I’m feeling very sad and frustrated with myself, because I feel like I have messed up a good thing I had going for myself – a good friendship.
I met a couple of girls at the internship I worked at, and we were all pretty good friends. All of us were chemical engineers, and when we returned to school, would be in most of the same classes together.
But I messed the relationships up, as I tend to do.
On the first day of class, I didn’t sit with them. I was trying to find other people to sit with, so that I could make more friends and wouldn’t have to be so clingy on my internship friends. I didn’t want to bother them.
Adding to that reason, I also wanted to expand my network in order to find other people I could get homework help with. I didn’t want to just depend on my internship friends, and bug them. I also didn’t want them to see, how much help I would need, because they’re all so smart, and I’m of such average intellect, I didn’t want to slow them down, so I stayed away.
Finally, the last reason, I figured they had other groups of friends at school before we met at the internship, and I didn’t want to just assume that I was going to be part of that circle, so I didn’t sit with them in case they were wanting to save seats for other people they wanted to see more. I didn’t want to be in the way. I would have been very embarrassed if I hadn’t read the signals right and ended up overstepping my boundaries, if they ended up just letting me sit with them out of politeness rather than because they wanted to.
I figured things would be different at school than at the internship. We led different lives at school. We were close in the internship, but I figured that was only because we had each other, and now that at school we were surrounded by more people our age, someone like me was not needed to fill the gaps in the social circle.
But, as I tend to do, I apparently read all these signals wrong.
I noticed that they sat together, and didn’t really seem to know that many people, and clung to each other the first week. They sat together in many classes. That surprised me. I was expecting all of us to go our separate ways, and just politely talk to each other every now and then.
I felt embarrassed. I wanted to say hi since they were sitting so close, but they had now made friends with the other people at their table, and I didn’t want to intervene in their circle/interrupt their conversation. I’m very awkward when it comes to conversation. I only talk to the people that are in my immediate vicinity (that is, my left and right), so I didn’t talk to them, and I guess that must have come off as rude, and like I was avoiding them.
Eventually, they invited me to sit with them, and commented that one of the guys sitting at their table was really dumb, and they preferred me to him. I felt scared by that. I knew I was not that smart, and I didn’t want to make a fool of myself and have them see me just like they see that dumb guy. I was uncomfortable the whole time I sat with them, because I couldn’t work out the class question by myself, and I didn’t want to ask them for help and burden them to explain it to me, so I just took the zero.
I realized I couldn’t go on like that; I wasn’t comfortable enough in their group to ask for help, and I would fail if I stayed. So I left and went back to my old table for the next class. And, tends to be the case, they misunderstood that as me dissing them, I think.
They don’t try and talk to me as much anymore. And it’s my fault. From the outside looking in, it really does look like I snubbed them, but it’s all just a huge misunderstanding. I want their friendship and to talk again, but I don’t want them to find out how much help I need to get my engineering coursework done, or how slow I really am.
I know, I know, the solution is: communication. Just let them know what’s up and you’ll clear the air. But young people (like me) are stupid, and I’m just too shy to go up to them and say, “I’m sorry if I made you feel like I have been ignoring you.” Just to avoid feeling awkward, they’ll say, “We weren’t thinking that at all!” and I’ll just feel humiliated for taking that first step.
So, I’m sad, that I’ve lost that relationship, and I don’t think I can mend it, because I’m too proud, shy, and embarrassed to do anything about it. They even said that they wanted to hang out with me a while back, and I was genuinely surprised anyone would want to hang out with me outside of class. I’m a great person so have around, I think, but only for like the 10 to 15 minutes total of chatting time we get before and after class. I don’t think I’m a very fun person outside of that. So I’m always flattered when someone wants to actually get to know me.
It’s too bad I messed up that friendship. It took months to cultivate. This is just one of the many, many instances of me messing up my relationships with other people because of my insecurities, not knowing what I’m worth, and thinking they’re too good for me, and why would they want me as a friend?
I know there is no advice you all can give me. I know what I should do, but as mentioned, I’m too stupidly proud and stubbornly shy to do so. I don’t want to be dismissed, and show my vulnerabilities to them. I will feel like I have lost… somehow. Given in first.
So I’ll continue living my awkward, shy life and keep ranting about all my other social anxiety problems on here haha. Thank you for reading, if you read this far.