What constitutes Friendship?

Posted on May 19, 2011. Filed under: Culture, Health, HowTo, Philosophy |

I held up my end of the bargain. I was where I said I would be, and when. I’m one of the most reliable people I know, except where it matters. I cannot be trusted, yet…I’m completely trustworthy. If I tell you I will get it done, I will; although not always in the most timely fashion.

No speed queen, I. I can work under a deadline; in fact I often do, but I don’t prefer it. Unlike some, I’m not exhilarated or encouraged by the process. Deadlines leave me exhausted, and, kind of, dead.

Recently, I wondered about some people I used to know. I hear from others about how they’ve found old friends on social networking sites. I don’t participate in most of those sites, not because I don’t wish to be found (although I don’t, really), but because I don’t feel “at home” in them. So I websearched some that came to mind, and found one living in the next town!: “Wow, wouldn’t it be great to get in touch with that person? Imagine! They’ve been living within 5 miles of me for several years and I never knew! I must callwriteemailtext pretty soon!” …And I haven’t yet. This was a good friend, back in the day. We had similar interests, had worked together; used to dine and hang out. I know people change over the years, and perhaps my hesitation is fear of knowing that. I’ll admit the other thing; the real reason: For me, friendships are a lot of work! One has to plan to get together; decide where to go and what to do, and then show up and do the things. Other than with a few intimates in my life, it just seems like a lot of trouble. Does that make me a curmudgeon? or just a loner? I know many think I’m so very odd in this way. Other people put any amount of energy into planning parties and social encounters. I don’t mind meeting the occasional friend for a meal, but that’s about the extent of my social creativity 🙂

I’m one of those “out of sight; out of mind” kind of people, except for those moments when memories come flooding back. Yet…how do I explain a few people who have recently gotten in touch; that I knew years ago; that are not related to me yet seek me out anyway; because they want to; because they feel we still have something to say to each other? Last month, I did meet one of these, for lunch. We’d known each other as we both entered into adulthood; in fact, I was an attendant in her wedding; the only time I have played that role. We had a wonderful visit; one of those conversations that bridges the old relationship with the new understanding. Yet, when she said she’d be in town a few more days, and I ought to come over to her camp for a barbeque, I hesitated, again. This afternoon was just right. To push beyond it; without another period of time gone by first, would not add to our pleasure, I felt.

If I’m not in touch, how do you explain the others seeking? I’ve heard we teach people how to treat us by our actions towards them. I guess my actions are perfect:  Ignore them, most of the time. Be warm and friendly twice a year, or decade, or when I DO see them.

We will both have good memories. Nothing wrong with that!

But I do show up if I’d said I would; barring all disaster. Maybe that’s enough.


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