hi everyone. I guess what i’m here for is a chance to possibly be heard when it seems like I haven’t been, no matter how many times i’ve spoken up. I (F19) currently have a relatively large friend group, but it’s kind of divided up into section. i’ve tried so hard with a specific part of the group, and when i’ve gotten the chance to i’ve poured my heart out to them about my anxiety and fear of being unwanted. they promise that’s not the case and that they genuinely enjoy my presence. however, they continuously don’t invite me to hangouts or anything ever. I bet your first thought is that I’m probably just victimizing myself and I may actually just be the problem, and you could be right. but I could swear to you that I do everything within my power to adhere to their standards and be the perfect person to fit there group. I just don’t think i’m enough. i’m not worth knowing either. I struggle with really bad anxiety and they know that. I just don’t think they care. I don’t think anyone has ever cared enough. I don’t know what to do about it anymore. i’m getting pushed further and further into isolation honestly.
May I ask you to do something? Read this sentence you wrote again and pretend it wasn’t you who wrote it but a close friend. If they told you they were trying so hard not to be themselves but to be everything these people want them to be, what would your advise be? To try even harder?
There is a risk in being authentic, so who you truly are, and not the person you think someone else wants you to be, because you might be rejected and this hurts a lot. It might seem convenient to hide, but the truth is, being you is a natural filter. People who don’t match your authentic self will automatically stay away. And those who appreciate you for who you truly are - not the person you pretend to be - will stick around.
What is your priority? Being your true self or pretend to be someone you think others might like?
Does being your true self sound impossible because you think that no one will like you when they get to see who you truly are? I can assure you that you are so very lovable. I am aware though that me writing this won’t change your self-perception. Because this is a deeper issue:
That no one ever cared enough doesn’t mean you aren’t enough or not worth knowing. It is heartbreaking that you weren’t cared for enough. There should have been people around who love you, care for you, support you - in all the ways you needed them to. The lack of these things has a profound effect on our development and our mental health.
No matter what happened that shouldn’t have happened and no matter what didn’t happened but should have happened, you are enough and you are worth knowing.
What about you? Do you care about yourself? Are you kind to yourself and self-compassionate or do you beat yourself up? Do you listen to yourself or do you neglect yourself? Are you understanding and would you give yourself a hug?
I am sorry that you’re feeling increasingly isolated and unwanted and left out. It is tough to challenge the negative self-beliefs that underlie these difficult feelings.
What are your options right now to help improve your situation? Could you talk to this part of your friend group why they didn’t ask you to join their hangouts? You don’t have to confront them, but maybe just ask if they had fun and then ask a follow-up question.
Since you wrote that you’re trying so hard to please them, wouldn’t it be nice to hang out with people who appreciate for who you are so that you can just be yourself?
Neither do I think that, nor do I think that you’re victimizing yourself, nor that you are the problem. You are not the problem. I think that chances are you went through very rough times at a young age, having caused you anxiety along with very negative self-beliefs. These beliefs are there because of past experiences and not because they are true.
Dealing with people is tough. It is great that you kept socializing given your anxiety. This is amazing. Don’t minimize your courage.
You are enough.
Please know that you are more than enough. And know that you are valued for just who you are. It’s not easy and it’s not fun trying to meet the expectations of others or what you feel are the expectations of others. Please be who you are, be your wonderful you. Reach out to others if you can. But the best thing you can do is be the you that you are comfortable being - the real you. And I believe that the real you is worth more than you realize.
Megs_26 responded to your post today live on stream with some wonderful words of encouragement and support. She also made some paper cranes to encourage you!
Here is a video of her response and crafting the paper cranes for you to watch anytime you need some encouragement!
Hi Friend, I have a big fear of abandonment and rejection so I can relate to what you’re going thru. Often times, I’ll feel like I’m not enough or that I’m too much and think that I’m not liked because of it. I try to remember the nice things my friends have said to me and I’ll actually save some of them to read again if I need to. It really helps me. You said your friends care about you and genuinely enjoy your company. Remember that because you are enough just the way you are, you don’t have to be who you think they want you to be. That’s not what true friends want, they want you to be you. Don’t be afraid to be you. Take care ~Mystrose
From: Dr Hogarth
The sense of belonging is such an important one, and without it, it is easy to feel lost and at odds with the world. The thing that stuck out most to me in your post is the amount you are trying to adhere to some group norm to please these friends. I think this can be problematic on two fronts: firstly, no one should try to be someone else and adhere to artificial rules in order to maintain a friendship; secondly, when we try to pretend we are someone else, it is possible to inadvertently push others away by creating a barrier between them and the real you.
Finding genuine friendships, where you are truly accepted for who you are and on your own terms, can take time to find. My advice would be to be authentic and true to yourself with the group of friends you have; stop adhering to the rules. If you continue to feel distant, perhaps it’s time to find a different friendship group who genuninely care for you. Those people exist, I promise you.
You are seen and heard my friend x
Hi Friend, welcome to Heartsupport and thank your for your post. I found some of your post really sad in some ways as made me remember times when I was younger and had similar thoughts and saw others that also felt the same way. I don’t think its an unusual thing to be concerned about fitting in however the problem arises I guess when you feel like you have to try so hard that you have to behave a different way or change yourself because. I think you are really brave to share with your friends that you have anxiety issues, its hard to tell people about that and make them understand especially if they have never had those problems themselves. My first thought was not that you were victimising youself at all by the way it was actually that although your friends say they were ok with it, it may be that they may not understand it and sometimes lack of understanding causes a type of fear. Now none of that may be the case but Friendship is not meant to be hard work. Yes you have to work at friendships but that is meant to be fun not stressful so if you are not enjoying these friends maybe its time to look for some new ones? either way you have found some new and non judgemental friends here and we are here for you. Much Love Lisalovesfeathers. x
I am sorry that you suffer from such anxiety but it’s great to hear that you have a large group of friends. I am wondering why you feel like you have to try so hard. If you feel like they are your friends and you can trust their word, then maybe you could try to believe them when they say they enjoy your presence.
My first thought as to why they might not invite you often is that they know you suffer from anxiety and might worry meetings with large groups could increase that.
My second thought is try to be yourself and not somebody you think others want you to be.
You don’t have to adhere to their standards or be the perfect person. They cannot get to know you and become closer friends with you if you try to be someone you are not. A therapist once told me “Nobody is perfect” and “perfect is boring”. If you try so hard to fit in and be like them, then you also cannot bring anything new into the group. You could tell yourself I am not perfect, but I am interesting. Be authentic, be genuine, be unique. Allow yourself to make mistakes, be silly, be clumsy, be true to yourself. You said it yourself in the title of your post: trying to be someone you are not is very exhausting.
I really hope you can realise that you are a great person in your own way. You don’t have to change to be loved and liked by others. If people don’t like you for who you are they are not worth it. But you have not given them a chance to meet the real You yet.
Hi friend, I have an old video of Danjo talking about going through the same kind of situation…and then realizing these friends weren’t what was best for him in the long run because he wasn’t being true to himself.
Your friends should [and will] love you for who you are as yourself and you don’t need to change for other people. I think this comes a little more with age, you’ll learn the best ways to treat yourself and how to demand to be treated better by others as you gain more experience with different types of people who do and don’t treat you how you should be treated.
This is not an issue with you not being enough, I promise. There are plenty of people with bad anxiety [myself included, I have a dissociative disorder triggered by not only anxiety, but also excitement and happiness too] who have loads of friends who love them as they are…and you are deserving of friendships like that! You just might need to look in different places to find what you’re needing.
I think it might be freeing for you to just let go of other’s expectations and just be you. You can’t control what others think, no matter how hard you try…you can only control yourself and your own thoughts…so try starting there and you’ll flourish