I was reading a post over at Considerings today that made me think. My friend, Lizzi, was discussing the things she was thankful for and she honestly mentioned that she sometimes struggles with envy, especially when she compares herself or her life to others (and yes, believe it or not, Lizzi is thankful for the envy!) She also mentioned that someone had called her out for favoritism – implying that Lizzi had favorite friends and (I suppose) that meant that others were left out of that circle.
As I contemplated favoritism and envy, I realized that I struggle with both from time to time – and it’s usually over my perception of how others feel about me. I’m going to be completely honest here – and it’s going to make me sound like a lunatic – so hold onto your hats and try not to judge me too harshly.
I had a dream awhile back where I was very upset because some good friends had invited someone else to their house and not me. Granted, Chris was totally a dick about it (which he would never be in real life) and he came up to our mutual friend as we were talking, asking her if she thought it would be a good night to grill. They discussed various “gourmet” charcoals and he invited her to his house that night for dinner. At that point, Chris seemed to notice me standing there and he exchanged a few awkward, obviously uncomfortable words with me about charcoal (I don’t think people really have conversations about the merits of different charcoal, do they?). At the first possible opportunity, he and our mutual friend left together.
My feelings were hurt and a man I did not know, but who had overheard the whole exchange (in the dream, he looked and acted a lot like Barney Stinson from “How I Met Your Mother”) was outraged on my behalf. He said, “We need to go up there! You need to let them know that you know about the invite and that you’re upset!” He was obviously a trouble-maker. But as one who sometimes suffers from a lack of common sense, I nodded my head vigorously and together we drove to my friend’s house.
When we got there, the housekeeper let us in (note – in real life, Chris and Mike do not have a housekeeper – they are both exceptionally tidy and I also believe that they have some sort of magical superpower, because their house never gets dirty. Also, that dream housekeeper should have been fired. What was she doing letting two obviously deranged people into the house to wander about unsupervised?) We made our way to the kitchen, brazenly eating up the delicious hor’devours that were attractively arranged on the kitchen counter (besides being excellent housekeepers, Chris and Mike are also outstanding cooks). We may have also sabotaged the gourmet charcoal. At that point, I realized that I was acting like a crazy person and that my friends might never forgive me. All I wanted to do was to run away before I was caught and thrown out in disgrace. Barney Stinson drove the getaway car – careening through corn fields and barely missing various livestock. There was also something about a cave and a lake, which might some deep, meaningful symbolism, but is not pertinent to the point of this dream – which is, that I didn’t like the fact that my dear friends had other friends.
When I woke I realized that sometimes I did feel jealous that my friends have such a full social life that does not always include me. I occasionally feel the same when I read about bloggers who have “sister wives”, or exchange mail, or meet each other in real life. I think my friends and these bloggers are so very cool – and when they are with me (or interacting with me) it makes me feel loved and special – so I really miss it when they give that attention to someone else. I know how juvenile that is – I know that people have other friends and I’m not the be all and end all in anyone’s life – and I know that is normal and healthy!
But here’s the thing – until a few years ago, I really didn’t have many friends. When I was younger (before I married Doc and at the beginning of the marriage), I usually had one terrific friend who I met through work wherever I lived at the time. Although I moved far away and sometimes we didn’t interact with each other for years and years, we still remained fast friends. When we did talk, it was like no time has passed and I cherished that. However, as the marriage progressed, I became more and more isolated. I don’t blame Doc for this – he was my husband and also a homebody – so it seemed normal to hang out with him instead of going to scary parties where I would have to think of something clever and witty to say. Plus, I worked at home, by myself, for over ten years – so I didn’t have the opportunity to meet adult people who were not related to me.
Several years ago, when I made the conscious decision to work on my issues and attempt to be happier in my life, I realized that I wanted to have friends. I needed to have friends! So, I invited coworkers out occasionally for end of the day drinks. I joined clubs and activity groups in order to meet new people. I actually threw a party – and then another, and another! It wasn’t always comfortable for me, in fact it was often terrifying for me, but making good friends was important to me, so I powered on. And I do have some lovely friends, both in real life and online…but I want more.
I want to be someone’s person – that person that they call when they are feeling down, or if they hear a hilarious joke they want to share, or if they want to go to a movie or lunch on the spur of the moment – and I want them to be my person as well. It may be totally selfish and unrealistic, but especially now that Doc is gone and I’m alone with my adult thoughts and worries that I cannot really share with my kids (even though they are also adults), I want that close, comfortable, intimate, but platonic relationship. Is there such a thing anymore or am I emotionally still in grade school?
I don’t begrudge any of my friends for having other (and in some cases, many) friends – but, if I’m going to be totally honest (and I told you I would be) – I am envious that they are social butterflies. It makes me a little sad when I text or call my real life friends and don’t get a response for several days. I’m a bit melancholy when my blog friends don’t visit or comment on my posts for weeks or months. I realize that the onus is on me to get out there and be more social, meet more people, and make new friends – but I find it exhausting to even contemplate sometimes.
I wish I could tie this post up in a pretty bow and tell you I figured it all out – but I haven’t. Maybe I’m being unrealistic in my expectations and wishes. Perhaps I should focus more on enjoying the moments when I do get to interact with my friends instead of wanting to be closer or searching for my person. Maybe I should remember that my blog and real life friends have busy lives, just like me. Maybe I should just get out of my head, get over myself, and get on with life without worrying about things like this.
What do you think? Do I have an unrealistic view when it comes to friendship? If you have close friends, how did you meet? Do you have a person?