I find it hard to tell people exactly how much they mean to me. This is probably because I have two sides to me that seem to be constantly fighting: my over-emotional loving side, and my reserved, anxious side. Sometimes I just want to collectively wrap all my friends up in an Elastigirl-esque hug and appreciate the eff out of them. But in the actual reality of the moment, I find myself not wanting to engage in the actual awkwardness of such a situation.
The way we’re brought up has made most people exceptionally bad at taking compliments and that’s basically what it is to tell a friend you love them. It means a lot when someone enjoys spending time with you, cares about your well being, and would willingly listen to every story and complaint you ever have. That’s a small part of what my love for my friends is. I just kind of sit around and hope it’s understood by my friends that I care about them, but I guess it’s also nice to say it. It’s nice to tell someone you care and you love them and you appreciate them. It is, however, easier to keep that unsaid, rather than making a moment gushy or potentially being that overemotional friend or “showing your cards” so to speak, and letting someone know that you care without knowing how they feel.
Is it weird to feel that way about friends? With work and school and generally busier lives, I find myself without the regular hangouts that elementary and high school allowed for, whether it be on the playground or at lunch or working on projects, and now there are those friends with whom a little too much time goes by without even talking. But I still care about them. And when so much time goes by and when we don’t have those late night confessionals that preteen sleepovers allowed for, it’s harder to be open and honest and pinpoint what someone else is feeling. So I get self conscious- if I haven’t seen a friend in a while or they live in a different country or our text convo has petered off or we only see each other once a month or every few months, do they still care about me? What will happen if I tell them I care? Will they have thought that our friendship has disappeared and wonder why I’m so lame to still be hanging on to the past? Am I Gatsby?
I get into these thought-spirals a lot. I know it’s ridiculous. And now, it’s Esther Day, when you’re supposed to celebrate the platonic love that I know exists so deeply in my friendships. There’s so many unique people that I am lucky to call my friends and I am eternally grateful for that. I love that in our busy lives, so much time can go by and we can still come back and be our authentic wonderful selves with each other. Our conversations range from thought-provoking to witty to the stupidest stories. And spending time with the people I care about makes me remember why I’m so happy to live this life.
So why is that so hard to say that to their faces? Writing this, feeling so happy and full of love, I don’t know. I’ll probably shoot off some messages later tonight telling my friends how much I love them and find myself writing all in lower case and abbreviations and adding in emojis to mask my vulnerability.
Love is a tricky thing. But what a wonderful problem it is, not knowing how to properly express the love I feel for my friends. I hope, even if I fail to send each of them a message, that they know how much they mean to me. So much love exists without being expressed, so I hope everyone knows how much they’re loved.
Happy Esther Day!