Advice Fair-EE: "I was homeschooled and now have trouble making friends."
And she's here to answer your burning questions, soothe your aching heart and fix you up right quick!
Think of her as your very own Fair-EE Godmother Life Coach. She gives you free advice sprinkled with pixie dust and WHO DOESN'T NEED A LITTLE PIXIE DUST?
Do you need frEE advice? Send email to the address listed on this blog's Contact page with subject line: "Advice Fair-EE."
I can't wait to SPRINKLE YOU WITH COOKIE BUTTER...I mean. Pixie dust. (did I just betray my secret habit for cookie butter? Methinks I did. AHEM. Let's just keep that between you & me, k? K!)
*Boring But Necessary Disclaimer: Since many of the questions I receive are similar, I may combine some in order to answer more efficiently. All names and identifying details are changed to protect anonymity. I am not a licensed therapist. The advice I give is based on my own experience. Take what helps you, leave the rest! BOOM CHICKA ROCKA CHICKA BOOM. Disclaimer Finito.*
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Dear Advice Fair-EE, I was Christian homeschooled from kindergarten through high school. I had a great experience but now that I'm in college, I struggle making friends. Often, I'm confused by people's behavior. For example, I have this classmate who keeps saying we're "friends" and that she "totally wants to hang out," but every time I text her, she's busy. Then I'll see her on Instagram hanging out with other people on the very same day she'd said she was "too busy" for me. This has happened more than once. I was taught to persevere in relationships and to keep trying no matter what. But it's like the harder I try, the more she pushes me away. Is there something wrong with me? Should I ask her why I wasn't invited? Or is she just SAYING we're friends but she doesn't mean it? Sincerely, Feeling Left Out
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Dear Left Out,
Rejection is the worst feeling! I'm so sorry this is happening to you. And you're right, it's very confusing when so-called "friends" say they wanna hang out but never make good on that. If you were raised by serious Christians, you were taught that your yes means yes and your no means no. It can be confusing to discover that mainstream Americans are very casual with their speech and that "yeah, I totally wanna hang out" sometimes means "maybe, maybe not."
To make things worse, in the age of Instagram, we no longer have to wonder whether we're being left out--we get to SEE everyone at a party we didn't even know was happening. Ouch.
After I left fundamentalism, I had a hard time making friends, too. I want to encourage you to watch actions rather than words. I've discovered that many people will say all kinds of BFF! Forever! stuff. But that means nothing unless they show up. Love is action. A good friend is someone whose actions match their words.
And since you deserve true friends, give your time and attention to people who make you feel refreshed, happy and peaceful. If you leave feeling drained, upset or confused please pay attention to those feelings. There's a reason why you're feeling that way: that "friend" probably isn't a real friend. A true friend won't leave you hanging, make you second-guess their intentions or ignore you.
The good news is that your happiness is not held captive in a bad friend's hands. You can walk away. You can choose new friends. You are not required to stay in a friendship that does not feed, respect or nourish you. I wouldn't suggest confronting this "friend" as that will probably only result in you feeling worse. She has shown you the kind of friend she is. As Maya Angelou once said, "When people show you who they are, believe them."
I know this is probably really hard to hear. But take heart! Since you were raised to persevere in relationships, you know what it takes to be a good friend. Don't squander your precious energy on people who will throw away the gift of your friendship. Instead, honor yourself by doing what you like to do, being around people who make you feel good and giving your friendship to those who show up for you.
Much love & pixie-dust, Advice Fair-EE
Dear Reader: do you further advice or encouragement for Feeling Left Out? Feel free to leave a kind comment. xo.