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Uma Thurman from Kill Bill, holding a sword

Portrait of a self-reliant Bride. Badass. Lonely as hell, though.

Captain Awkward,

My Dad happened to say something the other day that struck a chord with me. He was talking about how nice it was when he recently met up with an old friend from college, and said he had not contacted him previously because he didn’t want to assume his friend wanted to keep in touch.

When he said it, I immediately felt how sad it was that he thought this. Then I realized that I implicitly think the exact same thing all the time. I am writing to you in order to figure out how to not still be thinking that in 25 years so that I don’t turn into my Dad.

I have a really hard time making and keeping friends. All my friendships are short lived and confusing. Most die as soon as we are no longer thrown together by external forces (e.g. sports teams or school). I seem to be capable of other kinds of relationships, like with my fiance or casual acquaintances at work. My parents raised me and my brother to be independent and self-reliant, so it shouldn’t surprise you that we are not a close knit family (though it doesn’t help that I live across the country from them). Happily, my relationship with my fiance is the most sane, easy and right thing that has ever happened to me. I don’t have trouble relying on him or asking for support, which is great because as it turns out I am not capable of being totally self-reliant.

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Dear Captain Awkward:

Since the new year began, I’ve been having some fairly serious life issues. I had a major panic attack in January, and then my house caught on fire at the end of February. I’ve been really struggling to keep my head above water. I finally started seeing a therapist, changed my work schedule to accommodate my needs, and moved into a new place. During this time, I definitely had some tried and true friends support me, but it felt really scattered and only as a response to the immediate incident, but not the after effects.

I ended up meeting up with an old friend I hadn’t seen in years (we had a falling out, then reconnected on Facebook, but hadn’t actually met up and hung out together in about two years), and she was talking about some difficulties she’d had recently with an increasingly abusive ex-partner making threats against her and her new partner. She started talking about her community, and about how they rallied around her as a support system. One of my flatmates who was living with me in the house that caught on fire also seemed to have had a big community support system come out to help her through the emotional aftermath. I know that the former friend’s community is revolved around the queer community in the bay, which I’d love to be involved in, but again…I don’t know how, and then the latter friend’s community is largely built of lifelong friends and friends from her Aikido group.