Learning to Adult: Relationships are Hard

For the few of you who clicked on this because you were hoping I was going to spill my guts about some gossip-filled love story, I’m sorry.

I don’t have a whole lot of experience in romantic relationships. I don’t really have a lot of experience in many other types of relationships, either. I mean, I have friends. One time I even managed to (briefly) have a boyfriend. I obviously have built relationships with different family members and coworkers and professors and fellow students and colleagues. But those “relationships,” save for a few, seem to be be rather…limited.

I love my friends. I love my family. I enjoy having conversations with most of my coworkers. But I don’t know most of them, and they certainly don’t know me. I can’t be entirely sure, but from what I’ve gathered there are a few things that most of the people I know seem to think they “know” about me:

  • “You’re such a smart girl.” – I get this one a lot. And while I will say that I know what I know because of good professors, good resources, semi-decent genes, and hard work, I will always emphasize that I am not as smart as people tend to think I am. This is usually met with protests and the friend/coworker/distant relative trying to get me to “admit” that I’m highly intelligent, like I’m harboring an essential piece of information.
  • “You’re so sweet!” – Thank you? I strive to be a decent human being and, unless I’ve missed something, I was under the impression that such a standard requires one to follow most social expectations a majority of the time. You know, the occasional smile and “how are you today?” and the ability to think about someone other than oneself every now and then.
  • “You are such a great communicator!” – Ha. Haha. Right. In a work setting? I try. In a classroom setting? Most of the time. In a relationship? Forget it. I never know how to properly convey what I’m thinking, so I usually stumble for words that make at least a little bit of sense. Either that or I get super passive aggressive. It’s real cute.

But even though almost all of the people I know throw these wonderful compliments at me and seem to think I’m such a wonderful person, I only have a deep and meaningful relationship with a small handful of them. And it’s not because I don’t want to have good relationships with the people around me. I just don’t really know what healthy relationships look like, and I honestly find it a lot easier to spend my time working on what I know how to do well: work, study, write, and other things that are typically more independent tasks.

That being said, I’m trying. Kind of. I’ve spent a few nights hanging out with my closest friend from high school. I’ve been trying to spend more time with my family. I’ve been trying to spend more time talking to my friends that live outside of Michigan. I’m spending more time catching up with some YouTube friends I’ve lost touch with. I’ve even started hanging out with a new friend from work.

But at the end of the day, I feel like I’m failing someone. If it’s not one of these friends or family members, I feel like I’m failing myself. I am not an extrovert. As much as I love people, I need time to recharge my social batteries at the end of the day. I used to be good about giving myself that time to rest and recharge, but lately that hasn’t been the case. On top of work, YouTube, blogging, preparing to move to England, trying to take care of my body, and trying to build and maintain old and new relationships, I’m exhausted. I know I need to find a balance somewhere, but right now I’m really struggling to find it.

How do I find the time to get everything done, still be a good friend, and maintain my personal health? I am blessed to have so many wonderful people around me, and I’m trying to learn how to navigate these relationships. But I’m afraid of failing not just myself but the people I love.

Relationships are hard, but part of me has to believe that they are worth the effort, even when I feel like I’m failing.

One thought on “Learning to Adult: Relationships are Hard

  1. You are doing good work by exploring ways to find that balance. Balance is hard and falls a different place for everyone. You can only figure it out by hard work. I’m glad it sounds like you are trying not to neglect your temperament’s needs by meeting other needs. They are all important.

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