nou asked me to write about friendship*.
Writing about friendship makes me feel pretty awkward, as I don’t care for a lot of the concepts and terms employed in relation to it. (Also see: Britishness.) For instance, I don’t have a “best” friend. Trusting someone that much doesn’t really work for me. It’s too much like putting all your emotional eggs in one basket. I prefer spreading my eggs around. Er, actually, looking at the sentence I just typed, I think I’m going to stop with that metaphor now. I prefer to spread the emotional burden of being friends with me across multiple people. I realise it probably says a lot about me that I think an essential element of friendship is an emotional burden. But I really think there’s no getting around that. If you’re going to share your life with others, they aren’t always going to see you at your best until you exercise an extreme level of control over the circumstances under which you see one another.
I remember the first time someone described me as a “very private person”. One of my high school gymnastics coaches said this in a speech about me at our end-of-year party. I was surprised. After all, I was one of the two team captains. I went to all the meets without fail, made cards and banners, sang songs on the bus, cheered everyone on, listened and responded to my teammates problems. I thought I was really involved, engaged, outgoing and open. But because I didn’t talk about my feelings or my boyfriend or what I did at the weekends, I was a “very private person”. It made me wonder whether the people I thought were my friends agreed. So I asked a couple of them, and they told me I came across as aloof, or even as unapproachable and scary.
This made me even less trusting than I already was, and given that one of my favourite quotes has always been “Three people can keep a secret if two of them are dead”, that probably wasn’t a great outcome.
Despite my wariness, I think I can claim to have a few good friends. They’re generally people who are quite intense about their work, like a drink, are low-drama and high-tolerance, know a lot of weird facts about strange and slightly obscure subjects, can tell an interesting anecdote and are a little bit silly. They don’t mind that months or even years can elapse between occasions of seeing one another in physical space. They’re forgiving of my scatterbrained approach to keeping in touch, my hit-and-miss remembrance of important events like birthdays, my tendency to flap around like a mad thing when experiencing great happiness and doubtless a hundred other oddities of behaviour and personality of which I remain blissfully unaware. They’re grateful for the privileges they were born with and modest about the ones they’ve earned through their own efforts. In short, my friends embody many qualities to which I aspire.
* Well, technically also feeling “other” and food, but I feel like I’ve covered those sufficiently in other portions of the meme, so I hope I’ll be forgiven for selecting just one topic.
This entry was originally posted at http://nanila.dreamwidth.org/909924.html. The titration count is at .0 pKa.