Sometimes you have an illusion of something, and you kind of know that it's an illusion, but even pretending to believe that illusion keeps you somewhat happy and able to hold onto your sanity.
When I was in third grade, I had two best friends, Heather and Hannah. I'll use their real names because I have no idea what they're up to now, and it doesn't really matter. Anyway, Heather sat on my left, and Hannah sat on my right, and when Mrs. Rasicott separated our seats because we were always talking, I had a temper tantrum in class. She only moved me, and let them stay sitting together. It was one of the most unfair moments of my third grade career, and Mrs. Rasicott was AWFUL.
I remember going over Hannah's house and we weren't allowed to watch Disney movies because they had magic in them. Her parents were so religious, that they kept her home from school on Halloween. But she had a dog and a really nice backyard, so I remember having fun. And yet, I'd always get the feeling that she liked me but I wasn't anything necessary to her. It felt like she had some underlying disproving opinion, and I was completely unaware as to why.
Heather had three dogs... or was it two dogs and one cat? Either way, I loved going over her house because all I had was a stupid fish. Her mom would let us drink Pepsi, stay up late and watch tv, and she had internet back when almost no one did because dial-up took up enough time to make dinner. We didn't even understand what the internet was, but we were using it and that made us cool. But when Heather and I hung out it was sort of like she wanted friends and she wanted me to like her, but I think she wanted everyone to like her, and it wouldn't have mattered to her if she was being best friends with me, or some other girl who loved Sabrina the Teenage Witch as much as we did. But we did get along, just ...
... it's tough to say. I would get massive amounts of friend jealousy. Heather and Hannah would hang out without me, or their seats were moved together without mine, and I was so desperate to be in between them again that I felt like my world would end and we were never going to be friends again and they were my only hope to salvation from loneliness.
We all lost touch when I switched schools, and I still have memories of Hannah being at my 8th birthday and smiling when she gave me my present, or Heather and I doing our science project and copycatting an episode of Magic School Bus. As far as I know, Hannah turned goth and rejected her parents' religion, and Heather had nearly gotten herself pregnant, but this was hearsay I got back in early high school.
Making long-lasting friendships with people is really tough. If you looked at how many friends I had on facebook, it would appear that I have many friends. In reality, I would say I have more friendly acquaintances than the average joe, a lot of which I know pretty personally (I'm told I have one of those faces that you feel alright telling things to... this can be alright, but I actually know things about people that I wish they hadn't told me). I only have a small group of friends that I feel as though I will be friends with for life, and most of them are the best friends I had in high school.
Studying abroad made me realize that a couple friends I have here in England are actually better friends than some I had at UMass. I feel like I've had this illusion that the harder I try to be close with people, that's what makes them my friend. In reality, and they're mostly department people, a lot of people I've thought were my friends in the end give me that eerie "Heather and Hannah" feeling. The all-to-familiar, "don't bother, they won't be broken up if they never see you again" sort of dread that creeps from behind. These are people that you've written Christmas cards to, told secrets to, and even worked with, but the hard truth is that the harder you try for people to like you, the more they probably won't care.
So what did I do? I stopped trying, really. Friendships are like relationships, if someone wants to be with you they'd be trying as hard as you. I've even heard that some think I don't like them because of my "keep to herself" attitude. But with the amount of times I've been rejected, and I guess if they knew that, they'd understand. There are very few people I don't like, and I was hurt when I came to know it was thought otherwise. When life has been a little rough on you, you get a little rough around the edges. Lots of people don't understand rough edges; they take it as a flaw or an insult and they move on. But as I've said before:
Essentially, we all just want to be loved.
And I hate giving up on almost anything, which is probably why I get extra rejected.