MORE WORK TO BE DONE: THOUGHTS ON LONG TERM FRIENDSHIPS

At ten, Chana and I formed the foundations of our lifelong friendship over the epitome of a #firstworldproblem – we didn’t have cable. Instead of chatting with everyone about the cool shows at lunch – we formed our own squad and became the youngest fandom for Dr. Who and Coupling. We were wise beyond our years.

When I asked Chana what her favorite memory of our younger years was she reminded me of all the things we had created. We would spend hours in a marshy area of her neighborhood filming what – in our minds – seemed to be a horror movie. We would write and act and imagine every weekend until our parents had to pick us up.

Even though we were bonded over our love of PBS, our connection was sustained by something deeper – our creativity. We have always spoke the same language. We’ve always lived in an alternate reality that so few have access to. We have an unspoken understanding of how each person ticks that allows us to coexist in the most peaceful of states. We just kinda get how to be a friend for the other.

It’s innate. We’ve never spoken about it until recently when Chana let me ask her what makes friendships tick:

Let’s define “friend.” Who are they and where do you get them? More importantly – how do you hang on to them for so long? I feel like you and I both have lots of long term friends from childhood, high school, etc. and most people find it to be strange, but for me, it’s just the norm. Or maybe I just don’t know how to make new friends.

You’re the only friend that I have from childhood, and I think that  is our only area of difference actually! Growing up I tried to hold onto people I enjoyed laughing with. And I focused on that whenever I thought about being friends with someone (lucky them). If we could crack each other up, do silly impressions for each other, or be our weird selves I thought, “omg we are BEST friends”. This was confusing when these friends would treat me poorly, like say things about me behind my back, not being reliable etc. I began to feel like people were taking advantage of me, and I was confused because we would be having a good time in class (DO YOU REMEMBER CLASS BEST FRIENDS OR WORK BEST FRIENDS!? LIKE THOSE RELATIONSHIPS THAT WOULD NEVER LEAVE THE ENVIRONMENT??) I always wanted the friendship to leave the environment and play Barbies in my basement. Anyway.. I began to see friendships as disposable and hold lower expectations from people I met spontaneously. People I met when I was growing into who I am today (you for example, or my college friends Christina and Claire) I value as friends because they understand me and accept me and always will~ Since I’m very social and outgoing which is confusing when making friends I see the relationship as very in the moment, and accept we may not be bridesmaids, but the friendship we have in the moment is killing time.

Okay, I see what you’re putting down. I feel like you’re kind of alluding to a hierarchy of friendships. Yay or nay? I think it’s kind of true though. I think I have friends that are more than surface level, but not yet at a deep dark secret sharing level. But who knows,  maybe they will be one day. I also think I have niche friends. – By the way, I don’t think having levels of friendship is  a bad thing. I just think it means you haven’t done the full friendship hustle yet – But I think I have niche friends that I connect better with on a certain topic rather than multi-purpose friends that are at the tip top because you can really talk about whatever. Maybe niche isn’t the right word – specialized? Am I making friendship sound a lot like cleaning products?

Yea! Like a tier system. It’s like family. You will obvi love and hate your parents (top of tier) Have a favorite Aunt who you’re not close with but love because she hooks it up during the holidays with the Barbie Dream House (second tier) and then have the younger cousin, who is funny but a liability (third tier). I like it like that because I don’t invest too much of myself on people and build unique friendships to each person I’m close with.

Do you think you have enough friends right now to fill out a MySpace top 8? I find my list of close friends shrinking with age, but I think I would still be able to pull it off – mostly because I have three siblings which equals three spaces.

I wasn’t allowed to have a MySpace because my parents thought I would meet up with a random guy in front of a Dip-In-Dots stand. I had it for 3 weeks, and I remember being at a girls house with my close friend Tyler and she made him sign into his account so she could put herself in his 8. She made a long speech about how she had to be on his top 8 because he was at her house and they were friends. They were not as close as he and I were, and I realized she was delusional like me about short term friendships vs. long term friendships * And I also realized that friendship wasn’t about status. I don’t know if I have the right number of friends or enough friends, sometimes it feels like it changes each week based off how I am treated. So I think about it more like, “I have 300 twitter followers. I’ll retweet what I’m entertained by that day, but I and I can unfollow whoever and whenever, and add anyone I want at any time. I can also go private to hide myself”.

I find it interesting that you feel like it changes each week. Do you have some flakey friends? I’m not trying to call anyone out – but shouldn’t friendship be this sturdy(ish) ark you can bounce over the waves with? I guess that kind of plays into the short-term vs. long-term friendships that you touched on though. You’re not about to sail the rough seas with a tiny sail boat meant for a trip around town.

I think it’s all based on MY moods and perspective on situations. As I mentioned in my above response, I have different types of friendships for the different people I have relationships with, so when I’m dealing with a situation or a mood I kinda have a go-to person for that scenario and that’s why it all changes. Like if I was a celebrity I would have a Hairstylist, a Makeup artist, and a Publicist. Each have different roles, all useful.

You and I both have friends from a few different worlds. We both have old friends from our younger years, college class friends, sorority friends, post-graduate friends, and creative friends.  I don’t think they’re all mutually exclusive, there can be some overlap, but do you find it as hard as I do at times to bring all the worlds together? Do you find yourself segmenting yourself or do you think you can discuss anything with any friend seamlessly?

I HATE IT! I am NOT a “group of friends” type of girl. I never was. I feel like it is so much easier for me to keep friends when I don’t have that commitment to a large group. I can also build closer friendships when I am focusing on one friend at a time, and not the whole girl group. When I meet other people, I am very excited to socialize with someone new. I love being the “extra friend invited” to a social situation, because I know I can handle it. I fear that other people are not as outgoing and I don’t want to put people in weird situations when trying to smack their faces together to be friends. Surprisingly I have found myself in a new situation where my friends are all meeting and becoming TOO close*

I am so happy that you’re dealing with that and not me. LOL. JK. But that does have to be a bit of a hit to the ego. I probably wouldn’t react in the best way to this – those kind of situations have an air of exclusivity. In all honesty, it kind of reminds me of Toy Story. Do you feel like Woody? Like a new shiny toy came along and just swept the crowd from under your feet.

I can only imagine the awkwardness in trying to discuss it with your friends too – because it’s probably hard to explain that you’re upset that two people who you care for are getting along? It sounds innocent enough on paper, but I feel like it’s a classic friend code line that you don’t cross. Or if you cross it you better be inviting the link (you in this case) everywhere with you.

I keep a lot to myself, so I don’t like confronting people about how I feel. I just try to eternalize it. #unhealthy. I am not a sharer. Not with clothes, boys, homework… I just am a greedy bitch and I am such a Woody about new people coming into play. Is it because I’m the baby of the family???

Friends seem to come and go. I think it’s a natural process. Interests diverge. Free time is minimal and then BOOM you’re left with the cream of the crop. BUT just because it’s something that happens to everyone, doesn’t make it any easier. How do you bounce back from a friend break-up?

I don’t. I seriously perseverate on it like a pathetic dog whose owner left for work Monday morning. I just allow myself to force not caring that I no longer care, until something triggers me and I sulk. And I am moody and I pout.

On the flip side of that, how do you get over tiffs with friends? We’re all bound to disagree and fall out once and a while, but what steps can you take to rekindle that friendship and cultivate some deeper bonds?

Again, I don’t. Unless I work with them. I don’t get along with friends who I tiff with. It’s bad, but if we are in a situation where we are fighting, why are we friends. I usually don’t fight with people because I’m open minded and I can see both sides of an argument, unless I am firm on my point of view. Then I cut that friend like a high schooler cuts the lawn, messy and requests money at the end.

 

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