I’m fully aware of how this sounds. I can practically see your thoughts bouncing off the page as you take in my lowly first world complaints. “I wish my only problem was that I was popular.” “Sounds like you’re living a nightmare.” “Want to trade places?” When does something actually become an issue? This is a question that I think we should all ask ourselves more and more.
When I moved to NY in 2017, I had a couple of friends. I honestly don’t remember feeling too terribly about that. As I continuously applied to magazine jobs for months on end with nothing budging, without realizing it I started looking for more and more external gratification. First came my Bumble BFF platonic dating spree of 2018. I went on many a potential friend dates to a multitude of bottomless brunches or out on the town taking on the Brooklyn bar scene. I made friends hailing from Hawaii all the way to Boston. It was exciting and so fun.
Enter 2019, when a dear friend moved from Los Angeles to New York and became my roommate. Naturally, we’d hang out a lot and that involved meeting everyone she knew that happened to be out here as well. Before I knew it my social circle doubled, and it keeping up with connections, hanging out, and brunches became a daily feat. Every day there was someone penciled in, and if I’m being honest some days there were two or three plans smushed into a measly 24 hours.
Life was exciting and energizing and honestly really fun. But while I was becoming this social butterfly, what was happening to my editorial career that I moved up north to pursue? Throughout the many karaoke happy hours, foodie adventures, park sits, and more, I was still trying my hand at landing something substantial that’d move my career in a positive direction. I was consistently applying to jobs and I was consistently being rejected.
While my social life seemed greater than ever, my career started to seem more and more abysmal and lifeless. Then the big gray cloud known as doubt creeped in. It consumed my thoughts more than ever before and for a while and still a little bit today informed the way I viewed myself. “Maybe you should try applying to jobs you’d actually get.” “You are not good at writing.” “It’s been over two years. You're getting too old.” “Everyone that graduated when you did has been moving up while you’re staying still.” These are all just a glimpse of the thoughts that consumed my every solitary moment.
What did I do about this? I was so tired of feeling defeated, so I followed the positive feelings. I put a big bandaid over everything that was hurting and focused on the things that made me feel good. I chased the high of being wanted and the validation of attention from others. You can probably guess that this didn’t help much either. In fact, I’m pretty sure it made it worse.
The thing about seeking validation from people is that eventually it will stop working because people are imperfect and sometimes disappoint you. My social high would soon come to a crashing end with the emergence of friendship and boy problems that both had a lot to do with triggering my most intense existential crisis to date.
I guess my problem isn’t having too many friends. It’s using friends in the wrong way. Numbing your feelings and problems is never the answer. You might not even realize you are doing it. But if any of this sparks something inside of you, listen to that. Do a deep dive into your feelings and emotions and really reckon with them. Because even if it doesn’t feel like it, those whirlwind of thoughts, feelings, and emotions help us grow stronger than we can ever imagine.
Chinazor “Chichi” Offor is a media industry lady with experience in journalism, marketing, and modeling worlds. With an unmatchable curiosity, she finds interest in all aspects of content creation including fashion, lifestyle, pop culture, adulting, and entertainment. Nobody puts Chichi in a corner! If she’s not looking cute on the Gram, she’s probably knee-deep in her next binge-watching obsession. You can find her on IG and Twitter @thechichio.