What To Do When You Find Yourself Friendless

Recently I found myself absolutely friendless. I looked around me and evaluated every relationship I have with everyone and came to the conclusion that I no longer have any true friends. You may be thinking I am an old woman who left friendship behind for a family and a 9 to 5 job, but my situation is the complete opposite. I am 19 years old and am a full-time college student with a part-time job. Most people who relate to me in these three categories would spend their free time at a party or with friends doing whatever it is social people do.

If you are like me and find yourself friendless at a young age, you’ll know what that moment of truth feels like. The second I came to terms with my friendlessness, it was like the earth quaked and a boulder twice the size of me rose out of the ground blocking my path. When I think about my current friendlessness, that boulder is still there, staring me down. I have never been one for a staring contest, so I’ve decided to create my own path around this towering issue.

I am a very antisocial person and I always have been. When I was in first grade, my teacher wrote a note to my parents saying I needed to be more sociable. You know you’re doing something wrong when you actually get in trouble for not wanting to talk to people. What can I say? People were scary back then and they’re scary now. My mom still tells me frequently that I should make more friends and stop living this “all work no play” lifestyle. What she doesn’t know is that this is how I cope with being unable to find friends.

During my senior year of high school, I worked two jobs and took some college classes at my local campus. It pains me how easy it is to type that sentence because my life felt like I was running on a treadmill at maximum speed even when I was sleeping. I worked so much I had dreams about it. But by working hard, I was able to make up for not having a social life. I didn’t have time to make plans with people except every once in a blue moon when I had the whole day off. Because I worked so much, I didn’t even want to get out of bed on my days off.

You may be thinking this is impossible for you to do for all kinds of reasons, which is why I have a backup plan. I don’t work two jobs anymore and I’m not in high school so I have a lot more free time. Once I started getting that free time, the boulder came back and towered even higher than before. I spent days on end trying to occupy myself by playing video games and watching reruns of my favorite shows. By now, I’ve logged 200 hours in Skyrim and seen every season of Supernatural at least 3 times. Then, one day, I had my eye-opening moment.

Everyone has a dream. You may want to be a doctor or an artist or a traveler. I have always wanted to be a writer that travels the world. I decided I wasn’t going to log another several hundred hours in Skyrim but instead use that time to achieve the dream I always had. When I was young, I wrote tons of poetry. With my new free time, I wrote newer and better poems and edited the old ones to be just as good. I also started working on short stories, both fiction and nonfiction, and I even created this blog. I want to start freelance writing soon and I have already begun researching websites that specialize in finding jobs for freelancers. Once this becomes my main source of income, I plan to start traveling and find opportunities in new cities.

All of this started with Google. Instead of scrolling through Instagram, hating everyone that had friends, I did research on being a writer and how to make money doing it. I read countless articles and even went to the library recently to get some books on how to write. I picked up “How To Write Articles That Sell,” a book by L. Perry Wilbur and Jon Samsel that is very detailed and extremely helpful. In just a few months of being friendless and bored, I have learned more about writing and traveling than I ever would have learned from school or friends.

My point is this: find something you love and stick to it. I can’t express how many times people told me I wouldn’t make money writing or that it is unrealistic. I kept saying that if it was that hard then I would just work harder. I didn’t care what anybody said about my passions because they made me happy and reduced my need for friendship. Please keep in mind that if by not having a social life you are extremely unhappy or unable to move on, you should not be listening to me.

Please keep in mind that if by not having a social life you are extremely unhappy or unable to move on, you should not be listening to me. If you have nothing else to lose, give your passions a go. Since I decided to pursue my dreams, I have made a few friends that share some interests with me. My tip for making friends quickly is to just casually insert yourself into their conversation. I made my first friend in college by eavesdropping on her conversation with another girl in our class and voicing my opinion on what they were talking about. This only works if the conversation is happening right next to you and if you talk to them casually. Don’t make it seem like you’re trying to talk to them. Act like you just happened to hear them and wanted to throw your two cents in. This may not work every time and some people might look at you funny, but if they do, they aren’t the kind of people you should be friends with. People generally adapt to their surroundings and if you start talking to them, they’ll talk to you instinctively. If that doesn’t work for you, you should start giving your passions some thought.

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New Year

As I walk into the doors of my part-time job, I see many recognizable faces. I see my boss, Christine, who’s chatting with a customer. I see Linda, trying to figure out which shoe goes in which box. I see that woman in charge of security who never acknowledges my existence when I pass her. I’ve been at my job for five months now. I don’t hate it, but I don’t love it. I just keep on clocking in, doing my work, and going home.

Tomorrow, a brand new school year will start. Everyone will be awake before dawn. Students will be yawning during first period. Teachers will be handing out new textbooks. I used to be the one that was awake before dawn, yawning, and saying I want to go back to bed. Recently, I find myself, diploma in hand, staring at the mirror and wondering, “What will it be like without me?” Will it play out as every year does? The volleyball team will win a few games but never go to the championships, as opposed to the basketball team which will take the gold. There won’t be more than ten students at homecoming or prom. The ones that do go will pick out a table far in the corner and sit down to chat all night. I’ll probably never understand why anybody wants to go to a dance to do the exact opposite. There might be a couple new faces in the halls and there will probably be a few missing. The girl who’s only friend was a senior now walks to class alone.

Do I have it all wrong? Maybe the volleyball team will go to the championships and win like they did five years ago. Maybe more people will go to prom. I just can’t seem to stop myself from wondering what I’m missing. Here I am, the valedictorian of my graduating class, working in retail while the juvenile halls forget the soles of my shoes that strode across them. Here I am, ringing up a floral top and a long black skirt, while the gossip whispered by tenth graders is left unheard by my ears. Here I am, convincing a woman this purse is a great brand for reasons X, Y, and Z, while someone else’s car kicks up the gravel of the student parking lot.

Tomorrow will be the first morning that I don’t find myself tearing into a new pack of pens that will probably be lost in a week. It will be the first morning that I don’t step out of my Buick and see all the high schoolers walking to class. I won’t see that tall kid with the orange hair that always said hello and called me “Miss Emily” which in return I’d scold him and say, “I’m not old enough to be called ‘Miss,'” although I always secretly liked feeling authoritative. Soon enough the school dances will come around and I will not be there to decorate the gymnasium with tacky streamers and dollar store table clothes. I won’t look around to see the middle schoolers hanging plastic stars above the doorway nor the one girl who’d ditch her star-hanging friends to create the cutesy table centerpieces. Instead, I’ll be at my not first but second job, folding t-shirts and trying to sell more handbags.

Soon enough, the soles of younger shoes will meet the halls I once walked through. New students will receive the bone-shaking lectures of our principal a few times throughout the year. Nobody will be taking the headmaster seriously, and they never will. A new teacher will make the yearbook and a new graduating class will be featured in its pages. I might stop by one day to visit my favorite English teacher and the faces I don’t recognize will be trying to piece together who I am and why I am there. The faces I do know will wonder why I ever came back. They all will be trying to remember the answers to their tests or cheating off their neighbor’s paper. I’ll keep on selling handbags.

Settling Down

I put the key into the ignition and as it clicks into place, anticipation radiates from my 2005 Buick Century. Cars may or may not like driving. This one, and I know this is true, likes the way the breeze moves against its sides as it cuts through it like the sharpest blade in the knife block. Nobody ever stops feeling thrill, not even my car. But it definitely has seen better times, and it slowly but surely is coming to its end. It doesn’t matter. I love driving my car.
The coffee pot on the counter beside the microwave has a two hour automatic shut off. I live with someone who wakes up exactly one hour and fifty nine minutes before me every morning. Three cabinets on the wall above the coffee pot hold nothing but different brands of the same coffee. For some odd reason, we have too many mugs to fit in the cabinet on the far right yet we put them in there anyway. Two mugs sit on top of the microwave and make small vibration sounds as I cook grits that came from a pocket of recycled paper. Sometimes they don’t vibrate, because sometimes the newly installed bar of light nailed to the underneath of the cabinets on the opposite side of the kitchen make strange popping sounds as if it’s settling or melting slightly when the heat from the bagel in the toaster rises. Those times are better. I can just move the toaster. I have nowhere to put the mugs.
I’ve only read 1/3 of the books on the bookshelf in my room but if you’d ask about it I’d say I’ve read them all twice. The closet doors belonging on the frame of the random depth in my room aren’t even there. They lie in the attic where it is too hot for me to bring them down. I never wanted them anyways. I read five articles I haven’t read before about how to find a career or how to chose one or how to make money. Does every college student do that? Am I even a real college student yet? Anyways, I sit in front of my laptop trying to find the answer to a question that never has and never will exist. Nobody can plan your future for you. I think about how I don’t have a defining moment and I don’t know if I should be worried about that. I wake up in this bedroom in the same bed I’ve been sleeping in since grade 3 and I go to work every day. I’ve never been raped or arrested or fired or in love.
Every day, around 5 but sometimes 4 because I work two jobs and one of them gives me more hours, I’m leaving my house. “See you later,” I say to my mother upon leaving and “Hey, dad,” I say to my father upon arriving. She says “drive safe” or “see you later” or “love you” or all three. He always just says “hey, Emmie.” He only comes in the house three times in the afternoon. Once at 5 when he comes home, once between 7 and 7:30 to make dinner, and lastly at 10 to fall asleep on the couch. This is where he is when I come home.
4:57 P.M. is when I step out of car into the heat of summer and walk roughly forty steps to the front door and then another forty to get to the break room where I let out a heavy sigh and punch in at 4:59 P.M.. “Hey, girl!” Most employees say to me. They don’t remember my name. Most don’t want to. Forty steps back to the front of the store. A sheet of paper with times of day written all over. Emily: 5:00-10:30. Break: 7:15-7:30. Register 2.
I follow its orders and log in to Register 2. The first shitty person of the day walks up to me and probably is on the phone and won’t answer my questions or they want another markdown on something that is already marked down or they interrupt me. Same three questions, over and over again, for five hours. “Hi, how are you today?” “Did you find everything okay?” “Would you like to save 10% and apply for our credit card?”
Over and over and over again until we close. The trash gets taken to the back with the security tags I removed from clothing all day. I straighten the shelves whose only purpose is to make people buy things they don’t need. The soda cooler gets filled with drinks. I might help out in a different department. As I take the trash to the back, I’m riding the cart like a child because usually my foot hurts too much to walk or I need something fun. Tanya is on the aisle with the towels and she’s folding the blue ones. We finally go home and I drive down the road, take a right, another right, go straight, take a left, go straight, take a right, take a right, go straight on curved roads, watch out for wild animals trying to cross the road, take a left, take a slight left, take a right, take a left. My dog sniffs my tires. I wash my face and go to bed. I write a bit or read sometimes but most times I go right to bed.
The day comes that I finally quit my job and start doing what I love. Maybe the articles did help. I don’t make a lot of money but I will if I write five novels a month. Two hundred-sixty novels a year. No more settling down. No more normal life. I don’t even care that I’m broke as hell. As long as I am far away from customers and cash registers and that deer in the woods by my house that always stares at me when I come home. I don’t know why but I always felt as though we were alike in some way. Who am I kidding, it’s just a deer. It’s nothing but an animal I almost ran over. I’m too happy and poor now to care. Now I wear a huge puffy coat in December instead of a thin sweater. Both were gifts.