Wednesday, March 9, 2011
F is for...
F is for...fear, family, friends, friendship
F is for friendship.
When I was a river guide, I would tell our guests that I was really anti-social. They would never believe me but it's true. It's easy to be fun and funny and social with a group of strangers when you know you will only see them for these three days. And it was easier still because I thought I had a real group of friends in the guide staff even though we would rarely see each other outside these trips. And that turned out to be true of some and not so true of others.
I've never found it easy to make friends. Sometimes it's been my circumstances and other times my social ineptitude. Or perhaps my circumstances fostered my ineptitude. Or my ineptitude fostered my circumstances. Whatever. End result is I've never had a lot of friends. Usually just one at a time.
I have had times in my life where I belonged to a 'group' but it never ended well for me. Eventually I say or do something and all of a sudden they are all over there looking and blinking at me over here and I know I'm doomed. Sometimes it blindsides me and it takes me a while to figure out what happened.
See, the thing is is, I'm blunt. I tend to blurt out the thing everyone else is avoiding. I'm the kid who is yelling that the emperor has no clothes. I'm the one who talks about the elephant in the room. Ask me and I will tell you the truth. I just don't realize it's an unpleasant truth.
I could never get away with anything as a kid because it was all there on my face so I don't even try to lie. I'll try to avoid as much as I can, but I don't lie. It's just too hard.
You're probably wondering what this has to do with friendship and I'll tell you. People don't like to have the unpleasant truth pointed out to them.
As I have aged I have learned a lot of things. Eventually I learned enough about myself to understand why friendship was so hard for me/with me. I have tried to develop tact and I warn people who I think I am getting on with.
'I can be hard to take', I tell them.
I don't do it on purpose, of course. There's no meanness in my heart. envy sometimes maybe And when I realize I have offended I will apologize profusely. Even if it takes me a few days to realize I need to issue an apology. But sometimes that's not enough.
I've learned a few things about friendship. I used to think that friends ever meant friends forever. I know now that some friends come into your life for life and some for just a certain period of time and that's OK. I've learned that if you want to keep a friend you have to participate.
I've learned that proximity has a lot to do with it. Now that I find myself out here in the country I am cut off from the more frequent interaction I enjoyed in the city. Out here it will be all too easy to slip back into my anti-social, loner behavior though I don't mind being alone. Of course, I'm not really alone. I have Marc. And my sister. And mostly I'm content with that.
I've also learned that true friendship is enduring, that it doesn't always need constant care. That some persons you connect with, even though you are physically separated, you remain connected. The love and caring doesn't diminish even though months or years may pass incommunicado.
I no longer pine after friends and belonging to a 'group' like I did when I was young. Having one or two friends is enough. I still have heart connections to people who have moved away and through this electronic media I have found friends in people I have never met, may never meet.
So I guess I did lie. I no longer pine after belonging to a group because now that I think about it, I do belong to a group. It's just that we are scattered far and wide.