Monday, October 13, 2008

meeting cute and making friends

Hey, Amber. Your last goal appears to be difficult, but isn't really. Look at how BFF we are, despite the time difference and the distance! I often talk about my awesome friend Amber to others, and show off the hug-like scarves you make me. There's even a picture of us framed in my house. Then I tell them that we met through our blogs. And then they look at me weird. But what's wrong with meeting through our blogs? Is this somewhat related to the lingering stigma against online dating? Why must people "meet cute," like in a "we bumped into each other in ___ Square and were both carrying "No Exit" and had to sort out our copies before we decided to catch the last Elliot Smith concert together before he died" or whatever kind of twee romantic hooey the movies insist on selling.

You are right though, friendships take a certain degree of effort to maintain, and an even certain degree of effort to begin. At least, there's the initial time investment before maintenance cruising, much like a dating relationship. But why do you think it's hard? But is that because you have a rather traditionalist, high-time investment model of friendship? You had a post a while ago about doing a friend inventory, which was kind of depressing, as you re-linked to Slynnro's post on how hard it is to make friends as an adult. I have very few friends, as well. But, my friend (why can't I type that without going "heh"), I come here to praise you, not to bum you out. I think that you're a great friend. You and I email on a daily basis, and call each other as needed, make and buy each other little presents and mixes, and are now having this nifty online epistolary experiment. Even though we're a great distance apart, we've somehow managed to see each other 2-3 times a year--far more than I've seen my friends from law school or college, who are not even that far away. Indeed, I would say that you are one of my closest friends, and the one I stay in contact with the most frequently--even though we've only been friends for a little over a year.

The reasons for our special friendship aren't hugely idiosyncratic, but we really work--I am not huge on hours-long phone calls, and no longer have the ability hang out on a daily basis (even if we were in the same city, our schedules suck), but love our frequent email system. Our friendship works because it suits our homebodyish, short-but-frequent way of communicating. We stay frequently updated on each other's lives, and whenever we have something really important to communicate, we write longer letters or pick up the phone. This lets you work those crazy law firm hours, and lets me research and write all day.

Of course, we're long distance, and the only way our friendship can work just happens to work out really well. But I encourage you to find friends who are like you in other aspects. You found in me your perfect permanently-connected-to-the-internet friend who mines the internet for interesting things for you to read and always responds to one of yours with similarly pithy commentary. I am glad that you're going to a knitting group. You may be shy and introverted, but you will find another person like you. The only two friends I have from law school I keep in touch with are that way--the gregarious, social butterfly types are very friendly and great to have lunch with, but because the way they express friendship is through the sharing of time, the minute I moved away and we couldn't hang out, the friendships sort of died. I am sure that if you want local people to hang out with, seek the meek and you shall find another buddy to sit on your nifty couch and knit with while watching Buffy and while the quiche bakes. And you probably won't have to teach her how to knit, unlike me!

And yes, Amber, I am introverted. The only reason I am able to make friends is because I try really hard, even though expending social effort enervates rather than enlivens me. Introverts are not necessarily social twitches; we merely approach social situations with anxiety and must exert more effort than those extroverted freakshows. I guarantee that if you approach someone like you, you will be able to ask for their number and they will give it to you with surprise and delight. They will be glad to go to Tyson's for chinese food. Every time I've ever found the other quiet-but-we-talk-a-lot-when-nervous type, I've made a lasting friend. Social misfits of the world, unite! We're so used to being the ones who ask the questions and wait in the conversational sidelines, that we're surprised that others want to learn about us and hang out with us, and we are grateful. My most recent in-town, off-blog friends have been made by me approaching the other quiet girls in my organizational theory seminar, exchanging business cards, and inviting them over for dinner. Yesterday, on the sail, I switched digits with the other slightly anxious woman in our group, and we now have plans for lunch and bargain shopping. If you make one friend, there's a likelihood that your social circle will expand to include their significant other or friends as well--what controlling paranoids call "social poaching," most sociologists and org theorists call "social networking."

I have a pool of rotating weekend and occasional evening buddies with whom to brunch or invite over for dinner. Making food for people helps you appear social, too--you are right, it's that primal urge to take care of a person that drives me. TD is out of town this week on business, and I'm looking forward to his return so that I can make him spaghetti and meatballs and tarte tatin. Oh, and TD. Yeah, I spend a lot of time with my boyfriend. I have to remind myself that I have friends and should see them more often.

So, get out there, girl! I promise to, as well. Join more hobby clubs, or hit up the people you meet for social dates! You'll probably like doing the same things if you do. Find more people who like board games.

Oh, and I can't remember what size that dress was. 0 or 2, but I think it was 2. And I promise, mega post on l-o-v-e by the end of the week. Or next.
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