Wednesday, February 22: Write about the relationships in your life before you learned about the aromantic spectrum or before you began identifying on the spectrum. Have you noticed a big change in how you view the people you care about? About how you used to interact with people? Write about your experiences before you discovered the aromantic spectrum.
I touched upon this topic in one of my previous blog posts but before I realised I was aromantic, I guess you could call my only romantic relationship as amanormative. The reason I think this way is because now I look back on it I feel like the world’s view on romantic relationships made me put romance over friendship, as if it’s more important. Because you never really see the importance of friendships until you lose them.
I’ve always been a shy and awkward person when it comes to talking to people with spoken word, I find it easier to express myself through written words (I think that’s why my internet friendships have always succeeded more than my “real” friendships) and even if we had been friends for years there’s still something at the back of my mind that tells me “you’re annoying them” or “they secretly hate you”. This might be common for a lot of people but no matter who I talked to, if we’d been friends since birth, I always had this at the back of my mind. And because of it I probably lost friends. I know a lot of my friendships died out because I gave up on being the first person to inituate the conversation, but I do think it originated from my view on romantic relationships (even if it was pretty common in my friend group to prioritise romance over friends).
I really regret how I handled friendships in the past, even though we were school friends and even if I knew that we wouldn’t be talk after we graduated I still wish I handled them differently. It’s not 100% my fault, because I felt the divide between myself and my group of friends since before I got a boyfriend but I feel like I was definitely the one who made it worse.
I want to focus more on friendships in this post, mainly because I’ve only had one romantic experience and I spoke a lot about it in the last post. Over my school years I had a few different groups of friends, but there was at least one or two people who I had been friends with since Primary School (I’m not sure what the American equivalent is), and some of them I was still friends with until the end of Sixth Form because we went through Primary School, Secondary School, and Sixth Form together. But none of them I talk to now. Some of us, or rather myself and the person I used to call my best friend, fell out on really bad terms (I’m petty and still hold a grudge like 5 years on), but the rest just died out because without school we just didn’t have anything I common, and I realised that I wasn’t really as close to anyone as they were too each other.
I do think back to my friendships and think if this amanormative world didn’t force me into thinking you should value romantic relationships over platonic relationships how different would they have been. I think about each individual with in my different friend groups from different stages in my life and think if I, or they, valued each other more would we still be friends right now. In some cases I think yes, but then I also don’t think we would, because we were all so different. Especially now, the things some of us had in common we now don’t. I had always been the youngest in the friend group (July baby) and all the rest of them had early birthdays so I was always left out in that sense because when everyone was 18 I was still 17 and I couldn’t join them. Plus I was never a drinker and I hate, and still hate going out. So I probably lost them in that way too.
Obviously there are times where I miss being able to talk to some of these friends, especially those who I once talked to online, because I feel like we got really close. But once our interests changed we no longer had things to talk about and I think that’s really sad.
I have noticed a massive change in how I view friendships, all will be explained in tomorrow’s post.