With goals like this, it’s no surprise we’re running into some difficulties.
Tomoko has problems making friends, for sure. But I don’t think that’s really her problem. The larger issue is that she has this ideal view of what her life should be like, and refuses to be happy with anything else. She does have friends, as we see from her relationship with Yuu. Yet Tomoko isn’t happy with this. She wants something different.
Tomoko wants to be popular and have a boyfriend. But if her dream were to come true, I think she would only be more miserable than she already is. Her friendships would be shallow and petty, arising only from Tomoko pretending to be someone she isn’t. Her boyfriend… well, I don’t think Tomoko even knows what she wants from a boyfriend aside from the abstract idea of having one so she can rub it in her classmates’ faces.
It’s like people often say: “If you want to be rich, don’t add to your wealth, subtract from your greed.” That’s not to imply that Tomoko’s current life is any lesser than the life of popularity she imagines.
Regardless of whether it’s a worthwhile endeavor to become super-popular, let’s discuss why Tomoko is unable to make friends. The reason is simple: she’s trying too hard.
When she does interact with someone, she’s too afraid of the impression she’ll make to do anything. Literally shaking in her boots.
And when she sees someone else who already does have friends, instead of trying to become their friend as well and join the circle, she gets jealous and pushes others away. She even does the same with Yuu when she learns Yuu has a boyfriend. What a perfect chance to get close to a boy and introduced to his friends! Yet it’s quickly tossed aside due to Tomoko’s pride. Instead she has these ridiculous plans of how she’ll instantly become popular with very little effort, like buying new underwear. The way to make a friend is simple: you have to be a friend, like Tomoko already is with Yuu. Although I guess the first step, prior to that, is that you need to actually talk to someone.
Yes they’re sharing a drink they call loneliness / But it’s better than drinking alone.
I’ve never had much trouble making friends. I remember there was a survey going around a while back where a lot of other bloggers said they could count their close friends on one or two hands. I can’t, and I’m not even close. So I probably can’t relate to this show as well as many others can.
But it may make the people who do relate closely to Tomoko feel better (or worse, I’m not sure) to know that even people with many friends feel lonely. You’ll go home after spending the entire day having fun with your family and friends, crawl into bed, and feel incredibly alone. I think it’s part of the human condition.
But you are not alone. Don’t be afraid to talk to people. They’re just as lonely as you are. Be lonely together instead of alone.
For those with religious inclinations, this is one of my favorite passages, from Stringfellow’s Instead of Death, courtesy of Experimental Theology:
Loneliness is the experience in which the fear of a man of his own personal death coincides with his fright of the death of everyone and everything else. Loneliness is not a unique or an isolated experience; on the contrary, it is the ordinary but still overwhelming anxiety that all relationships are lost…[L]oneliness so vividly anticipates the death of such other lives that they are of no sustenance or comfort to the life and being of the one who suffers loneliness.
You are not alone. Do not be so proud any more of your loneliness. It is only the shadow of your death, and your death, your loneliness, is like the death of every other person. But your death is overpowered in the patience of God’s love for you. Your fear that you are not loved does not negate the gift which God’s love is. Your loneliness does not avoid God’s love, it only repudiates His love for you. You cannot flee from God’s presence. You are not alone.
Unwelcome, misunderstood, despised, rejected, unloved and misloved, condemned, betrayed, deserted, helpless–He was delivered to death, as if He were alone.
Christ descended into hell: Christ is risen from death.