Confessions of a Control Freak: Friendships

By: Abbie Goldschmid

I did not just wake up one day and decide to be a control freak. No, no. If I had choice in the matter I would have chosen to be a neat freak or something that at least helped in my productivity. I was born a control freak. This can be seen in my early interaction with people. And when I say early, I mean like toddler early.

When I was just a munchkin, all I wanted in life was attention. Ok, that’s probably still true today. My dad describes it this way, “Need attention? Oh no, Abbie doesn’t NEED attention. She DEMANDS it.” (Thanks for that, Dad.)

I say “almost” everybody, because I was a little harder to please than someone coming up and playing peek-a-boo. I wanted to earn their attention. I wanted to control to whom and when I would talk. If someone tried talking to me first, I would just ignore them. If they ignored me, now, that just wasn’t right. I chased after them with everything I had. I brought out every cute game or word or facial expression I could muster, just to get their attention. I demanded it.

While that might have been cute when I was 2, it really doesn’t work so well as an adult. For one, I can’t ignore people that initiate conversation for me. Nor can I only focus on the people that don’t like me or talk to me right away. Sure, I get that that isn’t healthy communication, but old habits die hard. I want everyone to like me, particularly people that don’t. I want to make them. I want to control them.

If you ever get the chance to meet me in person, you will find that I have a tendency to try just a little too hard to make you like me. I’m over the top, and I will tell you my whole life story if you let me (how handy that I now have a blog to do so). It’s obvious that I need you to like me. It’s as if I can’t handle just letting my friendships form naturally, but I have to control them. I have to have my options open so I can choose who my friends are. If people don’t like me, than I don’t have much choice. So everyone will like me. I will be everyone’s favorite person. It’s a pity that most people don’t like feeling controlled, otherwise I really might be friends with everyone.

My advice to myself and those like me is this: we have no right to control what other people think of us. It’s not just that we can’t control it, but by trying, we are actually doing the opposite of what we want to do. Instead of people liking us for who we are, we will always wonder if they just like us because we made them. Instead of focusing on controlling others (or trying to anyway), we should probably just start focusing on the one thing we can control—ourselves. I’m gonna control my control freak-ness….yeah. Here’s hoping anyway.

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