I have never had a lot of friends... Acquaintances, yes. Fellow partiers, definitely. But friends? Not so much. I have, however, been fortunate enough to have more "good" friends than most -- good friends are those whose phone numbers and birthdays I will always remember, who I make a great effort to hang out with or stay in touch with if they live elsewhere, people who I have known for many years and will know for many years to come. It's probably because I really only have the energy for the real lasting friendships. I'm not good at spreading myself too thin for shallow social purposes.
This weekend I had a good friend and her girlfriend in town, and I really came to appreciate the length of time we've known each other, the hilarious and ridiculous memories we share, and the complete opposite senses of style we have... It made me realize that everyone I consider a good friend of mine is pretty unique and unlike me in many ways. Sure, I have many things in common with most of them. They're all, for the most part, middle class white kids from the suburbs who come from Catholic backgrounds, have had pretty stable family lives, and now work full time jobs or are in some sort of graduate school. Pretty boring, except that we probably bonded in the first place because of our bad habits and our liberal mentalities.
I realize, however, that I have individuals all over the place with whom I can share different occasions and events and memories and plans.... I have collected a circle of intimates who can and do mesh when the time is right, but who exist mostly in separate bubbles. Obviously, many of them overlap beautifully as I've grown to know them over the years. Some I've known since elementary school, since middle school, since high school, since college... Some I've only gotten to know within the last year. It's like a huge Venn diagram of multiple circles overlapping that eventually creates one huge circle with me in the middle, floating amongst them.
Throughout my formative years, I both envied and feared the girls who could maintain a definitive "group" -- the ones who gathered year after year on someone's stairs for Prom pictures and bought pages of pasted pictures in the yearbook and then joined sororities and did all that crazy social stuff. But that's just not me -- groups have always seemed so frightening, so constricting... Perhaps they were (and still are) an easy social outlet, but for me, I just don't have the energy or the extroversion to understand how the politics work and how to maintain those kinds of relationships where everyone is friends with everyone else and everyone is equally close and, and, and... As you can see, even the thought of it overwhelms me. I suppose I've just always been too much of a loner, too much of an only child -- I crave my space and I value my time. I want to be able to pick and choose who I share my space with, who I spend my time with, and usually this means I can really only handle a limited amount of close relationships.
Limited in quantity, I suppose, but not quality, and I think I do have quality friendships. I have always been fearful of putting "too many eggs in one basket" in a sense. I have done this in the past with friends and in the process ended up ignoring others. But I'm older now and I realize the incredible importance of nurturing the close friendships that I have had for some time and being open to new ones. And all the while I can recognize and appreciate the vast differences between myself and those I am really truly friends with, and love them for all their quirks and flaws and for everything we disagree on. I would rather have 3 close friends who are unlike me in a million ways than 300 who are exactly the same.
I suppose I don't really have a point to all this. I just appreciate my friends and I don't need a big group to do it in. I just love everyone for who they are, and that's that. So thanks, friends. I think you're all really nice...