What makes a good friend? Is it being a listener on the phone whenever a friend calls you with a problem, even if it’s late at night like Carrie and Miranda? Is it walking into their bedroom whenever you notice your friend is down like Brooke and Peyton? Is it running lines with your friend who got cast in the school play as a form of punishment so he doesn’t make a fool of himself in front of the whole school like Eric and Landon? Is it offering your house as a hideout as you let her explain to you how she just ran her fingers through her crush’s hair in marching band and had to run away like Rory and Lane? Is it being able to call someone a “kindred spirit” even though they accidentally made you drunk on raspberry cordial like Diana and Anne? Is it offering to go to the nearest drugstore and smell shampoo products when your friend is feeling down about a boy like Tina and Holly? Is it starting a shrimping boat business after your friend passes away because you made a promise like Forrest and Bubba? Whatever the definition is, if you know you’ve got one and it’s not from a book or a movie or a TV show, you better hold onto them for as long as you can. All I know is a truly good friend is really hard to find in real life.
Saturday, March 3, 2018 – This was not the first Deep Thoughts event of the Nerdy 30s Ladies, but it was the first one I went to. I had been looking forward to an event where all us girls can talk about anything that is not guys, love life, relationships, and hair and makeup or whatever. Anything else at all. As usual, whenever an event was located downtown, I’d stress about parking. Luckily, I think on that day I was able to find a parking spot on the street somewhere a couple of blocks away. When I got to Opera House, I noticed right away this was not your regular coffee house. There was a coffee station, couches, and tables where you could enjoy your coffee selection, and around the corner another station where breakfast and lunch was served. It’s like a place where you can shift from breakfast to lunch with a simple set change. It’s like a sit-com! The girls I met that day were from all over the country and it was really nice to talk to each of them. One was from Germany and shared the same interests in writing as me. It was refreshing to talk to her. I can’t remember all our topics, but I remember talking about our jobs and spaces we live in. But most of all, I remember the feeling of walking away knowing I had made some new girl friends who had other interests besides typical girly stuff and I fit right in. There’s no better feeling in the world.
Sometimes I feel like a silent loudspeaker. It’s like my thoughts and actions are being broadcast on some big screen somewhere that everybody knows except for me and everyone who is around me acts like they know nothing. Oh, wait…that’s like the Truman Show. It’s been a while since I’ve seen that movie, but I get the gist of it and I remember really liking it. It’s one of the few Jim Carrey movies I like. It’s sad though because every time I think of Jim Carrey, which is not very often, I think of depression. I think he has been diagnosed with clinical depression at some point and it made me sad to think a lot of comedians are going through this or have gone through this. It’s like you can’t be really funny without having gone through a lot of unpleasant experiences, some downright shitty.
Maybe we are all on our individual Truman Show and different shows collide. And that’s how black holes form. Or hurricanes and earthquakes happen. But I think I feel this way because people are way too judgmental. It just takes one look for me to know someone is judging me. Usually it’s something I share about myself with them. When I get that judgy vibe coming from them, it doesn’t encourage me to keep sharing. Or it makes me want to edit what I say in real-time. If I notice myself starting to do that with someone, that’s the beginning of me knowing I won’t be close friends with this person. In the best case scenario it’ll just take me a little longer to become good friends with this person. The funny thing is, people are quick to judge without knowing the whole picture. We can’t help it. It’s kind of in our DNA. We go for the worst in people. Let’s be curious thinkers instead of Negative Nancies.
I remember the time you told me I’d probably enjoy watching “Family Feud.” I didn’t know you were right until ten years later, taking a break from filling out job applications. I didn’t do that on purpose either. Oh no. Whenever “Family Feud” was on back then, I was too busy trying to graduate. After the pressure of trying to fit in faded, I felt free to turn on the TV. It feels kind of wrong you can’t be here right now for me to tell you in person, but I know the way things turned out was the way it was supposed to.
There’s a piece of you sitting on my bookshelf. You cemented your place as my friend when you made that disappointed face after I told you I showed my mom the note you left for me in the inside front cover of a novel I lent you and she asked, “Who is that?” I thought it was funny, but you did not. That’s the moment I knew you had been hoping I saw you as more than a friend. You left that note in pen. Cheeky. A permanent stain for a temporary moment.
Now I see your updates with her on Facebook. I am happy for you because we both know I could never be that girl in the end. I’ve never met her, yet I know she’s a much better fit for you and obviously you know it too or you wouldn’t have married her. Still, there you are, a note inside a book sitting on my bookshelf. The memory of my mom asking who you are sticks with it. Talk about a family feud.
So I’m about to take a shower and I’m brushing my teeth/stripping and I’m thinking about what I need to write about. I can hear the text message dings while I’m thinking about what I have to put into words. I can hear my thoughts trying to climb over the rhododendrons to get to my plans for the rest of the evening as I’m thinking about what I must absolutely throw up onto the screen. And it comes down to this:
In college one of my guy friends introduced to me one of his buddies to our lunch table and I thought that buddy was one of the most annoying, stick-up-his-butt, obnoxious human beings around. The worst part is he had no clue he was being this way. Have you ever met someone like that? Someone who thought his word was law and no one could contradict his opinions? That was stick-up-his-butt guy and we did not get along. One day he asked everyone if they are a “cup person” or a “hand person,” referring to what you use when brushing your teeth. At the time I was a “cup person” and declared as much. He said I can’t be a “cup person” if I want to be clean. He was a “hand person” himself.
I thought this was just another one of his ridiculous claims. Who brushes their teeth by carrying water in their hand? But after some time noticing for myself the mildew that so easily grows in cups and the constant need to clean the cup, I finally agree with him on one thing–it’s a lot easier and cleaner to be a “hand person” than a “cup person.” You’re welcome.
(And here I was thinking no way in 65 million years would I ever agree with stick-up-his-butt guy on anything. Goes to show you should never say never.)
I guess it starts with me being a people-pleaser by nature. (Is that hyphen supposed to be there?) I have this fear of being forgotten, of always remembering, but not being remembered. Does anyone else suffer through this? For the longest time I put other people’s worth above my own. In some situations I still do that. I always felt like I remembered everyone else’s birthdays, but no one remembered mine. I felt like I would make time to hang out with someone, even put off studying time just because I knew a friend really needed me and needed to hang out, but then that same friend would cancel at the last minute. The feeling I got was comparable to the feeling one gets after being stood up on a date. I was so concentrated on this idea that no one cared as much about me as I did them, I couldn’t see when I had friends who did care, enough to reach out to me and see how I’m doing when they knew I wasn’t doing so great. I will always remember those friends, but as time goes by and circumstances change and life happens, I wonder if people will remember me or will I always be the “back-up” friend when someone’s bestie is not available to hang out.
I don’t know how good we are about keeping in touch with friends. I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately. It seems as soon as your single situation changes to married, you lose touch with your friends. Maybe you make new married couple friends, but the friends you had as a single you struggle to keep up with. They may move away because of a job or getting hitched as well. And if you’re single and suddenly losing touch with your married friends, it’s because they are now married.
If you’re married, is it appropriate to have friends of the opposite sex? Or is that just a big no-no? Should your partner be the only friend you need or do you really need to see other people on a regular basis as well? But back to keeping in touch with friends..
I’ve talked to people who still keep in touch with their friends from high school and I’ve talked to a couple people who don’t. To the people who don’t, one common thread seems to be life got busy as they went away to college and started down the career path. I guess it comes down to responsibility? The more you are responsible for, the less time you have to worry about what everybody else is up to. But what happens if you go through a rough patch and your family doesn’t provide the support you need? Is that when you turn to therapists? I can see it now. Therapist: the new adult friend.
We are not made to walk this life alone. So even if we don’t get married, I think we’ll always need friends if family is not able to be around.
Today was a particularly rough Monday for me, even though it was mostly my fault. (Self-inflicted pain.) Last night I made a bitter post. Yes, I tagged it ‘rant,’ but still. Tonight, I just want to be grateful. After texting with a couple friends, I realized just how blessed I am to have them. I am forever grateful for my friends. Yes, friends have annoyed me. Yes, friends have let me down. But friends have also been there for me. Friends have understood me, even when my family didn’t. Friends put a smile on my face, make me laugh when all I want to do is cry and break down, listen when it feels like I’m losing my voice and give me much-needed hugs. (Hey, just because I think like a guy doesn’t mean that I’m not a girl sometimes.) Friends take my mind off things and share happy news with me that gives me something to cheer for instead of despair over. For that I am grateful.
Over the weekend, some growth was happening to me. I saw an old friend who I haven’t seen in a while and my old self would have remembered the times she let me down one way or another, but this time, for the first time, I chose to be excited to see her and give her a great big old hug and not even worry about those times in the past when she let me down because honestly there weren’t that many and if I dig deep enough, I bet there were times I didn’t come through for her. The best part was that was my immediate reaction. No hesitation. That’s when I knew I’d been set free. So in a way I’ve decided that I should treat my friends with respect and love and not hope to be treated the same in return. No expectations. Because once you have expectations, you will be let down and you will hurt yourself. They never meant to hurt you. They were just being themselves. It’s only you, expecting certain behaviors out of them, that hurts yourself in the end. Life is much better and happier if you let it go and know that when you help someone, you just may get nothing in return, but you’ll be OK.