Throughout my life I’ve felt it necessary to classify my relationships with others. Maybe the labels help with boundaries, maybe they encourage certain actions, maybe they keep me distant as a means of self-protection. Whatever the reasons why, I’ve never been one to consider myself to have many close friends.

Whether from circumstance, doubt about my own self-worth, or on some level wanting to be seen as aloof or elite, I find it much easier to open up to the void of strangers than to volunteer information to those close to me. At times these feelings lead to some measure of awkwardness, though hopefully just on my end and not the others’s.

I would ask you to think about someone declaring their love for you, an emotion you do not reciprocate. How odd, uncomfortable, and even perhaps jarring. For some it may be flattering, but if you take that anxiety and other negative emotions, that’s what happens inside my heart almost every time someone tells me that we’re friends, even people I’ve known for a decade.

There’s guilt for not necessarily feeling the same, fear that my lack of reciprocation will hurt them, doubt that I’m worthy of such, and confusion as to how they got to that emotional landmark when I hadn’t.

Thinking about all of this makes me reflect on the inverse situation, where I feel connected or a kinship with others who do not share those feelings. Maybe that’s where the labels come in – if someone isn’t in the “friend” category than obviously I don’t actually care for them that much and I can convince myself that the feelings will pass. Maybe something like that, sometimes emotions are a real pain to accurately describe.

I suppose recent events just have me really looking hard at my relationships, however few or one-sided, and trying to figure out how to improve them, become comfortable with where things are, or being in a reality check for those I genuinely don’t feel close to.

Good night, readers.