Column by Jaleesa Baulkman

Jaleesa Baulkman

It was easier for me to make new friends as a child. I used to walk over to someone, impress them with my toys or Barbie doll collection and BOOM! Just like that, we were friends. I was much more outgoing and eager to make friends too. But now I’ve become so jaded that I’m not even interested in making friends anymore. Also, I haven’t found anyone my age that still plays with Barbie dolls or would be interested in my collection.

I avoid people now. I avoid potential friends the way a browbeaten kid would avoid the school bully. For example,  if I was on my way to class and I saw someone I knew 20 yards away and walking toward me, I would most likely take a detour, even if that means arriving to class 10 or 20 minutes late.

I used to look down at my cellphone to avoid someone walking by, but then I realized everyone else does that shit too. It also really doesn’t work with someone who is super talkative and friendly. They’ll see that you’re busy “texting” or listening to your iPod and decide to talk to you anyway. That happened to me once and I swear on my pinky toe this is how the conversation went.

Bitch I’m trying to avoid (BITTA): “Hey.”

Me: “Hey.”

BITTA: “What’s up?”

Me: “Nothing much. What’s up with you?”

BITTA: “Oh, nothing.”

Me: “Okay, bye.”

And that’s it. These are the types of verbal exchanges I try to avoid. If you ask me, I think I’m doing these people a favor by avoiding them. No one wants to be in a dry-ass dialogue like that. I mean, I don’t understand why someone would interrupt me to start some bullshit conversation like that. Especially when you have nothing to say. I mean, this conversation wouldn’t be so annoying if  the person had something to say after I said “What’s up with you?” I don’t mind speaking to “hi” and “bye” people because that’s all they say “hi,” “hey” and keep it moving. But I digress, I think.

Lately, social settings have been the bane of my existence, especially when I don’t know the people too well. Outside of the incredibly small group of friends I have at SUNY New Paltz, I realized that I just can’t deal with people. They are either too annoying, loud, vain, or want to be the center of attention all the time. I can’t deal with that shit.

Some of my friends have these characteristics but they also possess positive attributes that overpower the annoying ones. I don’t really know most people well enough to see past their annoying traits.

I’ve made friends or acquaintances outside of my small circle of friends. I usually, for the most part, don’t find these people to be annoying. But I’m not emotionally attached to them like I am to the people in my circle. So it’s easy for me to drop them like a hot potato and not feel guilty about it or anything. I’ve done that to a lot of people since I’ve been here.

I like that I am this way, though. You see, when I was younger I always tried to please people, and impress them, in hopes that they would become my friends. I was more vulnerable to (social) rejection back then and I often got my feelings hurt. I mean, when I was a toddler, other kids used to steal toys.  So I stopped trying so hard.

The friends I have, I’ve made them effortlessly. I’m not going to start listening to music and watching the same TV shows as others just to fit in. I mean I probably would check it out if I was interested. But I wouldn’t do it just to make friends. I know a lot of people who do that shit and it annoys me.

I don’t know why it’s not easier for me to make friends now. I mean, I’m attractive, funny (once you get to know me), and I have a ton of smart and dumb shit to say. However, I’ve noticed that now it takes a while, a long while, for me to feel comfortable with someone before a friendship (if at all) follows. I know that friendships can be more complicated and hard to keep hold of when you’re older so maybe that’s a factor…I don’t know.  I wish making friends and building friendships could be as simplistic as it was when I was a child. Maybe they are still that simple and I just don’t know it.

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