Friendships during covid and trust issues

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Friendships during covid and trust issues

Unread post by confusedhuman »

So this is something I've been struggling with for a while and I don't know where else to go with this. I am discussing parts of this with my therapist but I'm still not fully comfortable with him yet so I needed a place to ask for advice more or less anonymously.

Background information: I'm a senior in high school, and throughout high school I've been really close friends with two people, who I'll call L and M. They started dating in freshman year, and of course my dumbass fell head over heels for both of them (but not romantically because aro-ness). I finally told them how I felt toward the end of last year just for the sake of full disclosure, and they were incredibly kind and understanding, didn't treat me any differently, still cared about me as a friend, etc. It was also around this time that L and I came out to each other as nonbinary. Around a year and a half ago or so, I found out that L, M, and the rest of my friend group had a group chat on google hangouts which I wasn't a part of. At first I was really hurt by this and thought it was a sign that they didn't actually care about me and only kept me around because they felt bad for me, but over time I figured it was probably because they all live close to one another and I'm the outlier at about a 20 minute drive, and also a lot of them have known each other longer, and some of them have a D&D campaign together.
Now on to the problem. I've always had trouble with intrusive thoughts, especially when it comes to people who I care about. I worry that they only keep me around because they feel bad for me because I don't have any other friends. This doesn't seem like the sort of thing they'd do, but they're certainly compassionate enough for it. One of the main reasons I worry about it is because I have depression, and they're a large part of my support structure. Back before covid times, one of the things I'd often tell them is that they were my reason to keep going and getting up everyday even though it was hell. Now, I worry that they've interpreted that to mean that I'll kill myself if we drift apart, which isn't the case. Some more recent background information: A couple weeks ago I was messaging with L and they disclosed to me that they've been struggling with depression recently what with the pandemic and everything. They're in the process of getting help but asked me not to disclose their situation (hence why I can't talk about this irl). Part of the conversation we had was pretty dark and talked about suicide, and I told them the same thing that they'd told me a year or so prior: If they wouldn't stay alive for themselves, stay alive for me. It's kinda a shitty situation that we're not living for ourselves, but we're working through it. The problem is that I'm worried that they don't actually care about me. I know it's completely irrational, given what they've said and done and that they've actively reached out to me several times, but I can't make the thoughts go away. It also doesn't help that I tend to be the one reaching out first, so I worry that I'm bothering them. I just latch on to anything as proof that they don't care about me. For instance, right now despite the fact that they've been online repeatedly, they haven't read any of my messages from the past two weeks and didn't reply to the one that they did read. I know that doesn't necessarily mean anything, and honestly I feel kinda stalker-y for checking in every few hours to see if they've said anything back.
I also want to talk to L about this, because I genuinely am worried about them. I know that they don't use hangouts as much as I do and all that, but I really worry about them. Depression sucks and I want to help them in any way I can. The one problem with that is I'm worried I'll be nagging them or bothering them when they just want to be left alone because of my whole thing about worrying that they don't care about me. I'd love to be able to talk with them about these feelings because I really do care about our friendship and don't want anything to come between us, especially with college soon, but it doesn't seem like a conversation that can be had over chat windows, and video chat just isn't the same. I don't know what to do.

I should also note that worrying about being abandoned when all my friends partner off because I'm aro is a huge factor to this, but couldn't figure out how to word that well.
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Re: Friendships during covid and trust issues

Unread post by Heather »

Hi there, confusedhuman. I'm so sorry you're feeling this way. I can really empathize, especially as someone who has often been the initiator in a lot of my relationships a lot of the time.

You know, I do think this is something you can talk about over the phone or in video chat, and I also think it's something you should talk about. It's okay to talk to our friends about our relationships with them!

Before you do that, though, I think it might be helpful to think some about what you think they could do that might help you feel more secure in the relationships. With things like this, being able to say not just how you feel, but to give people concrete, tangible ways to help you with it is usually ideal. For instance, maybe asking them to read your texts or other messages within a day or so and just leave you a response, even if it's brief might be something that could help. I'm happy to help you brainstorm those kinds of things if you like.

I'm also wondering how you feel about perhaps expanding your social circle? I know that's gotten extra difficult with the pandemic, but even a new online-only friend who is as responsive as you are, and who initiates talking or hanging out like you want might help you out.
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