I Initiate & Sustain All My Friendships & Romantic Relationships & I’m Exhausted

I can count the number of true friends I have on one hand, and one of those fingers is taken up by my mom. I basically initiate 99% of my friendships and dating relationships, and what’s worse is that I’m putting in the bulk of the work to keep them going.

  1. I’ve perfected the art of introducing myself. I’m the minority in most rooms I enter and communities I’m part of. I know I’m different and that psychology says we gravitate toward what’s familiar and similar to us. It’s so much easier to stick with your clique than greet the new kid, I get it. Eventually, I grew tired of everyone talking around me, so I perfected the art of saying, “Hi, I haven’t met you yet. I’m Jasmine.” It’s effective but it’s exhausting.
  2. I’m not afraid of rejection or being vulnerable. In the past few years, I’ve started to care less and less what others think and I’m not easily embarrassed. I’m not afraid to ask a guy to get together or tell another woman I love her outfit. This means a lot of people are happy to talk to me, but most of them aren’t interested in truly reciprocating my effort.
  3. I’m always wanting to meet new people. When you look around the room and see no one else who looks like you, you become open to befriending anyone and everyone. I often get tired of feeling like I’m always the one asking my current friends to hang out or catch up, so my eyes are always open on potential new besties. Who knew it’d be so hard to make and keep friends as an adult?
  4. I’m introverted but I know great things happen when I put myself out there. The best things in my life have happened because I was bold. I’ve traveled the world, snagged a few decent jobs, and met people who may never have taken the time to seek me out and introduce themselves all because I decided I wouldn’t be shy and complacent. The ambition doesn’t come naturally to me, but I’ve made it the new norm.
  5. I see others with strong relationships and friendships and I want that. When I see large female friend groups, I often wonder if it’s just an Instaworthy moment or whether all six actually hang out all the time and don’t make any one person feel like they were strategically left out the loop. I know it’s quality over quantity, and I know I don’t have the personality or energy to attract and sustain a lot of close relationships, but it sucks always feel like I have a “best friend” but I’m never their best friend. I’m considering getting a dog so I can be someone’s favorite human.
  6. I have a bit of an obsessive personality. I try to focus on what’s beautiful, interesting, and what makes me happy. My interests just vary by season of life, but I put in as much time learning or exploring a topic or a relationship as possible. I never want anyone to question whether they’re important to me, so when I’m feeling generous and loving (when I’m not burnt out), I make sure my loved ones know that.
  7. I fully invest in my relationships. Again, I’m so introverted that every time I get dressed and leave the house, I see it as an investment—time I’d rather be napping or reading a book. So when I get to work, while on a date, or while catching up with friends, my attention is fully there. I don’t half-ass anything I do; I’d much rather skip it all together.
  8. I deserve to feel just as interesting as I make everyone else. I went to a lot of different Bible studies in college, joined a sorority for about two months, and saw many “friends” come and go. A lack of strong friendships was the single greatest reason I hustled to graduate early so I could move back to my hometown. What’s most frustrating to me about dating and friendships is that I always feel like I’m pursuing the other person—like, they’re so smart and interesting and cool that they get all the validation in knowing I want to hang out with them. But who’s making me feel like I’m worth pursuing?
  9. Eventually, you get jaded. They say you can’t pour from an empty cup, but somehow I don’t believe that. Think of the new mom who hasn’t done a single thing all week to feel good about herself or practice self-care, and yet she keeps sacrificing to make her family function. I’m the same way with my friends and the guys I date. I keep giving and giving from the empty cup, but when you’re the one initiating and doing all the work to sustain those relationships, you eventually get burnt out. You get bitter and decide people suck, you stop going out and socializing and you’re not wholly convinced you’ll ever find your Person, whether platonic or romantic. It kinda sucks.
Jasmine is a freelance writer living in the Midwest. Her hobbies include solo international travel, hiking, and reading.