You Hate Me, You Really, Really Hate Me.

Itchy Sweater
Photo Courtesy of FreeDigitalPhoto.Net by Ambro

I make a scratchy, wool sweater sort of friend. At first, I seem warm and cuddly, but then, repeat exposure to me tends to chafe. Because of my innate awkwardness with people, I tend to be loud, irritating and intrusive.  (Think ‘Brillo pad’.)  While I like people in general, the reverse isn’t always true.

In case you question my certitude, allow me to admit I recently stood up a friend (accidentally, I am sooo sorry) with whom I had made a play date because I overbooked my day and then completely forgot to call and cancel when it turned out I wouldn’t make it. I hate this when people do it to me. My paranoid brain says, “They are doing it to be hurtful, mean or vindictive, etc…” and I wallow in self-pity. (Always attractive.) I haven’t had the courage to call and apologize because I am so embarrassed by my self-directed stupidity.

True, deep-lasting bonds are very difficult for me to maintain. I would say my complicated life separates me from people, but it is also my poor choices that make close interactions nigh on impossible. I find friendship so exhausting that it almost seems like more work than it is worth. (Because that is how I value friendship—in terms of what it brings me. Nice, no?) I am not sure what kind of person this makes me. On gray, emotionally-draining days I would say I am isolated and lonely. On bright, energetic days I am capable and eager to face the world ready to make plans and get out there and commune with my fellow man. I am the Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde of friends.

Howling Wolves
Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net by nixxphotography

Does everybody have the capacity to make friends, or are some of us born loners?* (I keep reading that as ‘losers’, what does that say about my ego?) Do our oddities pass us beyond the standard deviation into the far end of a social bell curve? (Cue howling wolves.)

I ask the above questions because I recently learned that someone did not like me. (I know. Shocker!) I got a copy of an email by accident of someone stating, basically, that I wasn’t liked for such and such reason. (Yep, I’m going to be vague here. I have some dignity.) I try to look at the inadvertent awareness objectively, “Well, everybody is irritating sometime. Not everybody is going to like you.” But, it still stings when your suspicions are confirmed. Perhaps if people were more honest more often I’d be a better person. Or, conversely, more of a hermit than I already am.

I look back over the years and I see a trail of lost friendships—some due to separation and different choices in life, others due to changing attitudes or personalities that worked in childhood not jibing as we became adults. But, the loss of each star in the small constellation of friends I have managed to maintain is painful. Each time I am reminded that I have unlikable qualities as a human being. Each cut opens old wounds that never quite heal.

I am trying to adopt a sense of “self-differentiation”. I have always been too dependent upon the opinion of others. (Middle child syndrome. Can I get a Whoot Whoot from my over-eager, people-pleasing buddies?) Self-differentiation has become a goal whereby I am no longer chained to the desire to please others or find validation from their opinions. Sounds great, right? But, how do I balance not caring about what other people think with learning which of my behaviors cause people to hate me? (Bring on the circular reasoning.) How many friends do I have to lose in order to grow into a better me?

Magic_Mirror
Let’s see how long it takes Disney to hunt me down and slap a lawsuit on this infringement!

I have no magic mirror to reveal my flaws; and, I am too much of a coward to send out a survey polling my likability. (Please grade on a scale from ten to zero, where ten is “Box of Kittens Lovable” to zero, “Box of Butchered Kittens Horrible”, exactly how repellant am I?) How much of me do I need to change so I can pretend people like ‘me’? I have no pithy answer. No universal truth that rings a bell of closure on this article. Instead, I ask: Are some people just not built for friendship?

* * * * *

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10 thoughts on “You Hate Me, You Really, Really Hate Me.

  1. I like you, I really, really like you! Friendships naturally wax and wane. People draw close and slip away – it’s the natural way of things. Strange that you write about this now, as I was talking only the other day of a friendship, long gone, that was ended at my instigation. Though friendships do sometimes drift, this was the only time I’ve ever actually ended one. Eleven years on, I still feel guilty, still dislike myself for the decision, even though it was the right one for me. We’re none of us perfect, are we?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am an argumentative cuss, so I will point out that it is much easier to like someone you never meet. In fact, perhaps that is why I enjoy online repartee so much. Despite the occasional mix-up where sarcasm is misconstrued or humor falls flat on one end, I think it helps to have that ten second delay where you double-check your message and can delete the questionable commentary. That said, I am still capable of putting my foot in my mouth while typing. (And that’s some feat!)

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I need to give this some time to percolate, but I want you to know that I am going through exactly the same feelings and asking, do they like me? It may say on my calendar that I’m almost sixty, not I feel like I’m in grade three.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s why I wrote my question, is it possible to look at 40-some years of problematic relationships and say, “Maybe it’s me?” I am always looking for the humorous side to what can sometimes seem like a bleak worldview, and this was the best I could come up with.

      Like

  3. Oh, no. I totally agree. Life just got really complicated . We went camping and then my son got ill, another friend went to the hospital. By that point, it was several days later and, well, you know…horribly embarrassing to call by that point!

    Like

  4. Kiri, your son is on the spectrum. It is not unlikely that you may be, as well. It is often that this is not noticed/diagnosed in adult women–especially if you are high on the spectrum. How this could manifest and affect friendships, though, and especially eff you up with women is that women, especially, operate by glances and hints. You would operate by a style more like a man’s. Your friends might thin they had communicated wants or not-wants honestly and openly with you and you had ignored them–even trampled on them. You may have missed them. You may have read them, but they mis-read you.

    Example: I was teaching Sunday School with someone very unlike me–and much more religious and conservative in all ways–but had become quite good friends. We were seeking which Bible we wished to adopt for the school. She brought one and I told her what i thought. I liked her choice. I also liked another.

    From that day forward, our friendship was ended. I learned months later that she thought I had highly criticized her choice, in hard terms. My brother once, hearing me on the phone, said “No wonder people dislike you: You talk like a man.”

    No one likes that (allows that) in a woman–in any culture.

    I am sorry for your pain. I experience exactly what you do, and it is hard.
    Congratulations on making that phone call, though! Reaching out more is good (cold, hard, Aspie) strategy ; )

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I suspect that, while I am not on the spectrum myself, there are definite flavors of autism that can be identified. I look at the family and find all sorts of other disorders out there: bi-polar, depressive, OCD, alcoholic, whatever the hell is wrong with my brothers, etc… When my son was born and finally diagnosed, it made certain branches of the family tree make a whole lot of sense. As for myself, I just suffer from good ol’ fashioned social clumsiness and thoughtlessness. No DSM IV required.

      Oh, and the person who didn’t like me in the article above was actually a man. I rubbed him the wrong way…no sexual connotation intended.

      Liked by 1 person

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