Opinion: To All the Friends I Have Lost, I am Fulfilled in My Loneliness

An outstretched hand holds a blue lily, which to some is a symbol of serenity and new beginnings. Sometimes things once deemed painful and unfair in your mind can provide you with the utmost happiness and freedom in the end (Illustration by Phoebe Holm).

Maybe my judgment was too quick. 

I gave individuals who were once in my life more benefit of the doubt than they deserved. I let them get away with too much. I deteriorated my sense of self to be accepted by others. 

There is a sort of sadness in watching one of your friendships crumble before you as you watch all the emotional turmoil you put yourself through go to waste. 

To watch every time you comfort them and push aside important responsibilities for them – all for nothing. I’ve felt this too often throughout my 20 years of life not to be familiar with the pain it creates in both the heart and mind. 

It’s possible there was a flaw in where I allocated my time. 

I miscalculated who truly deserved my energy. It is hard to reflect on all the unreciprocated actions and emotions, to finally understand that those people didn’t truly care for you. In the end, I am to blame for trusting other people with my comfort and thoughts. 

Maybe the loss of these friends was a sign from whatever higher power rests above. Maybe it saw the unhealthiness of my bonds and saw that I was being taken advantage of emotionally. 

Maybe it was simply my own personal will taking control of my life again. 

I am not trying to sound cynical. I don’t seek to denounce relationships and friendships. Sometimes those things are the only good and positive divisions of people’s lives. But, that is not the case for me; it has been revealed that they are not for me. 

I understand that I was and still am a difficult person. I am not here to say that I have never made a mistake or been selfish from time to time; to act like I am holier than thou. There were things that I did to upset my friends – to strain those friendships. 

I am not innocent. 

In many moments I crumbled under the pressure of everything and my unfavorable behavior arose from continuous negativity strewn upon me.

People can feel however they want towards me for sticking up for myself and setting boundaries. 

I will no longer be okay with violations of my mental health or being the brunt of gossip and hateful words. I will no longer allow myself to feel used. I am sick and tired of being “the friend group’s therapist,” constantly having to regulate others’ emotions rather than focusing on my own, slowly watching them deteriorate, both mentally and physically harming me.

The negative of my old friendships now outweighs the positive. 

I still think of my friends and the memories I made with them in quiet moments, but my mind is now filled with disdain. I feel a sort of resentment towards them. They don’t have the right to think about me and I don’t want to be reminded of them.

I would have predicted the opposite revelation, that I would feel rage and then come to a sense of clarity. Instead, here I sit, now fully understanding how much those individuals treated me and how they truly hurt me. 

These are not the five steps of grief I am familiar with.  

There is no desire in me to have these people come into harm or any sort of anguish. There is still hope that they are doing well. But, I do hope that they recognize the wrong they have done. Not only to me, but to everyone they have belittled, treated with disrespect, used or directed any sort of negativity towards.

An organic yellow shape struggles to fit into the empty space in the puzzle. It’s hard to feel at peace within a group of people that has been so unwelcoming and harsh in their judgments (Illustration by Phoebe Holm).

Grand scheme and all, it seems like every phase of my life has been ruled by an instant rejection from my peers without any action on my part. I just exist – and it’s simply too much for people. Judgments from others just come too quickly to me. I get no chance to prove myself to anyone. The amount of emptiness I feel in a room of my peers is disheartening. 

As cliche as it sounds, I have never felt like I fit in.

There is a sort of shame I feel for allowing people to make me feel this way. It makes me want to scream at myself rather than my tormentors; those who look down upon me. To wake up some sort of sense in myself, to help me escape from the turmoil of emotions I was put through. 

In preschool I found myself being called ugly by my peers, simply for putting on a princess dress and having short hair, to the point I cut it shorter myself in protest. In kindergarten I was too boyish, none of the girls would talk to me for weeks on end. In elementary school I found myself feeling ugly again, constantly ridiculed by backhanded comments made by female classmates. Tormented for my appearance. 

When I talked about how I felt, people told me I was being dramatic. If I tried to mediate disagreements or said drama, I was controlling.

Childhood mementos lay scattered as a symbol of innocence. They represent the heartbreak caused when childhood is muddled by the cruel words of one’s peers and social media (Illustration by Phoebe Holm).

In middle school, I was the new girl who came from a small charter school. No one wanted to talk to me until it was obvious I was the last open option for a friend. I was dragged into endless, emotionally draining friend groups and used as the scapegoat when things got difficult. I was to blame for every issue, even when I simply tried to avoid the drama. 

High school was when the concept of loneliness became comforting – when it sounded like the best option. I had no friends in the last two years of my high school career, and it was the happiest I had been.

When I came to college, socialization seemed to be the only thing that could potentially keep me here. There was a desire inside me to have social bonds – to deal with the fact that I was so far away from home. I let myself get caught up in meaningless drama, trapped by a need for the validation of others. 

I crafted a completely fake personality for myself, a fake reality. The people here only knew about ten percent of my real personality, I buried the rest of it deep. 

Then an awakening occurred within my mind and soul. After a handful of unsavory experiences, satisfying that perfectly crafted facade wasn’t fun anymore; it was emotionally exhausting. I realized that these people didn’t care about the real me, and had no desire to seek her out.

Then I remembered the same thing that constantly circulated in my mind after my sophomore year of high school. To remind myself that I have experienced bullying too often in my life to let it rule me in my young adult years.

Loneliness is fun. It is comforting. 

So from this point forward, I will be content with my present loneliness. Within my loneliness, I have made strides to better understand who I am and what I truly want from my life and from myself. Without having to focus on friendships, I have been able to focus on creating art, reading books, writing, journaling, watching movies and a whole other slew of amazing things I once gave up. 

I have been able to make deeper connections with a person who truly loves every piece of me. I have had the amazing opportunity to be more focused on my family. Even with the great distance between us, I have had the ability to help them in a number of ways. As selfish or conceited as it may sound, focusing on yourself can be very rewarding. 

A figure drawn to represent the author is surrounded by imagery of things she loves. Since accepting loneliness as something rewarding, she has had the time to delve into these passions and hobbies, and truly make them her own (Illustration by Phoebe Holm).

Friendships, especially those that have been lost, teach us a lot about what we must give up and what we must hold close to our hearts. It teaches us the importance of focusing on yourself and drawing a harsh boundary between the feelings of others and your own.

Sometimes the loss of friends can be freeing. 

About Phoebe Holm 19 Articles
Phoebe Holm is a junior from Boyne City, Michigan and a psychology major at Albion College. She is interested in understanding the human mind, writing about things that make her passionate and creating art. You can always find her listening to music and watching movies. Contact Phoebe via email at PJH12@albion.edu


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