personality type, which for a female, can be quite troublesome at times as it is one of the rarest gender/type combinations in the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. This often left me feeling lonely, isolated and very confused. However, making friends with the wrong people, changed my life for the better.
I often wondered what it was about me that pushed me to feel like an outcast, but at a young age, I just figured people didn’t like me because I was quiet. I was hardly ever shy, if you spoke to me, you would have realized that I had a wealth of topics that I was eager to talk about passionately. The problem was that none of these topics ever included gossip or fashion. I was a tomboy with an imagination of an avid reader and nobody felt like I was a good fit for their friend groups, so subtly, they pushed me to the curb and left me there to question my existence.
I thought that things would improve with age. Coming to university, making friends, creating memories and friendships that would last a lifetime, that’s the tagline they tell you before you enter campus right? ‘The friends you make in university will be the friendships that last forever’ That was the dream I was hoping for, and the reality that I had experienced was the furthest thing from the truth.
You see, the problem is, majority of people do not have any trouble making friends and that is how the university tagline of long lasting friendships came to exist. I assume (not very sure about statistics so don’t quote me!) that most people are extroverts, and by nature, they thrive on friendships. These are the people who create taglines because they have the confidence to do so. The introverts hear these words and walk into university to buy into a dream that does not exist for their personality types. As Drake said “You hate the fact that you bought the dream and they sold you lies” which is exactly what happened to me.
My situation did not improve, even in university. The weirdest thing was that, all the things that made me an outcast in high school, made other people envious of me in university. My determination, my passion for all things strange and wonderful, my quiet confidence and my uncanny ability to accurately project patterns of events (all of the traits of an INTJ) made me public enemy number one. There was no winning and eventually, I stopped trying to fight a losing battle. It was time I befriended the only person who was going to have my back and that person was me.
The reality of life is that, no matter what you do, you simply cannot force anyone to like you, or even love you. You can be considered a misfit in one place and a Queen in another, and everyone will still hate you. That is why it is so important to be your own friend.
From experience, I learnt that almost everyone will put their needs before your own. Many of my friends put themselves before anyone else, making me a doormat in the process because I was so desperate for their attention. Even though I was trampled upon, I still admired the fact that nobody else mattered to these people but themselves. Yes, it may seem selfish, but when you are all you have in this world, why should you not put yourself first?
All these encounters with people who never made me feel very good about myself, taught me a lot about life. As they say ‘Everything happens for a reason’ and in my case, the reason everything happened was for me to learn to appreciate myself. We often take ourselves for granted and wanting to fit in can further diminish our self-worth and dim our shine.
We are not perfect humans, and we cannot expect other imperfect people to appreciate our existence. To appreciate ourselves, is our job alone. Stop fighting the loneliness, embrace it, learn more about yourself and make friends with your inner child. Live up to your own potential and bring your own dreams to life with all the time you have that’s not being spent on outings with friends.
You owe yourself the acceptance that you’ve been so desperately seeking. Lean in to the idea of being your own best friend. Do this and just watch how the world around you will change for the better. As long as you have got your own back, you will never truly be alone.