Friendship is few and far between—and that’s a good thing.
I’ve been to a rave only once in my life.
For those of you who aren’t aware, a rave is a “large overnight dance party featuring techno music,” according to Merriam-Webster, that is.
I have some funny memories from this time, when a girlfriend and I went along with two other friends who frequented these late-night parties. However, even in my exuberant youth, I couldn’t stay up late—and thankfully neither could she.
It was still the middle of the night, though, and one of the others had driven. In short, we were stranded and needed to find a way home.
We weren’t desperate enough to wake up our parents, since it was still a ridiculous hour even though it was pathetically early to the other ravers.
I remember standing outside the club—and I use that term generously, as I’m pretty sure it was just an old warehouse in a gross part of Toledo, Ohio—with my buddy trying to figure out what to do.
Mind you, this was B.C. (Before cellphones.) I can still see her face contort with sorrow as she realized that we didn’t really have anyone we wanted to call. She turned to me and said, “This is when you know that you don’t have as many friends as you thought you did.”
I remember another time in college, a few years after this above-mentioned scene, when yet another friend told me that her car had broken down at 3am the night before. She told me that when you think about who you can call at this unusual hour, you discover who your friends are. (Needless to say, she hadn’t called me.)
As I grow older, I realize how much these lessons have taught me, even if much of it has remained in the deep recesses of subconscious mind.
I’m a Scorpio. If you know absolutely nothing about astrology, I’ll explain to you what I mean.
I have only a handful of close friends, although I socialize well and have many friendly acquaintances. Still, the point is that for these few people who I bring into my heart, and into the heart of my life, I would do just about anything.
I don’t think there’s anything wrong with owning up to the reality that most of us don’t have 20 people you would call in the middle of the night for help. If you think about it another way, would you want 20 people calling you?
Friendship, real friendship, requires skill, work and dedication. It’s simply not possible to give all of yourself to a billion people. I guess you could, but would you have any love leftover for yourself afterwards?
I think my—I guess you could call it demanding—nature with friends most likely results from the fact that I’m an identical twin and am married to the man who has been my best friend since I was 14 years old. They both set the bar pretty high.
My twin sister taught me how to have a close relationship. Luckily, I consider us both to be independent, so I don’t feel that we learned co-dependency from our relationship either.
For me, it came naturally to fall into a long-term relationship with a boyfriend early on. I prefer genuine intimacy over b.s.-spewing conversations, and always have—and I think this helps explain how I feel about friendship as a whole.
Are you the sort of person who is different with different people or are you simply you, regardless of who you’re with?
I consider myself to be “me,” no matter who I’m talking to. I do know I had to work to be this way, because I think it’s easy to default into people-pleasing and chameleon-changing when you’re young and, quite frankly, still not entirely sure who this “me” even is.
It also seems to me that if you have a plethora of people you think are your friends, you might want to get yourself stuck in a bind and see who you turn to—and who answers.
Not everyone answers.
Not everyone picks up the phone for you in the middle of the night, ready to grab a coat and dash out the door even if you call expecting it.
Friendship is a two-way street, and this is the secret to any long-term or successful relationship: you must find other people who want these same things.
Not everyone is capable of being a good friend, and maybe not everyone wants to be a good friend.
My husband and sister still set my relationship bar high.
For lack of a better explanation, my back went out for the first time this weekend. My sister told me that she would figure out a way to come help with my daughter if I needed her. My husband did much of the work around our house and he played with our daughter so that I could do the only thing that makes me feel better—curl up on my back in a fetal position.
Having the inability to stand up straight and pick up your child makes you feel pretty vulnerable, let me tell you.
When you’re vulnerable, who will you let in? (Because in serious pain, whether externally, like mine currently, or internally, as the case usually is, we don’t have the strength to put up those phony walls for people who honestly are not our friends.)
Well, as it turns out, I do have a couple real friends. (Even though I recently told you about how lonely I’ve felt since my semi-recent move last year.)
Two of my (as it turns out, best) girlfriends are going to watch my little girl so that I can have a visit with my miracle worker, I mean massage therapist. They didn’t even hesitate when I asked them for help (and I don’t think it’s ironic that these two are sisters; I think that in my aforementioned deep, subconscious recess of my mind, I look for and value other women with this type of special bond).
Also, perhaps not ironically, I was just talking with one of these amazing women the other day, mentioning to her that I think for some of us the real difficulty lies in learning how to ask for and accept help rather than being overly dependent on others. (Although, this conversation came up in the first place because we were talking about people who had these tables turned.)
And that’s another beautiful part about people—we’re all different.
Relationships are odd things. They require attention, but not so much attention that you suffocate them; they require love, but the necessary patience to get to know someone in order to arrive there; and they give more than they take, if you’re really in a good one.
I don’t know about you, but I would rather have that handful of people who truly know me, love me, believe in me and support me through thick and thin than I would a mountain full of people who are none of these things to me.
Life isn’t lonely at the top; it’s lonely when you’re in the middle of it, and of everyone, and you’re still alone.
So, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go lie down in a fetal position while I have a few minutes, and while I’m there I’m going to send all my loving gratitude out to these beautiful people in my life. I’m especially thankful that my initial feeling of vulnerability led ultimately to an immense feeling of strength.
There is strength in love.
Here’s another definition from Merriam-Webster for you: strength is “the quality or state of being strong : capacity for exertion or endurance.”
That’s another thing about love—it helps move us through life, and it helps us enjoy the process while we’re at it.
“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ~ Lao Tzu
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Ed: Bryonie Wise