Why I Struggle Making Guy Friends
Hey feisty fam!
Another #FeistyFriday is upon us - I LOVE IT! I hope you all had a fantastic week.
For this week's post, I was kind of struggling to decide what kind of post I wanted to do, and I realized that you all seem to enjoy my personal posts where I dive into my own personal life and experiences.
SO, I'm going to do that today - today, I'm going to talk about friendship. More specifically, I'm going to be talking about being friends with other guys.
Now, you're probably thinking,
"What? Why is that worthy of a blog post? "
Well, it's actually something that I think about ALL OF THE TIME. Why though??? I'll explain!
In order to talk about my current situation, I have to take a step back in time and talk about my childhood.
Imagine a tiny tiny little Feisty Fletch rocking his jean shorts and velcro sneakers. I was quite the little firecracker. I was an energetic, eager kid who was excited about the world and ready to learn. I loved school. I loved class, getting to know my teachers, and figuring out my passions.
However, growing up, I was dealing with a lot behind the scenes -
My parent's divorce.
Figuring out my own identity.
Making new friends.
Trying to get along with my brother.
I was a social butterfly growing up (and I still am), so I was able to make some friends that were wonderful. All of those lovely ladies were so much fun to hang out with.
On the other hand, however, I had very few male friends. The keyword in that is FEW. I'm talking about being able to count them all only on one hand.
The main reason I did't have many guy friends was just because I was so different than the guys that I encountered growing up, whether it was at my small school, Christian camp, or boy scouts. However, I'm starting to realize that it not only affected me back then, but it is still affecting me today.
In elementary and middle school, guys excluded me the majority of the time, and honestly, I understand why. I wasn't interested in the sports they played or the girls they liked. I was so different from them. I couldn't talk with them about violent video games, lacrosse, and fishing (random examples, but you get the point).
I have no hard feelings towards these guys.
I get it. Middle school sucks because people are figuring out who they are and they don't like to talk with people who are vastly different than them. I get it.
I'm not mad at anyone. I'm just explaining the truth of what happened. I was that kid who always walked behind the pack of guys on the way to gym class because no one would really talk to me.
And I'm not saying that no guys made an effort to attempt to include me, but I never fit in because I was just so "weird."
I personally feel being purposefully excluded is one of the worst forms of bullying. It makes you feel WORTHLESS.
--- Middle School Gym Class ---
My least favorite part of the day was the gym period. Now, you probably know I'm not super into fitness anyway, but that's not why I hated it so much. That was the only time of day when I would have to be with just the guys.
That is the time when no one would talk to me and I would feel alone. The majority of the guys in the class wouldn't even look at me, and when they did, I'd see some of them whisper under their breath and talk about me. They didn't seem to value me as a classmate.
I'm not going to lie and pretend that I didn't go to the bathroom to cry every once in a while.
I was just so confused about what I had done in order to make the guys not want to be my friend. I was just being myself and that wasn't enough. And this was BEFORE I came out as gay.
They Pretended to Be My Friend
Now, this is the part that's really bizarre and has gotten my head all over the place.
Another big part of my childhood was when guys PRETENDED to be my friend and then would make fun of me behind my back. No, I'm not making this up. The guys thought they were being sneaky, but it was so obvious when they would snicker and look at each other when talking to me.
This happened during school, camp, Boy Scouts, and more.
They would ask me questions, waiting for me to say my "weird" answers about how I was more interested in Disney Channel and pop music than the latest game on ESPN or the latest Grand Theft Auto.
This one pattern has made making male friends very difficult for me now. I'll explain that at the end.
Another important part of this explanation is the fact that I was in fact in the Boy Scouts of America.
I think you can guess how that went. (Hint: it went terribly.)
My dad wanted me to do because being an Eagle Scout would "help me get into college." I eventually was able to convince him with tears in my eyes that I just couldn't deal with the laughing and the taunting anymore. (Note: I have no hard feelings towards my dad that he made me do it. I understand he was trying to do what was best for a boy my age, but I quickly realized that wasn't the best for me.)
The guys there didn't want me there and I didn't want to be there. There were several times where they would exclude me, taunt me, and laugh at me. I don't want to go into too much detail about this, but it is one of those parts of my life I don't like to think about.
How This Affects Me Today
So, I've been talking a lot about my past and what happened to me years and years ago. What does that have to with me today?
Well, all of those experiences with the impossible nature of making male friends has affected me making friends today. The memories from the past affect my relationship-building today.
For example,I STILL to this day get slightly defensive and confused with guys who genuinely want to be my friend. I get very confused. The first thing I ask myself,
"Why?" Why would they want to be my friend? What do they want?"
It still creeps in the back of my mind that they might be pretending to be my friend or just feel bad for me.
I started to realize that I was having this problem when I started meeting and getting to know such wonderful, genuine guys at college.
YES. I have ACTUAL GUY FRIENDS NOW.
This slideshow features some of my guy friends that I talk to constantly, but there are some I don't have pictures with! You know who you are!!!!!!! :)
That is one of the most exciting parts of college for me. I know other guys who want to get to know me and value me as a person, even if we have different interests. They aren't laughing at me and judging me for my every move.
They also don't think I have a crush on them like some straight guys do. Yes, I'm not kidding. I have had cases where I'll just be trying to get know a cool dude and he immediately thinks I'm into him or something like that.
NO. THAT'S NOT HOW THIS WORKS.
Overall, this concept of having guy friends is something that I don't think I'll ever get used to. It's definitely been a process, but a process I'm eager and excited to go through.
Now, there are still guys in college that act very similar to those middle school boys, where they see someone different from them and RUN. However, I've been so lucky and fortunate to be able to surround myself with some amazing dudes. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE :)
And yes, if you were wondering, I still feel excluded from other guys sometimes. I will never be a "normal" or "cool" dude. I'm probably never going to have that "bromance" or bro relationship that a lot of guys seem to have. I'm always going to have a little FOMO when I see snap stories of frat brothers bonding and dudes hanging out.
However, the guy friends in my life have been absolutely wonderful and I still don't understand how they put up with me. I hope they know how important they are to me.
Thanks for reading this personal story on this #FeistyFriday! I think I want to do something social-media related next week, so let me know what you'd like to see in that category!
HAVE A GREAT WEEKEND and I'll see you back here next week!