I’ve been wondering lately about what it means to be a friend. What does it take?
I have two friends. Or at least, two people that I consider my friends. There are other people that I sometimes hang out with, or are acquaintances, or family, or whatever. But these two people are the people that I consider to be the closest to me.
One of them always feels like she’s there for me, even though she lives several states away. We talk pretty much every day and we’re interested in the same things. We write together. We sometimes seem like we share the same brain (though hers is definitely much darker). We encourage each other.
My other friend lives about 2 miles away, but the only reason I’ve been seeing her every week is because she’s been watching my daughter on Mondays. After my husband got upset with her and told her she wasn’t a good friend, she set up a thing with me to come over on Wednesday nights to hang out, but it won’t last very long. And not just because it never lasts very long. Because she’s getting ready to go to Alaska for six months. I doubt she’ll call me at all in that six months. And the hubby and I would like to move sometime in that six months, so this week may be the last time I ever see her. And the sad thing is, I’m not terribly upset about it. She generally makes me feel like crap. Not when she’s around, but when she’s not. Because she always seems to have fifty million things going on and even when it’s just “I’m cleaning my room,” it doesn’t seem like she ever has time for me. Like I’m her last resort, the person she hangs out with when everyone else is busy. And when she gets a boyfriend, forget it. I won’t see her until they break up.
So, if she makes me feel like that, why do I still consider her my friend? Why do I still allow myself to feel rejected when she declines an invitation? Why don’t I tell her off like my husband did and just cut her out of my life?
I don’t know. I baffle myself rather frequently. I know part of it is that I just don’t really like confrontation that much. I think I had enough of it as a kid so now I just avoid unpleasantness as much as possible. But maybe it’s also that she’s the only friend I have that is actually in this state. We may not do a lot together, but at least occasionally she gets me out of the house, or comes over to keep me company. Having one friend is better than none, even if they suck.
But what do I do when she leaves? The first week she’s gone, my friend from out of state will be visiting, but after she goes home, I’ll have to deal with not having any friends around. And I don’t know how to make more. Somewhere in all the moving around and having to make new friends every year growing up, I lost the ability to keep friends. And when we actually stayed in one place for about six years, I somehow lost the ability to make new ones. So how do people make new friends when they don’t have school to go to every day. And don’t say work. There are three people in my office. Me and two old guys, who are totally not friend material for me. Though they are mostly pleasant to work with.
My husband and I have talked about how we don’t know how to make new friends before. It just never seemed quite so tragic until the one (crappy) friend I have in this town was getting ready to disappear.