I watched the latest episode of The Middle. Brick tries to make friends. And this time, he’s not doing so because his Mom or his therapist want him to do that. He’s doing so because he wants to do that. He wants to be a part of the camaraderie that he sees among other boys his age. And, while he does enjoy reading, he gets lonely reading his book by himself during lunch.
His cool brother Axel tells Brick that Brick should not aim to be friends with the cool kids, since they are out of Brick’s league. Rather, Brick should aim lower: he should try to be friends with the not-so-cool kids.
Well, Brick has a rough road on this episode. Some of it is his own fault—-he gets distracted, he does not always maintain good eye-contact with those who are talking to him, and he does not pick up on social cues. At the end, though, a socially-awkward girl invites him out for frozen yogurt. At first, he says no because he’s not hungry. After his Mom tells him that the girl was asking him out, he goes. Still, he keeps changing his mind about whether he wants to be out with this girl. Brick texts his parents to pick him up, then changes his mind.
I like the episodes of The Middle about Brick’s social struggles. I feel less alone when I watch those episodes. (The same goes for episodes of the Big Bang Theory, especially Raj’s issues with talking to women.) Like Brick, there are vacillations in my attitudes about friendship and socializing. At times, I feel lonely. The problem is that I don’t particularly like many people or socializing, a lot of the time, so I am reluctant to make friends.
My past experiences in therapy have been mixed on this. Some therapists push me to make friends, when the problem with that is that I have had friendships in the past and have felt burned by them, for a variety of reasons. Some therapists, however, have respected where I am and have tried to teach me social skills to use when I do interact with people, rather than pushing me to dive into friendships. I prefer the latter approach. I need more of the latter approach.