Making friends today can often feel less about connecting with someone who is similar to you and more about marketing a façade to sell the best version of yourself to attract who you think will help you look best in your circle. We are just about numb to the difference between how things look and how things feel.
Having a guard up is standard. We keep things hidden because we don’t want to drop the burden of not being perfect in the eyes of someone close to us; which realistically is never a true version because none of us are perfect. We don’t want them to have to deal with the atrocity of loving us as we are. So we all stash our failures and our weaknesses and our shame in a closet and then walk around like it doesn’t exist – plagued by it only when we’re not distracted enough by a screen, a tweet or filtered photo to remember what’s real.
Most of the time, nothing in that closet is huge, dramatic, over the top or any different from what somebody else has stashed away. They’re just little pieces of our imperfect-selves. Human, normal, yet very honest.
Yet we struggle with anxiety, in various forms. What would happen if our demons were unleashed and every skeleton in that closet was exposed?
Truth be told we are controlled by what we hide. Real friendship is about creating a bond with someone who will love you and all your honest parts, unfavorable parts, insecure parts, etc. It’s about having someone who will love you for your authentic self, not just the collection of pixels that become your image.
Our friends can be kind and loyal and dependable, and yet we still feel the need to play a role. We need to seem like we’re always brave, independent and not in need of any kind of support or encouragement.
When we finally find good, solid, three-dimensional, trustworthy people, and we’re so happy to have them in our lives yet so worried about losing them that we clam up. We make it seem like we’re happy, open and we got everything under control. We’re afraid to have to count on our friends for the very thing that friends are made for – loving us in spite of our ugly parts. We don’t want to scare our friends off or make them think that we’re too much of a hot mess to be friends with, so we fool them. And we fool ourselves.
We can avoid looking in the mirror, and we can avoid acknowledging who we truly are. instead of having to face our deepest insecurities and our darkest feelings of self-hatred, we can just live in a temporary dream world where we act and behave like the type of person we’ve always wanted to be, and we wonder why we stumble through our adult lives feeling unfulfilled, confused, insecure and uncertain.
We’re putting on an act for our friends, but we’re also putting on an act for ourselves. We are willing to share so much information about our lives with hundreds or thousands of people every day, most of whom we barely even know on our social media sites at the tap of a button, we can tell people about our new job or our latest accomplishment or something funny that we witnessed on the street. However, when it comes to being honest and genuine with someone who actually knows us and cares about us we convince ourselves that we would just be a strain. A burden. An embarrassment.
This is what friendships are like in 2015. They’re careful and hesitant and wary. They’re smooth on the surface. But they have a chance to be so much more. So much deeper. So much more meaningful and beneficial in our everyday lives. They can be better than perfect – they can be messy and rocky and ugly, which will lead them to be honest, genuine and true.
If we’re not willing to open up and be real or as we all say “keep it 100” about every single part of ourselves, including the ugly parts, we’re going to be left with the smooth, shallow, weak, lukewarm friendships. Our friends will be truly missing out on who we really are because they will only be left with the version of us that doesn’t actually exist at that my friend is living a lie!