Tuesday, March 15, 2005

On Friendship... why I am the way I am

I don't know why this is such a struggle for me. I was thinking the other day about friends and friendship... and I realized that the only person in Salt Lake that I would consider a real friend is Jay. How screwed up is that? I mean, I've been living here for almost FOUR YEARS. I have one friend from my masters program, but I rarely see her, because she lives in Park City and works down in Orem...and that doesn't leave her a lot of time for socializing. She's cancelled the last two times we planned to get together. So I've kinda left the ball in her court now. The others I hang out with occasionally all started out as Jay's friends, and I guess to some degree I still think of them as such.

But this paucity of friends isn't anything new for me. It's been like that for as long as I can remember. I'm not sure what it is about me that makes it so hard to form connections with people, but I'm so used to it that it doesn't really bother me much. Most of the time, anyway. Even when I think about it and wonder, like I am now, it doesn't really make me sad. Maybe a little frustrated. Undoubtedly bewildered. But I truly enjoy my own company. I like to spend hours or days alone - I get so much reading-writing-painting done that way. But I'm still vaguely aware that other people have friends and enjoy their company on a regular basis and I wonder why I don't.

Maybe it goes hand in hand with my inability to ask for help. Scratch that... I'm able to ask now. Let's just say "extreme reluctance" then. The reason for this actually stems from a revelation I had at a management training seminar of all things. I know, I know. Usually they're cheesy lovefests, but this one worked. I have trouble asking for help because asking for help would mean that I wasn't original or smart enough to do something on my own. Ridiculous maybe. But perfectly logical when you realize it was formed as a guiding message in a 7 year old's mind when her "best friend" accused her of copying.

Then throw in the fact that we moved when I was 4 and a half. That I didn't go to preschool. That I started kindergarten a year and a half later after playing with no one but my baby brother and some pseudo-cousins during that time. That everyone else in my kindergarten class HAD gone to preschool... together.

Pretty much been the outsider for as long as I can remember. Oh, and don't forget the Teacher's Pet disaster of 3rd grade. That showed me the ugly mob side of human nature, all turned against little 9 year old me. Really nice. Did I mention that I have excellent hearing? Yeah. Heard some of my "friends" saying nasty things about me when they thought I was too far away to hear. So maybe it boils down to a trust issue.

I competed gymnastics 5th-8th grades, so I wasn't around much, though I was around long enough to make friends with a new girl at school. Of course, by 10th grade she no longer acknowledged my existence because I wasn't into trying to get upperclassmen to make out with me, or cut school, or raid my parents' liquor cabinet... but anyway.

After I broke a vertebrae (fun!), I quit gymnastics and ended up with a different circle of friends, which proceeded to implode with teenage game playing. See, Winnie dated Jack. Jack and Alex were best friends. Winnie and Jack had a fight. Winnie got back at Jack by sleeping with Alex. Brilliant, neh? Did I mention that we were only 15 at the time? Yeah. So then Winnie got back with Jack and they got busy in the backyard tent. So Jack and Alex were no longer best buds, nor were they paying attention to anyone else in the clique because they were distracted by their dicks. (names changed to protect the guilty)

You know, I'm reading this as I write, thinking: Is it any fricking WONDER I don't trust people? Gah.

I did okay with friends in college, for the most part. The only drama there was with "relationships" and watching all of us make dumb mistakes with members of the opposite (or same) sex. But none of that affected the friendships... not permanently. The problem is that most of my friends were not friends with each other.

But during the two years I lived at the Grand Canyon, I didn't really have any friends. A few in passing, because that's the kind of place it was. I'm still in touch with 3 of the hundreds of people I worked with there - two roommates (Pamela the Brit and Aaron the pot head) - and Angela, from Brooklyn, who is my mother's age, and who calls me "the brat she never had". So I do connect with some people. Sort of.

I have certain standards, I guess.

No game playing.
Honor commitments.
Be willing and able to use your damn brain.
Have a sense of humor (humour)
Have a sense of adventure.

It frightens me how rarely all of those are met. Sometimes I wonder if I'm not being too demanding... but honestly, these are things I'm not really willing to compromise on. And so I don't. And so sometimes I don't have anyone to go shopping or to a chic flick with. And sometimes it is lonely.

But I have Jay, of course, and I will always have my sisters, who are my best girl friends ever. I just wish they lived a little closer.

And that little ramble was much longer than I intended...

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