Monday, January 26, 2009

Friends... (the super long post)

Yesterday was my friend's birthday.

I'm not sure how old he is. Simply because age for me is really just a number. My friends range in age from a lot younger than me to quite a bit older than me. But we all have one thing in common, and its that one thing that keeps us coming back to each other.

Its called friendship.

Webster's defines friendship as:
Friend"ship\, n. [AS. fre['o]ndscipe. See Friend, and -ship.]
1. The state of being friends; friendly relation, or attachment, to a person, or between persons; affection arising from mutual esteem and good will; friendliness; amity; good will.
There is little friendship in the world. --Bacon.
There can be no friendship without confidence, and no confidence without integrity. --Rambler.
Preferred by friendship, and not chosen by sufficiency. --Spenser.
2. Kindly aid; help; assistance, [Obs.]
Some friendship will it [a hovel] lend you gainst the tempest. --Shak.
3. Aptness to unite; conformity; affinity; harmony; correspondence. [Obs.]
Those colors . . . have a friendship with each other. --Dryden.

hmmm. very intellectual way of putting it.

I am especially fond of the 3rd definition. "Aptness to unite; conformity; affinity; harmony; correspondence". Well, all except the conformity part. But the "Aptness to Unite" is so true for my friends. If one of us is ever in need and we can pull together to make that need be met... by golly we do it. Affinity, Harmony, Correspondence; those are the perfect three words (in my opinion) to describe friendship.

Think of who your best friend in this whole wide world is and see if those words don't describe the kind of relationship you have with him/her.

Go on... I'll Wait....

See what I mean? Heck those three words even describe the relationship you have with just plain old friends. (and by "plain old" I imply that these people are your friends but not listed in the "best friends, know every dirty detail of your life" category)

Friendship for me is not something I take lightly. I can categorize my friends very easily.

(I know this sounds like a repeat of a previous post but bear with me)

There are 2 main categories of Friends, and within those categories there are sub-categories.

The first and most common category is labeled "Friends"
These are the people I have an everyday acquaintance with. We probably don't hang out much outside of the time we already spend together (I.E. work, church, community groups, social groups, yada yada). I include my bloggin-buddies in this group. I know that we probably know more about each other than people we see everyday, but I seriously doubt that we will ever see one another face to face. Why? Because we enjoy our anonymity.

And even though I enjoy a kind of part time friendship with these people I would extend my hand to them with no less trepidation than I would to those people who fall into my other category of friends. Which means, I will do anything within my power to help with whatever I can. I never expect anything back, nor do I seek recognition for the deeds I have done. It is the very simple nature of the giving person. I like to make others happy, and I especially like to do it if they are my friends.

Category Number 2 is labeled as "Close friends"
These are the people I may not see everyday, but would like to. They are few and far between. The number of people in this category has never risen above 5. maybe. probably more like 3 or 4. There are some very specific rules about getting into this category. Hell I don't even know what those rules are. I put an almost ridiculous amount of faith in these friendships. Once I count someone as a close friend I don't even think about never talking to them again. I always assume that we sill stay in contact no matter what. Why? Well because these are the people I will forgive, always. they can do wrong, but I never hold it against them. We as humans are flawed.

Ok wait let me amend that. I will almost always forgive. There a few, very few who made it into my circle of close friends and then were subsequently booted. The most recent being my best friend from high school. She and I were best friends from the first day we met until our last and final fight. Which wasn't much of a fight but still it ended with her moving to another state and not even telling me. It ended with a promise made years ago (to be each other's maid of honor) broken on both sides. It ended the friendship in its then current incarnation. About 4 years after our falling out we started emailing each other again, but I doubt that we will ever be the kind of friends we once were.

To get into this circle is not easy. I learned growing up that not all the people who say they are your friends actually mean it. So I am actually rather picky about who gets to see the real me. The un-edited me. Me in all my crazy-loyal-trusting-gullible glory.

My close friends are held to higher standards than other friends. Why? because they should be. Somehow or another they proved themselves to be better than all the other people I acquaint myself with. Which means I expect nothing less than what they already have to offer. sounds confusing even to me. I can't explain it any better than that.

So if I only expect from these people what they have already proven themselves to be, then why on earth are they always the ones that hurt the most? When I lose a friend from this category (even if it isn't my fault) I feel bereft. When the loss of a close friend is my fault... well lets just say its not pretty. I count myself lucky that I haven't had a close friend die on me. Shit... shouldn't have said that....

I have been brooding over this for about a month now. I think I may have lost a close friend. Not just a close friend but someone who held the coveted "best friend, like a sister" spot. She is my son's god-mother. A few months ago she moved across the country. We used to talk damn near every day, then it trickled down to about once a week, and then it stopped completely. She never returns my calls, or my emails, or my text messages. I really could have used her in the last few weeks, but I could never get a hold of her.

Inside I am devastated. I'm crushed. I trusted her with the spiritual well being of my child. I depended on her to be my crying shoulder. I floundered for a little bit, even before all the drama of the last month or so. There were times when I just wanted to stay up late with her on the phone and talk about everything that has been going on. But the last time I actually talked to her was the beginning of October.

In everything that has happened a new being left the ranks of "Friend" and joined the ranks of "Close Friend" and then in no time flat she gained the coveted "Best friend, like a sister" title. and all without my knowledge... sneaky... very sneaky. For those of you who can't guess, that would be EZ. I can tell her anything. Hell I find it easier to talk to her than to talk to my own mother.

She has been priceless. There was a time when if you told me she would be one of my most trusted confidants I would have laughed at you. She was (and probably still is) SOOOOO out of my league. Super intelligent, Crazy cool under pressure, and the most diplomatic person I know. She can soothed ruffled feathers without anyone noticing. She is one of those people that others just flock to. You can't help it. She has an amazing charisma. Sometimes I fell like the dumpy hanger on when I am around her. She never makes me feel that way, I just stand back and get a good look at the situation. Its one of those "things at make you go hmmm" moments.

We'll be sitting in a bar full of people, she is engaging in the best, most intriguing conversation with a group of people, and I am just tagging along for the ride. Or with my super shitty luck, I get cornered by the drunk guy who wants to expound on the many great attributes of something or another.... And no matter what I try this guy just doesn't get it. And there I am watching her being amazing.

Without her I would never have gotten into performance poetry.
Without her I am fairly certain I would have been a complete emotional wreck in the last few weeks.

Right now that circle of close friends is tiny, well ok so it usually tiny. Right now I can count 3.5 people in that circle. (.5? WTF)

ok let's do the math:
0.5 = My son's God-Mother. I'm not sure where our friendship is headed but since at any moment She can call me and I'll act like nothing happened She gets to get to keep a .5.
1.0 = EZ. need I say more
1.0 = Bruce*. He is my best friend, as he should be. I can talk to him about anything anytime. No judgements.
1.0 = Steve*. He is a hard one to explain. I would never have met him if it weren't for EZ. Somehow he snuck into the Circle. Don't ask me how, I can't explain it.

And that's it. I don't count my family in my Circle mainly because I didn't get to choose them. I love my family, even if they are the craziest most insanely weird people I know (and that's saying something), but they have to be my friends. They have no choice in the matter. Ok maybe that's not true, but that is fodder for another blog...

*names have been changed to protect the innocent, the a**holes and the clueless.

1 comment:

Erma said...

I am surprised and quite honoured you feel this way. I do so appreciate the sentiment. One thing I've found is that if you allow people to be who they are, you can enjoy them more fully. I put no expectations (at least long term ones and basic common courtesy) on anyone when it comes to friendship. The ones I am "close" friends with are the ones who decided they wanted to be close friends with me and were willing to do what it takes to achieve that. Every relationship, I believe, is a series of give and takes. As long as that dynamic remains in frequent equilibrium, you are a "close" friend. Reactionary, I guess, is what best describes me in this regard, except the reaction is never going to be hatred or vitriolic. It's not worth the dramatic effort.

You, my dear friend, give as good as I give, and as long as that remains the case, I fear you'll be stuck with me as a "close" friend. I'm not scared of the height at which you've placed our friendship, but I am worried that if your expectations are as high as they are... I'm competitive enough to want to live up to them but I think we might be safer if you drpped them and revel in what we have while we have it. Life will change. It's guaranteed. Whether yours or mine, it doesn't matter... What matters is that at this moment, we are close and hopefully our give and take makes us both grow into better people for it. Love you, EZ.