The other day, I had to comfort my daughter. She had grown close to someone – a fellow artist, no less. However, this friend had started to chat more with other people and not respond to her own online conversations, so she was feeling deserted. I told her that this is a big part of life – those people who you think might be your friend may not stick around very long.
In some ways, I’m happy that she’s learning this lesson early. It will prepare her for the real world, when she gets out there to interact with a wider variety of people. A good majority of people out there just won’t care about her one way or another. Others may pretend to be her friend just so they can get something out of her. And yes, there are a precious few people who may actually show signs of being a close friend. The kind of “buddy” that you think you can grow old with.
But as I’ve often said, a friend is just an enemy who hasn’t stabbed you in the back yet.
Maybe I’m just bitter and jaded because of my own experiences. But I would say that, outside of my immediate family, I don’t really have any friends. None that I would regard as close, at least. I see the occasional posts about how a good buddy will be the one sitting next to you in a jail cell, or I’ll read about friends who met in kindergarten and stuck together ever since. But I can’t say I’ve ever experienced that, really. Just when you open up and get close to someone, they leave you.
Have you ever seen the movie “Ralph Breaks The Internet?” I don’t like that film because it hits a little too close to home. Yes, it’s a good lesson about how friends grow apart sometimes – they will have opportunities come up that allows them to move on to a better life. And you feel happy for them. But then you realize that you’re alone again, left to pick up the wreckage of a failed relationship.
Yes, they moved on to something better. But the implication to that is that you were part of something worse, in their eyes. Even if you were the best thing they had in their trying times, they still found something better to move on to – something that doesn’t include you.
This is one of the reasons why introverts have so few friends. It takes a lot of time and emotional investment to find those few people that can be trusted to allow into the “inner circle,” as it were. Introverts – especially those introspective, thoughtful ones – keep their cards close to their chest and only show them to those they trust. And it can be hard to earn the trust of an introvert.
Especially one that has been betrayed before. If they allow someone to grow close, and then they leave, then what was the point of becoming friends in the first place? What’s the point of letting anyone grow close if it is never going to work out? Basically, the introvert will grow bitter and alone in their isolation, because they get to the point where they can’t really trust anyone.
Kind of like me.
When it comes to writing challenges, I would have to say that my biggest one would be in writing relationships. I write the kinds of relationships I’d like to see and have – the kinds where people trust each other and respect each other even if they have different beliefs. Unfortunately, I don’t have any idea if these kinds of relationships are realistic, since – except for my wife – I haven’t really had anything like this. I’m only going off what I’ve read and seen in books and movies.
“Write what you know,” they said. But I don’t know relationships.
I know that there are a lot of writers who also tend to be introverts, so I’m curious to know how they overcome this obstacle. What do they do when their characters meet? Become friends? Fall in love? How can you create a believable relationship? How do you make friends?
Feel free to respond here, or on my Facebook page. I am genuinely curious to know what you come up with! And thanks for reading!