Ever since high school, I always felt like I was that friend who gathered everyone together. We’d come to my house to hang out, we’d get ready for dances in my room, my home was the place to be for a slumber party, and I loved having friends over after school to watch Oprah with me as we raided the fridge.
In college, I always made sure my room was clean and stocked with ramen and boxes of wine. On Thursday nights, we’d watch 90210 on my sunflower comforter and there were many times when I’d come home from a class and my friends would be asleep on my bed waiting for me to get back.
I was always the most social of the group. I didn’t mind being the one who reached out all the time when I became a mother. I needed that connection (even though it was a lot less than it was before I was a mom), and I liked it to be on my turf. Having company over, sending out a group text to get a bunch of my girls together so we could go out to lunch was something that was ingrained in me.
Over the years I’ve become more of an introvert and needed more alone time. However, I have always been open when someone asks me to do something. I still love having people over (just a few at a time). It’s something that makes me feel alive, feeds my soul, and I’ll always take someone up on the invitation to go get some sushi or a plate of nachos.
When I was going through my divorce a few years ago, I noticed my extroverted self coming back a bit. I started reaching out more, making new friends; that woman who used to love to host parties was back. I started doing something every few months with my mom, sisters, and friends. There were jewelry parties, psychic readings, cookie swaps, sex toy parties, and a lot of girls’ nights out.
I really bonded with some of my divorced friends and I saw a few of them a few times a week. They’d ask me to go to spin class or help them pick out glasses on the nights they knew I didn’t have kids. We’d go away for the weekend, or spend hours at the beach talking.
I believe their friendships got me through a very hard time in my life, and I am so thankful.
But lately, I’m not myself. Not even a little bit. I am the quiet friend. The one who doesn’t respond to texts; the one who doesn’t pick up the phone if a friend calls; the one who never reaches out to do anything social, and the one who makes excuses when I’m invited to do something.
I don’t mind being this version of myself, but I’m not sure what’s going on with me.
The truth is, I’m too tired to go out. I’m too overwhelmed to make plans. I feel like I’m slogging through cement and the only things I want to do are work out, see my kids, and write. I don’t have the reserves for anything else right now.
Because right now, I need to be the quiet friend. The one who needs silence in order to recharge. The one who feels like nothing is really wrong other than the fact that I want to be alone.
I need my friends to be okay with this, and they are (because I have amazing friends), but more importantly, I need to be okay with me.
I need to stop telling myself something is wrong with me just because I’ve never lived in the state of “I just want to be alone” for so long.
I need to accept that this is what I need to do right now because when I am home with my kids, or I’m alone and I have no plans, that is where I feel the most peaceful right now.
Maybe it’s because I tried to fill up a huge void by always being social. Maybe everything that’s happening in the world right now is too much and I want to control my environment as much as I can. Or maybe it’s just that people change and need different things at different times in their lives.
Whatever the reason, the most important thing is for me to accept that I need to be the quiet friend right now. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
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