For a long time in the UAE, I struggled with loneliness. Nobody really knew about it except maybe my sister, but I longed for friends. After I lost my very best friends in the Philippines, I was excited to make new ones but throughout my time in the UAE, all I had were acquaintances who never seemed to want to get to know who I really am. Throughout that long time I felt that nobody truly liked me for who I am. They only liked me because I was talented in many areas, or they were just forced to talk to me just to be a lot less awkward. Of course there are exceptions. I had a few good friends too, but I rarely see them or talk to them and sometimes when someone else they are closer to is around, they’d leave me for that person. When those few friends are not around for me, nobody seems to care. Was it maybe because I preferred playing quietly? Was it maybe because I preferred being in a small group? Was it maybe because I hated being rowdy and that my own definition of fun wasn’t at all fun to them? So I spent all those times thinking that I’m not interesting enough, that I’m not worth anyone’s time, that I’m a nobody compared to those other people who are always surrounded by friends. It didn’t matter to me anymore. I tried to make friends but I eventually gave up. I didn’t really want to hang out with a bunch of people who didn’t care anyway. I’d rather be alone than be a presence that nobody wants to have. I don’t want to be a burden to them.
But here in Korea I tried making friends again, the same way I always had since I was a little kid in preschool–one person at a time. And to my surprise, as a few months passed, those friendships grew. They even told me that they liked me A LOT, and would love to spend time with me, and have even come to think of me as family. I didn’t do anything special, honestly. I just tried to be nice as much as I can, like I have always done since I was a kid. When a friend told me she liked me a lot, I was caught off guard because I haven’t heard anyone say that to me in ages. When my roommate told me that she liked my personality so much, I was caught off guard too because all this time I thought that my boring, 재미없는 personality was the sole reason why I never had friends as a teenager. When my roommate’s friends told me that they like me a lot and think I’m cute and awesome, I didn’t understand why. All this time I thought that I was nothing but a very unlovable human being because nobody bothered to care about me back then. It felt so weird to be genuinely liked because I haven’t felt that way since I was in 6th grade.
Not that I’m complaining…I like it. I like having friends. I’m just so touched to know that there are people who like me for who I am and actually want me around. It feels nice to know that my existence is actually appreciated and that I am actually lovable to certain people other than my parents and my sister. I cannot express my gratitude enough for having friends. After being lonely for so long, I already forgot how much having friends are such a gift. It feels great to be appreciated and loved for once without even trying so hard.