Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Wanted: Close Friend

I am a crappy friend. I always have been. I suspect this is a genetic trait because my mom is a pretty crappy friend, and my dad is a loyal friend, but one prone to frequent disappearances. We are all excellent friends to eachother, though.

I'm not really sure what makes a good friend. Were I to strive to become a better friend, I wouldn't know where to start. Frequent phone calls? Too annoying. E-mails? Too impersonal. I like to settle on text messages as a comfortable in-between space, but unsurprisingly, this means I don't see a lot of people. Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to have someone I could call to come over no matter what, to curl up with a cup of tea and have a good cry, or something.

Frankly, I'm not sure I even believe people really have friends like that at all.

There was a time in my life I went out of my way to be friendly. Still, it usually resulted in me having too much to drink and making self-aggrandizing comments to complete strangers and just generally making an ass of myself. The friends I have made are usually like me, and really too lazy to organize much mutual companionship. At one point I had a 'hub-friend' who I could count on to link me up with other friends and do most of the work, but he has grown up, gotten a girlfriend and now has better things to do.

I say all of this because I am attempting to become a better friend. Though I can't heal my born and bred crappy friend nature, I have my moments. I'm organizing a trip to Ottawa to see my best, most precious friend who has recently had a baby with his fiancee, whom I have not yet met. He has had a rough past couple of years, but seems to be in a good place and have his life on track. I can't wait to be there to celebrate with him. But he still lives four hours away, and no matter how much I try and reconnect with him, I am in essence very friendless.

At times I attempt a sprint of calls to people I know. It's practically painful to lift the phone, to make plans. My social anxiety natters away in the back of my head. Wouldn't you rather just watch tv? It says. They probably have something better to do. It only takes being turned down once for me to give up. I don't have the heart for rejection, and it is easier to stay at home with my son and do nothing at all.  My husband tries to soothe me with the information that it's not my fault, that society just isn't built for friendships like the one I'm looking for.

All this said, I am confident that one day I will put forth the effort to make friends with someone, and it will be fully reciprocated. She or he will live within ten minutes of me, and find me interesting, and will have just the right level of self-absorption so as to make me feel comfortable with my own. They will pop by my house unexpectedly, like in a sitcom. They will give me sage advice on fashion, matrimony and motherhood. They won't find me shocking, or distasteful when I swear like a sailor. Is that really asking so much? A kindred spirit in an age of individualism?

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