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  • It's probably not much of a secret, but here it is. I am in my third year of university, and I have made no real friends.

    Everyone must know. How could they not? I sit in the library cafe, doing research, frantically finishing Russian homework before class. Alone, usually. If someone joins me, it's a classmate. I talk, I listen. Do I do most of the talking? Am I talking about myself again? I'm friendly, I want to be. But I'm distant, and this realization has haunted me for years. I am so goddamn distant, and the space between us grows. We smile, and we sometimes chat online. This isn't friendship. I don't know how to get out of myself. Do you even want to know me? More importantly - do I want to know you?

    I have a few friends. At times, they were my whole life. I knew how to engage people. For a brief period in grade school, I was popular. People reserved seats next to me for field trips. I don't know what happened. Whatever it was, it was me, never them. Something happened to me and I couldn't go back. I've been clinically depressed for years. I developed OCD. My friendships became long-distance, which was convenient for me, because I didn't want to explain my moods, or my fears. But I missed people. I miss them still. So why do I push? Why do I build and reinforce these walls?

    Sometimes we recognize one another - us lonely people. Maybe happy people, people with lively social lives don't notice it, but we do. It's in the eyes, and it revolts. I look away, disgusted. This isn't the real me! I want to yell. I have a family! I have a few friends! I am not you! I am not you! I am not you!

    But I am alone. I am a million miles away. I want to see Argentina. The Caucasus. I want lively conversation in a restaurant on the Aegean. But I want these things with other people. I want my people. Is there such a thing?

    Every year I promise myself I'll change. I'll reach out and things will be different. I won't be one of those people, on SA message boards, 28 and living at home. No friends. No job. But I'm afraid - so fucking afraid of everything and everyone, and myself most of all. Is this a phase or a fault of character? Is it 3 am reflection or the ravings of a lunatic?
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