Tuesday, January 10, 2006

If you need a friend

I actually got some work done today. Not much, but something. I am ridiculously out of it. I am rationing my blog-writing privileges until I finish these damn memos. Finished one today. I'll get started on the other one tomorrow.

I thought I might expand on a throw away from yesterday's story: my hesitance to impose myself on others. I've been like this for as long as I can remember. I need a direct invitation to feel comfortable joining in--that means a real invite to a party, an explicit "come to the movies with us" not just a "we're eating Chinese tonight." I can't always tell when it's ok to include myself. I like to hear the words. My attempts in this direction are pretty clumsy, as my friends can testify. I might ask, "Oh, so, maybe, you know, I could come?"
"What? Yes, of course. You know you're always invited." Pele might say.
"I am? I didn't know that." But how could I not know? It's Pele after all.

When I was in grade school, I wasn't well-liked and I could never figure out what was wrong. I tried and tried to make friends. I talked about it endlessly to my mother and she didn't know how to explain it either. I did have the same best friend from K thru 5th grade, and she was almost enough for me. Oh, and I had a couple boyfriends too; are you surprised? Part of the fear then, is that people don't like me and don't want me around. Mostly I'm over it, but a shred of this fear remains in my need to be explicitly invited.

My hesitance also springs from a somewhat clingy and obsessive temperament and my fear of boring people to death. When I like someone a lot, boy or girl, I'm happy to spend all my time with that person. Yet I know they have other friends, a life and I try not to smother. Sometimes even I need a break. Still, I tend to jump in with both feet and shower enthusiasm over any relationship. If I don't know I'm welcome, I will restrain myself.

I also know I can be just a teeny, tiny bit long winded. I can't always stop myself from telling the long stories. I get caught up in the narrative and I don't want to stop. Some of my friends give me a hard time about this. They are usually guys (Spesh and TR come immediately to mind). I suspect other guys were also not so interested, but tolerated the ultra-long stories because they had, ahem, ulterior motives. If a guy can sit and listen to a few hours worth of old boyfriend stories without giving me advice or getting jealous, he's halfway home. A woman who is not bored with my stories may find herself my friend for life.

I've noticed that my best friends tend to be kind, friendly, tolerant people. My old joke was that you need a lot of patience to be my friend. I can be tough. I can be cranky, passive-aggressive, regular aggressive and all kinds of annoying. I'm blunt, too honest and bordering on judgmental. Hopefully, the rewards of being my friend are worth it, but that's not for me to say. I can say that I am one of the most loyal friends you will ever have.

I think I pick these tolerant, kind souls as my best friends because they are role models for me. They treat people the way people should be treated. They do what I wish I could do more consistently. They see the good wherever possible. And they get along with everyone (except for Audrey, but she's like a litmus test for good people--if I had a boyfriend who liked Audrey right off, I knew he was ok).

There is a place for the honest snark I bring to things. The rude comments about ill-fitting jeans, sparkly eye shadow or scary guys are funny and liven things up. But they also break my kindness rule in about a thousand pieces.

Why is it these days that I start out on one track and end up somewhere completely different? I think I'm losing my mind. Tomorrow, I will have something amusing and dating related to share. And it has nothing to do with Bob. Or Bob.

I did not solicit actively for "Dear Jamy" and no one sent a question. The advice biz is tough! So, you know, send a question and I will answer it next Tuesday. But I'm not going to beg.

Grateful for: all my best friends.

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