There was a time when I was a Bad Friend, one who never called people back, one who talked to people so curiously and condemningly, like they had peanut butter marring their entire faces. I'm a Reformed Bad Friend, by the grace of God, and I try to call people back and try to listen attentively and non-judgementally, even though it's hard when my friends use poor grammar or overuse the word "random." I love them anyway, and I try to actively find more things to love about them.
These days, though, I really don't have time for people who are not Positively Fabulous Friends. Not because I'm snobby or keeping track of fabulosity points. The truth is that I just don't have time for subpar friendships. Seriously, if you looked at my day in terms of a matrix, you'd see a matrix chock full o' stuff to do. I have to pick out outfits in which pink does not predomintate, because pink is not really a professionally accepted color among consultants. I have to look smart and act smart for at least 8 hours a day. I have to listen to NPR and AM radio en espanol during the 1.75 hours a day I commute. I have to be a virtuous wife 24-7, especially during the hours that Lovey Loverpants wants me to listen actively about articles he read on Slate and about frisbee lay-outs and about making the perfect roasted red pepper. I have to be a schoolie and a churchie on appointed days, as well. My time is almost wholly committed. How can I possibly incorporate e-mails and phonecalls and hugs and kisses and gummy bears for people who are not vested in being a Positively Fabulous Friend?
I simply cannot.
Fortunately, I've been blessed by the company of some truly special people. I have two very dear college mates, Spas and Walter, who are my gurls through and through. Spas is particularly good at empathizing and squinting her eyes and thinking about what she might do given my situation. Walter is good at indulging my sense of humor, which is 70% inappropriate and 30% inside joke. My sister TP is also a good friend to me, and thank God we are sisters because we do not have to hold back in ways that non-relatives are forced to withhold certain things.
I have learned to make new friends in workplace and in school and that is a comfort to me. Because making friends is kind of scary, even though C.S. Lewis tells us that it is a very natural "You, too?" epiphany of two hearts. I just think that sharing certain idiosyncratic parts of one's self is rather . . . risky. There is a risk people will not get you, and the stakes of losing your esteem for your uniqueness diminishes more and more (at least in my experience) when people do not get you, or do not even try.
Based on the above named risk in Not Being Gotten, you are probably thinking that I probably am that person who doesn't take the time to get someone who does not appear to be a Positively Fabulous Friend off the bat. That may be true. But I am not just categorically dismissing people here, young. Quite the contrary. I expend tons of energy toward people who do not reciprocate. I often regret this, so I am learning to expect more in this two way boulevard of friendship.
I am also establishing three main categories for the people who are likely to be my friends:
Eldest: Although this is not always the case, I typically find that I get along best with children who were the oldest in their families. I am the oldest of three. I did not enjoy having to "break my parents in," to be the first to leave the house, to get her period, to always have to lead by example. People who have had some sense of this -- we are bound to get along.
Hard Workers: I typically do not get along well with people who have not had to hold a job since high school. It's not that I have a chip on my shoulder about trust fund babies, or kids who were involved in sports, or kids whose parents didn't want them to work. I just typically find that I can't relate. Having joined the workforce at age 15 and never, essentially, ceased working (except for 2 months of unemployment in which I was still freelancing), my experiences have shaped my character which is irreparably different and a little bit edgy because of this.
People Who Would Rather Be Laughing: Serious people interest me. But I find that they do not always get me. I would rather spend a good fraction of my day in fits of hysterics, or chuckling quietly about my own private comedy. Laughing is one of my favorite hobbies and this hobby is at its richest when it is shared.
I suppose I should make a Venn Diagram to show the overlap of these three categories in my life. Some of my friends are all three, are only one, or none, but these three categories are aspects that I have noticed as recurring trends among my friends. People who can empathize with my being an eldest work-horse who loves to laugh.
What about you? Who are you likely to befriend?