Sublimly Ridiculous

What Is A Friend?

December 22, 2012

It seems, to me,  one of the greatest misconceptions in my life, at least within the paradigm of relationships, has been that I have longed believed that a “friend” looks like something that doesn’t exist.

I see these sister-friends who have invested so much in each other that they function almost as a unit.  I see how they care for one another’s children and each other and I know, somewhere deep inside of me, is the person capable of that kind of relationship.  I would be lying if I said I didn’t long for the ease of familiarity that is so obvious to the rest of us watching.

But, to be frank, in 39 years of life, I have yet to find that long-term friend.

This leads me to wonder…

Do I really WANT that kind of relationship in my world or do I just THINK I do because that is a social norm?

Honestly, by this time in my life, if I had truly wanted those relationships, knowing myself as I do, I would have searched harder instead of waiting for someone to show up.

Truth be told, the likelihood of me connecting well with another woman for an extended period of time is unlikely at best, and guffaw inducing hilarity when pondered too hard.

I just have to realize that many of the qualities I have worked so passionately to achieve are not compatible with the mindset of most females of my acquaintance.

The other day I sat in the parents/observer room while my children ice skated with friends.  As the women clustered in groups talking about life, the holidays, travel plans v. no travel plans, etc.  I watched the ebb and flow.  I had nothing to offer.  No interest in offering.  When one of these truly wonderful women sat by me, asking what I was reading, I don’t think she was prepared for a discussion about the flaws of moral relativism.  I was reading Nancy Pearcy’s “Saving Leonardo: A Call to Resist the Secular Assault on Mind, Morals, and Meaning“, which is, by the way, fantastic!!!  Apologetics for Real Life… Without that infantile default of “Faith Like A Child” when an answer simply requires an educational investment in yourself.

But I digress.

It has been a decades long investment in myself where I read the books Not Popular, watched the political pundits, listened to talk radio, frequented news websites, and current events blogs in lieu of  mommy-blogs,  learning to crochet, going out to lunches, or finding a shopping buddy. Even my book club suggestions get blank stares and low attendance.

And, frankly, I like that I can think.  That rationale and reason are important and logic trumps emotion.

This is where the boys interrupt and call me, “Ms. Spock”.

I think I present a well-adjusted grown up to the world.  But I wonder if I am a bit more like Spock with a dry garden where kindness, compassion, and, even, nurture could be cultivated.

In a recent conversation with the Mr.,  he made an observation about the women in his experience:

Women can flit from relationship to relationship easily.  They can have a spat, ignore each other, make up, and go on like  nothing ever happened.  The women we know can bond easily with other women, often allowing a strong bond to develop between themselves and a relatively unknown entity.  Men, on the other hand, are wired completely differently.

Boys, these are the observations of a man, and I am only relaying his words… Don’t get up in arms and tell me I’m some girl trying to define men.

Men dance.  Like wolves.  They cautiously circle one another, they observe behaviors, and make evaluations.   Men engage easily but bond rarely.  When men fight?  Often it is to the death.  Of the relationship.  But men are ok with an occasional disagreement and don’t need a Stepford friend.  In fact, a healthy, well-adjusted man admires the friend who has a differing opinion, the testicular fortitude to share that opinion, and the mental acuity to do it well. Men don’t need to connect constantly to reaffirm the relationship.  They said they were friends.  They are.  Until they aren’t.

To men?  Reputation is the linchpin that holds it all together.   They will protect their own reputation and the reputation of those they call “friend”, even at great personal expense.

Frankly, I sat there, a bit stunned and quiet, when he finished.   He had just described me.

So…. If I feel “lonely” and have a desire for “friends” it is unlikely that I will relate well to women.  I don’t relate well to women.  I will, on the other hand, do just fine in a room full of men.  And I do.

But I’m married.  With children. Finding that deep friend within appropriate parameters?

Unlikely.

The only friend I ever had where I got thisclose to a like-minded compatriot? Well, it was great while it lasted but inevitably failed as her interest in me was, well, more than a little inappropriate.

So, now I’m sitting here with good bourbon and an unfiltered cigarette kinda cracking myself up.

Ahh…. No girlie mixed drink, no balls of yarn, I’m watching a gritty crime drama after an old sci-fi flick.

I may never find a girlfriend like me.  I may never have an instant girl’s night buddy.

But, as a self-proclaimed well-managed introvert, I think that I would be exhausted by the very thing that seems so enticing in the moment of weakness.

And besides, she’d just want to fix me.  And make me quit drinking bourbon.  And go see girl movies.

And enjoy ballet The Notebook…

I hated that movie.

  • Pass the Bourbon. Sad that we are not in the same town. It is exhausting living for someone else so that you will feel like you have a friend. Living for 3 years now without a ‘sister friend’ has been refreshing. Having hubby as my best friend has been delightful, and leaves little room for a sister. The two that I have been excited to have – wanted to replace my spouse with their needs and their time. I’ll pass on your stoggie, but I’ll watch your sci fi movie, waiting for The Dr to appear again soon.

  • I think this all the time…… There’s no one like me!
    But I’ve found some wonderful women to do life with online, who I have now had the privilege to meet in real life. It’s amazing how awesome God has been to me in this area. I’m busy as a wife and as a mom. I don’t have time for traditional friendships, but what I’ve found really seems to work.