Artificial Friends

Because I have recently moved away from my last community of  friends, and because I am very hesitant to reach out to local friends, I spend a good deal of time alone these days. The problem is that we weren’t really made to function well in isolation- we are wired for friendship, for love, and for connection. So what happens to people when they don’t get enough of those things? We improvise.

In my case, I’m creating false relationships with real people, and allowing myself to believe that I am growing to know them better through our continued, one-sided interactions. In layman’s terms: I’m binge-watching YouTube.

*sigh* I realize that this sounds pathetic, and it probably is, but it is working in the immediate term. I get to hear voices that aren’t mine, thoughts that aren’t mine. I get to laugh along with others and watch them learn new things. It’s like being in a group, but from the outside.

In a lot of ways, it’s just like my real life social interactions throughout most of my school career. I was present, at the edge of the group or in the circle, and I listened to other people talk. I laughed when they laughed, and I remembered what they said. I learned more about who they were, and I was there for a lot of their experiences, but I never really belonged. There is a real reason that I’m saying that, besides baseless sadness; I have actual proof that my friendship wasn’t really valuable to the people that I thought were my friends, and it has haunted me for 16 years now.

I need to move on. But it hurts.


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