The Friendship Thing.

This is in response to Alachia’s Post the other day.  Her musings made me think about my own friendship situation.

I really do not have any friends here in Denver.  My one friend that I was close to when we lived here before was a friend from way back in college. Unfortunately, she passed away a couple of years after we moved.  The other ‘friends’ were book club friends.  I could get back in touch with them, but I don’t really think I have much in common with them.

I actually know a few people who live here that I knew in Adelaide, Australia too.  We were ex-pat ‘wife friends’.  These are friends that mean the world to you when you are an ex-pat and are desperate too socialize with when you are a ‘stranger’ overseas — you’re suffering from culture shock and really need those other people who are culture shocked around you.  Since moving here, I have only seen two of them once each.  I’m sure they are wonderful people, and I wouldn’t run away if I saw them in the supermarket, but we don’t REALLY have much in common other than having been a good support network for each other when we were ‘foreign’.

I also know a couple of people via Facebook that I was friends with at college in Wyoming about a million years ago.  We made some noises about meeting up — but … meh.

Of course, I am close friends with my two super bosses – but I don’t think that counts.

I have tons of friends in Norway.  Far far away friends.  We aren’t wonderful at staying in touch, just Facebook, Gowalla, and the occasional email.  But when we DO see each other, everything is still the same – we’re just as good friends as we were when we were living in the same city.  I miss them.  Same goes for my friends in Australia — I have really, really good friends in Australia … I miss them, but we don’t get on the phone or write long letters to each other or anything.  And I don’t tend to go around with an aching in my heart because I miss them or anything. It’s not even really something I think about on a daily basis.

All my other friends are online.  I don’t even talk to them using my voice – online written words and images. Chat rooms, Flickr, Facebook, and Buzz.  Oh and tweets.  Although the VAST majority of the people I follow aren’t my friends.  A few I DO consider my friends though, and hopefully they know who they are.  And I feel strangely closer to a few really good friends from high school and college years than I have in a really long time.  And I am so grateful for Facebook for that.  Friends that I have only ‘met’ in the last year or two online also can feel very special to me at times.  I do call them my ‘friends’ when I speak about them.

The thing that struck me the most about Alachia’s musings on friendship is that she said she sometimes longs for the physical aspects of friendship.  And I wonder if I am strange or cold-hearted since I generally don’t feel that kind of loneliness.  I don’t have a longing to connect with people in real life on a daily basis.  I have my family (hubbie and the boys) of course — and being there physically with them gives me all that I need in the physical realm really.

But then, again, I do think it would be very exciting to meet my online friends in the physical world, and there are a few that I wish lived closer so I could hang out with them one afternoon.  But in general, the idea of having a physical friendship that I would have to nurture exhausts me.  My life is already so full – working, mothering, shooting pictures, writing, and playing – I just don’t know when I’d have the TIME to take on something/one new!!  Seriously, I find it exhausting just thinking about it!  And I just KNOW I would fail miserably at it.  I would resent ‘having to’ talk on the phone, meet up for lunch, or, God forbid! on a precious weekend!  I have the occasional night out with my bosses – that keeps me pretty happy.

So, maybe I’m weird.  I actually count myself LUCKY that I have such a rich social life online that I don’t NEED to cultivate real life friendships.  What a whacko 🙂

Besides, I have Toulouse.

Comments (3)

  1. Carleen

    It's so nice to see your thoughts on this because I'm very similar when it comes to friends. I often wonder if there is something weird about me, because I don't socialize a lot. I need a lot of "me" time, and I seriously mean just "me" time. I need a good dose during the week where the rest of the world around me temporarily disappears while I take on some personal project, some crafting, reorganizing, or heaven forbid just sitting on the couch and vegging. As you know, you get precious little time for that when you're a working mom.:-)

    I think there was always something about my childhood that made it hard for me to connect. I only moved three times, the last move was too the states but it was really traumatic for me, very different and it was around that time that my personality became rather introverted. I've pretty much been that way ever since (yet you'd probably have a hard time telling this from all my activity on social networks…I have a feeling these places are a haven for the socially awkward like me). I don't feel like I need much more than my husband and other family. Yet I still have this nagging feeling that there's something unhealthy about this. I always feel mighty jealous when I watch a sitcom where girls are out together have a "girls night" bonding and such, yet when the opportunity arises to actually do something like that, I would rather just hang out at home. It's weird.

  2. chewyfruitloop

    Honistly, I can't think of a single aquatance I'd call an actual freind. I know boat loads of people, could I count on them if I needed them, doubt it.

  3. Linn Søvig

    Huh. I live alone so my needs are different. But I totally get what you're talking about!
    I try to balance my relationships – but it rarely works out. I end up feeling exhausted because I can't nurture any of them well.
    I was thinking of this the other day when it comes to the Girl Geeks Dinners. It's such a lovely time, just being girly and geeky. We started a chat forum, but I find myself reluctant to share anything there. I enjoy talking and being inspired by these girls in a physical presence and also being able to talk girly about my online relationships, fads, ideas a.s.o. It's the physicality of the relationships that I enjoy, but I have no need to expand this feeling online. There I have my own things to do, and my own social life. Urgh – am I making sense? It was something that suprised me about myself, but when I think about it, it makes perfect sense. I obviously have a need to keep all of my relationships in different segments of my life and I want them to stay there, not melt their way into another segment as well.
    I love getting to know interesting people. And I love learning new things. I know it seems bizarre, but I often adore being the stupidest person in a group of people. By being completely ignorant on a lifestyle, a subject or something, I get to learn and get introduced to new ways of thinking and being. But this fascination often wears off. And I find myself having to ask "Do I really like this person?". I too get jealous when I see sitcoms and there's groups of friends all lovey dovey with each other. It seems so incredibly safe and warm. But in reality I tend to shun away from it. I mean – how can you stand to be around the same people all the frakin time? I need diversity and inspiration. But then again, this may be a human flaw in me. I don't do any relationships well. And in the end it all becomes little compartments of superficial togetherness. Which is the most important thing about my friendships – I get to share moments of happiness, my accomplishments and my passions.
    Huh…I'm wondering if I had a point here somewhere, before going amock with my own ponderings.
    Oh I know! There's nothing wrong with you! I think it's healthy and completely the way to go. It's one of the best things about our connectivity. Keeping in touch and being available for sharing thoughts, moments a.s.o. Who really needs the superficialness of friendship when you're happy with the way things are?


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