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Wanna Be My Friend?…I Dunno, Do I?

May 18, 2011

These guys are friends because they live next door to one another.

Remember when you were little and all you had to do to be friends with someone was ask? Or when you were a little older and all you had to do was live on the same block or sit next to each other in home room? Or when you were in high school and all you had to do was be in choir or basketball or the play together?

Friends because of proximity, because of common interests — because you asked.

And at my small Christian  college I actually made friends with a group because of the Fresh Prince of Bel Aire.

Well, I’m pondering all of this again because really, since graduation I haven’t been great at making friends. I’ve been a bit guarded and I’m not too interested in making friends with the people I work with. Don’t get me wrong. I like a lot of them, and I am friends with a few of them, but I don’t seek out friendships at the office. I am wary about my personal life and professional lives mixing too much.

Although when I worked out at the Air Base I was friends with all of those folks. We hung out outside of work and everything. But it’s the Air Force so they have all moved away. In fact, I have several friends who have moved away in the past few years. But even friends who aren’t in the Air Force have left me.

I made friends with Melanie, and she moved away. I made friends with Roxy and she moved away. I made friends with Logan and Savannah and they have moved away. Yeah. I’m sad about that, but  of course, I hope they are all doing well in their new homes. Heck, with Savannah and Logan leaving I now I have excuses to visit Washington and Iowa. I may even have a free place to stay when I do. So I can’t complain too much.

And I do have a couple of very close friends here in town. One of my best friends even lives across the hall from me. That was a very lucky break. The problem is, they are both of my closest friends are very busy and I don’t get to spend too much time with them. In fact, I’m lucky if I get to hang out with my neighbor once a week.

And I’m tired of sitting on my couch. And I want to make more friends. So I’ve been working on that.

But making friends has presented some challenges. I just don’t know rules — the social right-of-way when it comes to proceeding.

I mean I want to spend time with some of the people I have recently met, but in order to do so I have to think of something for us to do together. When really I just want to eat dinner or sit at my place talking. But that’s pretty familiar. Is it too familiar?

There’s another element to all of this too. What if I put in all of the effort of making friends with someone and then realize i don’t really want to be friends? How do I break up with a friend? I mean this isn’t like dating where it is assumed that the goal is to have one significant other so the stakes are different.

So, I’m trying to figure out how to make friends (now that I can’t just ask), how to know who to keep around and who to get rid of. And of course I have to figure out how to get rid of the bad ones. That’s a lot of things to figure out. I’m tired just thinking about it.

A couple of my new acquaintances that I had hoped would become friends I’m learning have some issues. I’m starting to realize that I don’t trust one of the women. One of the men seems a bit narcissistic. Another of the women and I don’t really click most of the time and then there are the people I’d like to be friends with who don’t seem to be interested in getting to know me at all.

And that’s a hard one for me because I don’t want to pass up a possibly great friend, but I’ve noticed that when I start to pursue people oftentimes they run away.

Now that we are adults becoming friends (much like dating) seems like this long, drawn out, convoluted ritual of acquiring permission to love someone. And that frustrates me. Why can’t I just love someone from the beginning. I mean beyond simply being polite to one another?

Why can’t I want to know your deep-dark secrets and be willing to sit up with you crying through the night from the beginning? And why can’t I just show someone that that’s who I am? I care about them by virtue of them being alive on this planet and I want to spend time with them and get to know them better?

But often the simple assertion that I want to be friends scares people away. Odd thing about our culture that love is one of the offerings that frightens us the most.

Anyway, I’m sure I’ll figure it out. And I’ll probably stop hanging out with that woman I don’t trust — at the very least I may let her know how I feel. Obviously, right now I’m a little confused. Honestly, I’m also a little lonely — missing all of my good friends who have gone away and not having equally deep relationships in place here in town.

I guess I’m just looking for love…and someone who can accept love from me.

I need more moments like this...and I need more friends to share them with me.

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10 Comments leave one →
  1. Just Saying permalink
    May 18, 2011 2:11 pm

    Just let the bad ones fade away. No need for a big breakup speech. If they care, they’ll call to find out how you are… if they don’t, your choice to let them fade away was the right thing to do. Friendship is a two way street.

    It’s your life. You are solely responsible for the people in it. Has it run it’s course? No longer have anything in common? Or simply just do not like them anymore? Move on and lose their number.

    I know it sounds cut and dry and I also know that it’s not. You can are the only one that can change your stars/ :)

    Good luck!

  2. Jennifer permalink
    May 18, 2011 4:29 pm

    I can totally commiserate! When I moved to Va Beach it took me many friendships run afoul and 5+ years to find real friends, and the ones I had, even the ones run afoul, were hard to get. But my husband and I have just moved to Charlotte and are having a hard time making friends. I, for one, do not have a problem with mixing business with social, but I think that comes from being in the navy, I have closer relationships with the friends from the Navy, still today than with many people. I think this stems from working, living and sharing everything with them. We are truly family. That is how I go about making friends to this day.

    Much like your problem, it only scares people off, and I am left feeling worse than before. This is true of my coworkers too. But I don’t really know anyone else in the area. So it is hard to even know where to start. You are lucky in this way, b/c you can go out and talk to people b/c you are single, I am just weird if I start up a conversation with a random person at the bar. (this is also a very mid-western trait and I live on the east coast, people are weirded out if you talk to them and have no reason to be).

    So here is to us! May we find good friends to sit and have coffee with soon!

  3. Tanya permalink
    May 18, 2011 7:12 pm

    Oh yes, I can relate. I’ve lived in this place that’s all about “community” for four years and don’t have someone I would consider a really close friend here. That’s sad. I want that sit-on-my-couch-while-I-fold -laundry kind of friendship, just like you do (guess that’s part of why we’re friends) … and it is almost harder than dating a man to get to that place.

    How’s this for a great pickup line: “Now we can be real friends, instead of German class friends!”?

    • May 18, 2011 7:31 pm

      I think that’s a great pick up line and I would adore having someone around to sit on my couch while I fold laundry! Or sit in my living room reading while I do the dishes. And just drop in and out of conversation from time to time. Tanya, you are truly one of my soul mates! I wish you were in my ppart of the country. I LOVE YOU!

  4. May 18, 2011 9:02 pm

    I really understand…
    Someone in my family was advised, as a little girl, to “just ask” someone to be her friend. It wasn’t meant literally, but she did ask another girl, flat out. The answer was yes. They are still friends, some 50 years later.

    I was reading O magazine today and one of Oprah’s staff wrote that the most “useful” lesson she has learned from her boss is “to be yourself with everybody, in all situations”, but noted that it is difficult. I was struck by this because I would like so much to do this, and I certainly wish that others would do it! The Trust Problem would be eliminated. =) I think we would all be less afraid.

    • May 18, 2011 9:58 pm

      Andwouldn’t it be amazing if we were all less afraid? Thanks for your addition.

  5. May 20, 2011 11:50 am

    This sounds so familiar – since I’ve been moving around I have to make new friends, because you may say that I’ve left my dear old ones. I’ve found that pretty challenging, I wasn’t great at it as a child too. And it is almost like dating. I remember at the begging of me living in another country I was reporting about my friends-attemps just like you do about dating. And I remember how tired I’ve got at some point to get to the same wall everytime – there’s always a wall… Well, I still hope that it’s not always and that one just have to be persistent and he’ll find a special someone :) We’ll see, good luck to you! I believe one does really just need some luck :)

    And of course that it’s not so easy as in school, because all of the bad things that happen to people and all the broken heart – but I’m sure that you have some of those yourself too and that you’ll have your concerns, if someone just ask you to be your friend ;)

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