"Nobody likes me" has been my mantra since before I can remember. It's a bit self-deprecating, but astoundingly accurate at times. I wouldn't say that I'm generally hated or disliked, but I also wouldn't go so far as to assume that I am likeable. If anything, I'm forgettable, neutral, or just invisible. I might as well not exist sometimes. When I venture out in attempts to meet new people, I'm hit with the all too familiar crippling fear that they aren't going to like me. As if some unpleasant metaphorical stench of unlikeability is always wafting in my direction. A cloud of distaste.

Like most introverts, I spend a lot more time observing than participating. Sometimes there's no rhyme or reason to which people are popular and which ones get made fun of. I guess it's charisma, but what even is charisma? You can "fake it 'til you make it" but some people get called out for being fake and others pull it off with ease. These aren't things you can practice or learn, they're just inherent things. And the bottom line is, some people are just... *different*

Being a youngest child comes with a certain disposition, in the simplest terms; I feel I am not worthy. I am not the first, and therefore, I don't deserve things. My sisters were partial to making me feel like I wasn't good enough for them. I couldn't like what they liked or do what they did. Essentially, their approval was something I craved, yet never received.

My earliest childhood friend was quite possibly the worst human being. To this day, I cannot fathom why I put up with her for so long. It was a friendship born out of convenience; she lived down the street, her sister was friends with my sister, her mom was friends with my mom, typical suburban friendship hierarchy. When I told her she was my best friend, she responded with "Oh, *classmate who's name I forgot* is my best friend" and that was the end of the conversation.

She had to dictate everything we did, if we didn't play the game she wanted to play, she would throw a hissy fit, I was constantly the Flounder to her Ariel and it was degrading to say the least. I know I defied her at least once, because I remember we were at her house and she got huffy and went inside and left me in her yard alone. I think I had refused to do whatever activity she wanted or I wanted to play fairies and she wanted to play mermaids or something trivial like that. I don't know how long I was there, but her mom came out eventually and asked where she had gone. Turns out she was inside watching TV. She would show other friends notes I wrote if I said anything about them. Nothing I confided with her was safe. And every conversation I can remember involved her degrading and insulting me somehow. I was friends with this girl until middle school, where she leaded a campaign of online chat room torture with two other girls.

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"Nobody likes me" I told myself as a shut down the computer and ran to my room in tears. There is no logic to the cruelty of other people.

All I ever remember of that friendship is how much I tried to please her. And all she ever did was insult me. I don't think it's grandiose to attribute my inability to get close to people with how this utter cuntsicle treated me. I don't know what I did wrong, or why she had so much animosity. Logically I know it wasn't my fault, but something she must have been dealing with and taking it out on me. Some kind of control issues or anger problems, I don't know, all I know is that I didn't deserve it. In a way I am still sitting in her yard alone, playing by myself.

Nobody likes me.

It was weird befriending new people after that falling out. I made a really good friend at that time though, but she has this way of being very present and then suddenly disappearing. We're still friends... I think.

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In high school it bothered me the most. She was the type to jump from friend to friend or friend to boy and put all her energy in whoever was the lucky one this week. But since then, it's clearer that she disappears sometimes. Sometimes she disappears into a relationship. Sometimes she just disappears. Naturally, I just assume I'm not worthy. She contacts me when she feels like it, I oblige by always being available. This is not a healthy friendship. I know she has a lot of issues. She doesn't like to talk about them. But I know that this behavior, of letting people in, then shutting them out, it's her way of coping with it. Ultimately though, it's draining to always be the one who's there, and never receive the same courtesy from close friends.

And for me, it's back to being alone in the yard again, because I wouldn't play mermaids or some inane metaphorical shit.

The last time I spoke with her was when I was home in Nove,ber. We tried to get together while I was there and I didn't hear from her for an entire week until the day before I left. She told me she thought I was acting "passive aggressive" in a text message earlier that week, the message in question was "nothin don't worry about it" .... I don't know either.

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So after years of just biting my lip and dealing with her abandoning me at random intervals, I finally called her out on her bullshit. She told me that sometimes she doesn't like being around me because I'm "angry" and "negative" I told her that this is the way I am and she's known me since we were twelve and that I have accepted many of her flaws that are considerably rude sometimes and I expected that she accepted me for who I am as well. I guess that was a wild assumption. My bad. I don't really know where I stand with her now. She sent me a message on my birthday, I said thanks. I sent her a message on her birthday, she said thanks. Another one bites the dust.

Nobody likes me.

I'm in a city where I know no one. That's not true. I know people. But they don't know me. Nor do they care to. I don't know how to have the closeness that friends have and I don't know if I can even allow myself to try. I put my energy in the wrong people. I internalize my issues because I have literally no support. Because I'm afraid I'm "too negative" for other people. I've spent the better part of this year alone. I'm scared that as soon as I get close to anyone, they'll leave me alone in that yard again. They'll make excuses why I'm the reason they can't fucking send a simple text message.

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I guess I have a fear of abandonment. Or a fear that nobody likes me. And a general disdain for front yards...