Tuesday, March 15, 2011

My perspective on the meaning of friendship.

Oh lordy, I'm struggling today.

Isn't it so funny (not really) how such a bunch of little things can sometimes just sneak up on a person and seem like one huge....ordeal?

The older I get, the harder it seems for me to make lasting, mutual friendships. And in the interest of full disclosure, I have kind of lost the desire to try. I'm also a bit spoiled because I married one of the best friends I've ever had, even if his male DNA can sometimes make me want to strangle him where he stands.

Case in point: R comes home from work, "Hey - what smells good?"
Me: Dinner (we don't say chicken around here lately because T is convinced that's all we ever eat ::insert dramatic child sigh and much protesting::
R: Oh, are we having chicken?
Me: *wincing* You know we don't say that word (giving a head jerk and the glance of fear towards T).
R: What word? Chicken?
Me: Wow. Way to follow the cues, hon. Great job.
R: What?!? (pause...sounds of wheels and cogs turning mightily) Oh. Oops. Sorry.

But I digress.

Not long after we got here, I really thought I had found a great friend who shared a lot of similar interests and views. As sometimes happens, it just didn't work out like I thought it would. No harm, no foul.

Then I met another lady that I thought, "Wow. We could be great, long lasting, stay-in-touch-no-matter-how-many-pcs'-we-endure friends.

And now I'm not so sure that's going to work out like I thought either. I'm feeling such a sense of loss and sadness. These types of things tend to trip me up for a bit. But after talking to R about it off and on, he made an excellent point that I so, so do not want to admit is right - this gal and I? We are great friends when it's convenient for her.

That's not my definition of a friendship. It's entirely possible that I expect too much. It's also entirely possible that I don't.

Right after S was born, R and I hit a rough patch and I poured my heart out via email  (we were Germany and I had no support system there whatsoever at the time) to the women that I considered to be my closest friends. Two of them, true to form, were absolutely there for me and probably saved my marriage. The other one never acknowledged or replied to my email. And hasn't to this day. That still smarts a bit...four years later.

That cemented the idea of categorical friendships to me. I mean there are levels of friendships, right? The more you know someone the deeper the friendship. Usually. 

But there are also categories.

1) The therapy friend
This friend tells you all her problems and troubles, deeply personal TMI stuff included. Even if you haven't known her for very long. You are expected to be supportive, nurturing, understanding and 100% available. I mean, she needs you at 11:30 pm to talk about the lady in the grocery store line who gave her a dirty look and it's because she's fat, right, cause her husband said her pants looked tight a couple weeks ago. Do not make the mistake of thinking that the therapeutic ear will be reciprocated. It most certainly will not.

2) The good times only friend
This friend only wants to be around you if you are in the best of moods. Any inkling of having a normal range of emotions will have her running for the nearest exit, plugging her ears and yelling 'blah blah blah', never to be seen or heard from again. And as a bonus, she'll tell everyone she knows what a downer you are.

3) The friend if you're here, but once outta sight, outta mind friend
Pretty self explanatory, actually. But I feel obligated to mention that included in this type of friendship is the implied understanding that whatever might have happened while you weren't "here" is not to be mentioned under any circumstances. Ever.

4) The bad habit friend
This is the person that brings you a pie on day three of your new exercise/healthy eating regimen, talks you into buying something you really didn't want or need when you are watching your budget, thinks it would be great fun to have a drink at lunch when you have to go back to work. Unfortunately, this person is so charming and fun to be around that it's practically impossible to stay away from her.

5) The situational friend
This friend is your best bud at the PTO or on parent night at school, but wouldn't give you the time of day otherwise. Specific rules apply to this friendship and if you violate or question them, you will be given many blank, unblinking, confused stares. I mean, really, what were you thinking inviting them to join you when you ran into each other a Applebee's? As if.

6) The 'I'll hang with you until something better comes along' friend.
This person? Ahhhhh, this person will likely leave you in mid sentence and let you hear their huge sigh of relief when she spots someone, anyone else to hang out with. And then she'll do the same thing to the person she ditched you for. It's like trading up on fast forward and as long as you aren't emotionally invested in the relationship, it's hilarious. Also - you are not allowed to be funnier, smarter, thinner, prettier, or more talented than this person. Duh!

Have I missed any? Let me know in the comments :)


JLK said...

What about the good ones? Surely there are good friend categories as well..... I have yet to meet one, fantastic-in-all-ways friend that negates the need for anyone else.

Daily Dose of Dahl said...

Oh my gosh - I was so wrapped up in the poor me pity party yesterday that I totally didn't think about now negative this would come across. Duh.

There are good friend categories. Totally. And thank you for pointing that out.

JLK said...

I wasn't trying to say the post was negative. :( I am genuinely curious as to how you would categorize good friends, because I think you're spot on with the bad ones. :)

Daily Dose of Dahl said...

I was going for honest but funny, and last night it seemed funny, but it also seemed a little bitter when I re-read it this morning. And I was bitter when I wrote it - not only am I having an issue with my gal pal, but I was at a PTO meeting yesterday where I just felt... totally out of place and completely unwanted. And that's really unusual. I think I was just having a rough day.

Wait - do you hear that?
It's a teeny tiny violin playing a sad little tune for me. (Choked sob) LOL!

Seriously, tho - I'm working on a post now for the good friend categories. I'm happy to say I can think of at least as many good ones as questionable ones! :)

And I didn't take your comment as a criticism in any way, just as a reminder that I'd missed pointing out the flip side.