My experience with friendships as a socially anxious woman of color.

My life goal has to been a real life version of F.R.I.E.N.D.S. A group of friends that seem to never go to work, hang out in a unrealistically large apartment and have a good ol' time. Unfortunately I've never been really good at making friends. I was really shy as a child and now as an adult my social anxiety and inability to start or keep a conversation (probably due to being shy and never learning how to have a conversation) has made it difficult to create meaningful relationships.

I never had a best friend and I always resented that. By the time I realized this it seems like everyones best friend positions was filled. I made friends in high school ( I mean, I kind of had to). I made acquaintances in university. Now as and adult, I find myself alone 90% of the time ( the other 10% percent is because I actually have to go to an office with other people for work). I had to ask myself about friendships. My past friendships, current ones, and what I seek in future friendships.

I grew up in the suburbs of Alabama. I went to a private christian school attended mostly by white people. There was a sprinkling of black people, approximately 3 latinx, and one West Asian person who was in my class (we occasionally bonded over what we didn't really realize was racism towards us). Even though I grew up in a latinx household, most people I knew, were white. Therefore, most of my friendships were with white people. Looking back, I didn't have many latinx people in my life that weren't family. Which I also resent. 

Most of my friendships in high school, university and now have been with white people. I blame it on my surroundings, but I'm not quite sure if that's the case. As a child, I tried really hard to assimilate. I made sure my English was grammatically correct with no traces of an accent. I tried to act as "white" as possible, whatever that means. That together with my racially ambiguous skin color lead me to being white passing. It wasn't until I wasn't allowed to go to a sleep over that my own culture hit me in the face ("Para que vas a ir a dormir mal alla si aqui tienes cama?" - my mother).

People would be surprised to find out I was Latina. Which lead to microaggressions ("You don't look Mexican? You don't have an accent? You're white"- Classmate, btw I'm not Mexican) which unfortunately I found as a compliment back then. No matter how white passing I wanted to be, I was still the token latinx friend. 

There were 3 other latinx kids at my school. They were all siblings. And with my brown skin, large nose, and black hair; most people assumed I was the fourth sibling. Even though we were all latinx, we never became friends. I blame it on the fact that maybe we were all in different grades. In many of my friendships I was the only latinx, making me feel tokenized. I wasn't just the token latinx friend, I was the token latinx student in my class. 

I love my high school friends but I have to ask myself, would we still be friends if we would have met under different circumstances? Now I ask myself, dow we even have the same views and priorities?

As I graduated high school and started to learn and really mold my views I realized I didn't want to be friends with people just to avoid the feeling of loneliness. I want friendships where we like the same things, have the same views, have similar experiences and are on the same frequency. Which I guess is why I didn't really make friends in university (that and the whole social anxiety thing). I made acquaintances. I made some friendships, but I am afraid they will fade away.

Now at 22, in a new city, where I know very few people in general, I want to find people in my same wavelength. This has made me think about what exactly I am looking for in a friendship. I've realized that having people of color in my life is really important to me. I want to be around people that share similar experiences to mine, speak the same language as me, have similar views to mine. But I also want friends with different experiences, people I can learn from and grow with. People I have a connection with. So far that has only been with white women. But as I see art, writings, and other works but women of color, I can't help but feel I have a stronger connection to fellow women of color.

Now the questions is: how do I make those friends? I have always made friends because of proximity (school, work, etc). Much like dating, apps and social media are go to's now a days for finding like minded people. To me, that still sounds terrifying. I have no idea how to make friends when I'm not forced to be in a confined space with them for long periods of time. The idea of going out alone and making conversation with strangers makes my stomach flip. 

In the 8 months I have lived in Atlanta, I have made no friends. And I admit, this is the loneliest I have felt in a really long time. I don't need a lot of human interaction. I am pretty introverted, I like my alone time. But the truth is, humans need connections. So I ask, how do you make friends? Will you be my friend?