I have the ability to disappear in a group of people who are supposedly my “work-friends”. I have been talking to one or two people about something, then suddenly someone else appears who becomes the center of attention. They appear, and like magic, I disappear. In the past I have tried to stay in the room and appear like I was still relevant, but lately I have just given up and walked away from the conversation with my head down.
I’m not the guy that everyone likes to have around, and I rarely get invited to join the group. Nobody gives me a jovial nickname, and I’ll never be the person everyone wants to say hi to. It’s just kind of an obligation for people to greet me because I am standing there, but I get the sense they don’t care if I am there or not. Don’t worry, the feeling is mutual.
I’m never the glue that holds a circle of people together, I’m always on the fringe. Sometimes I appear to be the common link between two groups of people, like a single electron that forms a bond between two molecules. Then the bond is broken, and the molecule goes spinning off without me. Does that make me a free radical, or just pathetic? It makes me not want to try to be part of the group next time, therefore I isolate myself further.
I want to make more friends, but two things prevent me. One is the social anxiety that makes me fear being around people; being forced to interact with others drains me and sucks all the energy from my soul. The second, closely related factor is a deep lack of self-esteem that makes me feel inferior and inadequate in nearly every situation. I don’t feel like I have anything worthwhile to give another person, so why would they want to be friends with me?
If I just had bipolar disorder, but had an otherwise normal personality, I would be fine. I would trade everything to have a different personality, but as a wise philosopher once said, “I yam what I yam, and that’s all that I yam.”