I might be sick, but I would rather talk about friends
Saturday, January 12, 2019
I am feeling all kinds of pathetic and out of sorts this morning due to being sick, but I am not going to bore you with the details (besides they are kinda gross, lol). Instead, I thought I would talk about friendship. Those I have IRL (in real life), and those I have online (or through the mail, with pen pals) whom I have never met... and very likely may never meet face to face.
I have never been one to have a huge circle of superficial friends, but rather I have always had two or three really close, deeply dependable friendships, with a small cadre of other acquaintances that I find entertaining and tolerable. (I know that sounds awful... “tolerable”... but a lot of people provoke my social anxiety, and these are people, who seem not to provoke it!). Due to circumstances beyond my control those people have shifted through the years, but the pattern remains consistent. Once I call someone a “friend”, they are part of my inner circle, and I will bend over backwards to maintain that friendship... sometimes to my detriment. I have to have sufficient proof of malfeasance directly in my face (repeatedly) before I repudiate a friendship. It hardly ever happens, but that’s not to say it “never” happened! And it hurts every time. And I question my judgement about people every time. But when I step back and look at the overall picture of my life... my IRL friends tend to be really good people whose lives simply intersected mine for a time... and then our lives diverged again. I have one long-standing best friend... whose experiences in life run parallel, and intersected at a crucial moment, creating an unswerving bond between us (no matter how grumpy she gets, or how cranky I get!)... she’s the kind of friend who I could not speak to for 3 months, then pick up the phone and have a conversation like we had talked the day before... but it’s unlikely we would not speak for 3 months. (We have never gone that long, I don’t think, even when we were put out with each other, as we are singularly capable of making the other laugh, and that is a valuable thing... and one of us always caves and calls the other, and we sort out our issues.) l work at maintaining her friendship, because it is important, and relationships that are important should be tended as assiduously as a flower in a garden, do that it will blossom just as beautifully. Not that I always remember. But she is willing to call me to task when I get to wound in my own stuff, just as I would if she did the same. It is very reciprocal. I guess that is the main key!
As for pen pals and online friends... I have friends across the USA, and around the world that I write letters and cards to (yes, actual penmanship, though mine has gotten a bit sloppy over time), and correspond with that have become what I would consider “friends”, and the long-standing core group of Sparkfriends that I interact with regularly (and add to frequently) are people that I would consider “friends”... especially those I have managed to meet in person, or with whom I have had meaningful conversation (through Sparkmail, FB, or private email). Some I even have turned into pen pals of a sort! lol
I think I am able to foster more friendships online or through the mail, despite my social anxiety, because there is a layer of disconnect. If I get uncomfortable or anxious I can simply sign out or walk away for a moment. I can control the level and rate of interaction. And I can stop the interaction at any moment. Those things give me a sense of ease and protection. A feeling of safety. And with pen pals there’s an even greater lag time, and I can stop and think about what I want to write with absolutely no pressure as to length or content. I know I am thrilled every time I receive a return letter in the mail, so I am assuming that the people that I write are happy just to receive personal mail as well. (And not judging me on penmanship, or content, lol).
I have made some dear friends here on SparkPeople. Some I have met in person. Some I will probably never meet due to physical and geographical circumstances. And that’s okay. It does not devalue our interactions. And it’s valuable to me to know I can login and interact with my friends and teams, and help foster their growth on this journey... just as they have helped me on mine. And really isn’t that what a good friend does? (Well, other than making you laugh so hard you snort milk out your nose!).
So, yeah I feel like crud this morning, and my sugar is out of whack, and oxygen levels are fluctuating, and I want to curl up in a ball under the covers for a week (but the Cooper-dog won’t let me!)... but I would rather focus on the beauty that is the friendships in my life. For the most part I find people to be too peopley. But once I let someone in...