Confidence: It’s a Friend Thing

I’m a guy who’s never been good at making friends.

It’s not that I’m a hermit, though my family has speculated as much. And I honestly enjoy the company of others. In the past year, I’ve discovered that I’m actually quite fond of people. Who knew?

But what has always tripped me up in the past is some deep-seated insecurity that has set up shop in the darker corners of my brain. Whenever I would start to hang out with people on a regular basis, I would inevitably begin to question their motives.

In my mind, new-found friends were always humoring me. When they would invite me to do things, I was sure it was only out of a sense of obligation or pity. After a particularly enjoyable conversation, I’d go home and dissect the exchange, highlighting all the areas where I’d either sounded like a fool or come across as an arrogant ass. Whenever I would get a compliment, I would immediately deflect it and chalk it up to false, albeit well-meaning, kindness.

This is some whiny, annoying shit, I know, but it was all very real in my head, and it never left me alone. The only relief I got was when I quit returning phones calls and stopped answering emails.

It was a lonely existence, but when you are a kingdom of one, at least you know where you stand.

This self-induced isolation came to an end about a year and a half ago when I met up with a group of people I felt an immediate connection with. I have no idea why I felt so at home with these people, but I knew that we were kin, even if I didn’t know all their names yet.

In joining the group that later became the core of the Confabulator Café staff, I found a place to belong. I’d had no idea how badly I’d needed that, but once I experienced it, I wasn’t about to give it up. In short, I told my mind to go f*@k itself.

Don’t get me wrong, the thoughts and insecurities were all still there, but I knew this writing collective was too important to let slip away. So I fought through the dark moments and forced myself to go to the meetings and the write-ins and the writers’ nights out. And it paid huge dividends.

If I had to focus on one thing that has changed in my overall writing, it would absolutely be my confidence. Producing something for the Café every week has provided some much-needed stability in my writing routine, but getting feedback and support from your peers is almost equally important.

Having a stable writing family whom I trust to be honest and fair with my work has done wonders for my craft. It has freed me up to take chances in my writing. The stories I produce are much more honest, much more me, and so far the response has been very positive.

I have my writing family to thank for that. Were they not the awesome, passionate people I met at that first meeting, I wouldn’t be where I am today. I’ve finished a novel that had been languishing for a long time, I’ve completed several short stories, and I’ve even submitted some of my work for publication consideration.

All in all, it was a pretty great year. And my friends have made all the difference.

Larry Jenkins is an aspiring Word Pimp. Has laptop, will travel. Let's make this happen, people.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.