Throughout high school, I didn’t have many friends. I was a very antisocial person, and I had a lot of anxiety. By the time I learned to manage that anxiety, it was a little too late to start making close, lifelong friends like other people. I did have friends, but no “real” friends. There was no one I could call up on a Saturday afternoon and ask, “Hey, you want to see a movie?” Guys aren’t allowed to do that; guys are just supposed to play Call of Duty online from the comfort of their own homes and use Uber Eats to get something delivered instead of doing something idiotic. Like spending time together. Or, like, talking. Because if we see each other face to face…we implode.
The reason I was a loner in school is that, like a lot of people, I didn’t really connect with anyone. The core of any friendship is a connection or interest in similar things. Girls are able to connect over things like…um… Well, I don’t really know, because the whole point of this article is that I was a loner in school. Considering I didn’t really get how high school guys work, I definitely didn’t understand how high school girls work.
Guys are expected to act like dogs; if you give them a toy, like an Xbox or a PlayStation, and a treat, such as KFC or anything with over 500mg of sodium, they’re supposed to be happy. Conversations between guys are expected to be about as complicated as, “Woof woof woof,” and I’ve always been more of a “How was your day?” kind of guy. I think this is at the root of why I was a loner. Instead of being in the pack, I would watch it from the outside.
I bet now you’re all probably wondering how I was able to cope, because the truth is, everybody needs human contact and friends.
In 9th grade, I was introduced to a place called Jacob Burns Film Center, where I learned how to make movies. When I got there, something just felt different. I wasn’t observing this pack from the outside; I was finally on the inside. I was able to talk to people. I met one person named Gabe who became one of the best friends I’ve ever had. With him, I’m actually able to ask him “How was your day?”
One of the things I learned from this experience is that your friend base doesn’t have to be from school. You can find friends in a variety of different activities and the possibilities are limitless. If your obsession is tennis, then find a tennis club, and you’ll make tons of friends. If you love to read and none of your friends like to read, which isn’t surprising when teachers force us to read books like Catcher in the Rye for years, then join a book club at your library and I guarantee you’ll find people to connect with. If you love playing the bagpipes, then go for it, but make sure to do it at least 1000 yards away from me. That way only you can lose your hearing.
My point is that if you feel that you’re alone in school and that you have no friends, then there is nothing wrong with you. In fact, you’re probably cooler than all those other kids because while they’re wasting time creating memes of Kermit the frog, you’re doing something unique and fabulous with your life. I found my pack, now go find yours!