I’ve spent my life trying to be liked – and now I think it’s time to be selfish

I’m that friend who constantly second guesses themselves. The one who isn’t sure what real friendship is anymore.

The over-analysation of the situation can destroy any friendships I have.

The one main issue I have with my friendship is I expect so much from other people. I’m a pretty supportive person, but when that’s not reciprocated it feels awful.

I’d always thought friendship was based on support. On understanding. About being there for one another.

But obviously I’ve been proved wrong.

There is never just one individual person in these situations, it’s a problem I seem to have with every single friendship.

#lazyday #sleepy

A post shared by James Conlon (@jamesconlon2) on

The friendship seems okay for a while, we can have a laugh and a joke and open up to each other – but all of a sudden it just turns sour, and I can never work out why. I give, and I give, and I give. Maybe my expectations are just too high?

Maybe I’m wanting too much out of the friendship. Maybe I’m too overbearing, too needy.

Though I’d love to have a friend as caring as me.

I’ve always been that guy who struggles to make friends – especially because of who else I’ve chosen to be friends with. It seems people really won’t attempt to get along just to make the situation easier.

And, people think because you associate yourself with someone that that’s a friendship, but for me it isn’t.

I’m pretty open about my life, my illnesses (I have a diagnosis of both inflammatory bowel disease and depression) and I don’t really keep much private.

I’ll often talk about my battles on social media as a way of release, and in return lots of people will ‘like’ and comment – even strangers that I don’t know.

This therefore leads people to believe that I’m popular or that I’m not short of friends and will always have lots of people fighting my corner.

But for me it’s the opposite, the intensity of trying to keep all of these ‘friends’ can destroy someone, who do you trust? Who’s actually your friend?

I just feel that a friendship is a personal bond between two people. Or at least, it should be.

If a friend was in a bad place, I would be there for them through thick or thin. To return the friendship, I expect the same. But it never seems to happen. I always seem to feel so alone when I’m at my lowest.

I tend to bottle up my feelings and let it eat away at me until I eventually stop speaking to everyone.

Even people that have done nothing wrong – the paranoia of ‘Do they even like me?’ has just set in too strongly for me to bear.

Do I look ill to you? Probably not…. Am I? Yes I am…. you can't physically see my illness or pain. You don't see the aching joints, the terrible stomach pain and the never ending toilet trips. You don't see the illness taking a toll on my mental health. You see what you think is a healthy 25 year old man. You don't see those days where I'm physically unable to get out of bed. Inflammatory Bowel Disease is an invisible currently incurable illness. Yes, I have Ulcerative Colitis….. sometimes it has me. To those of you out there fighting IBD and any invisible illness, I salute you- the determination and strength it takes to get through each day. The 'I'm okay" answer when you are far from okay, the faked smile to hide your pain. You're never alone- there's someone somewhere who knows exactly what you're going through. Keep strong ❤ #inflammatoryboweldisease #crohnsdisease #ulcerativecolitis #invisibleillness #IBD

A post shared by James Conlon (@jamesconlon2) on

I have this little voice in my head that’s telling me to believe the dark, paranoid thoughts – to believe that no one wants to be my friend, to be offended by them not talking to me or including me.

I’ve spent my life trying to be liked, but maybe it’s just not meant to be.

Maybe it’s time I was selfish and stopped worrying about what other people think of me.

Maybe it’s time I learn how to feel comfortable with just myself without the need for my phone to continuously buzz with messages or notifications.

Maybe I just need to learn how to be alone, without feeling lonely.

Words by James Conlon

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