Wanna Be My Friend?…I Dunno, Do I?
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.