I’ve been thinking a lot about friendship and what a good friend is. I sometimes think I have a kind of transient mentality when it comes to friendship. I moved back and forth between countries a lot as a child so I don’t have any of those lifelong friends some people have from the time they were in diapers through to adulthood. My oldest, still close friendship is maybe 14 years long. Yeah sure, I have a few friends that I keep in touch with from high school in Jamaica but I wouldn’t consider them close friends and I’m terrible at keeping in touch.
And that’s where the transient mentality comes into it. I’m used to people passing in and out of my life. I might not be happy about it but I accept it as a fact of life. You meet a lot of people, you click with a few and then even fewer still actually end up being good, close, real friends. That’s just how these things work. Or maybe it’s me and I just don’t gel with that many people. Which is equally plausible.
My friendships tend to start out all hot and heavy, see them all the time and then eventually settle into that ‘yes, we’re friends now, we can calm the fuck down’ vibe. OR they start out intensely and then peter out because you realise one side is more invested in the friendship or you’re not that compatible outside of partying or however you actually met or you realise they’re just not the person you thought they were. Which is fair enough, not everyone is themselves at the beginning. Some people take their time to show you who they are and sometimes you love the real them more and sometimes you run for the hills.
What attracts me to people initially is sarcasm, inappropriateness and a willingness to not take themselves too seriously. A love for good food, wine, cocktails, music and dancing are also very appreciated and they must be able to hold their own in the conversation department. They should also be fine with nudity as I get my boobs out on a regular basis. The things that cement my friendships are relentless honesty, a willingness to go the extra mile, loyalty and a genuine interest in the other person (e.g. their well being, what they want from life, what’s going on with them, etc.).
I’m actually much more comfortable being the listener in most one-on-one situations so I often I end up knowing a lot more about my friends than they know about me. So, it can be a nice surprise when someone remembers something I mentioned in passing or they remember that I like or dislike something. You know, the little things that show they’re interested. I try and do stuff like that for people’s birthdays; remember what they’ve spoken about lately and work their present in around their current interests. Works pretty well – I’m a good birthday present buyer in most instances.
The most important thing to me is honesty. I cannot deal with lies. I once had a friend that lied about every little thing and it got to the point where you couldn’t believe even the most insignificant word that came out of her mouth. After I cut her out of my life, I promised myself I wouldn’t deal with that shit again. If someone can’t be honest with you about what’s going on in their life and who they are, then that person isn’t a friend. At least, that’s how I view it.
Nowadays, I tend to keep people at arm’s length when the red flags start popping up. I might still be friends with them – because, hell, everyone makes mistakes – but, at the same time, you have to protect yourself. People don’t operate in a vacuum and, even if they never make that exact same mistake again, there’s a root cause for why they thought that course of action was ok at the time. You could still get caught in the crossfire when that innate selfishness/dishonesty/disloyalty/self-preservation mode (whatever you want to call it) bubbles to the surface again.
And I’m ok with having peripheral friends like that. You gain the benefit of their friendship, which can still be fun and worthwhile, but you keep yourself separate from the potential drama that might come with being best buddies. In my world, you’re allowed to have levels of friendship and only let the people you trust into your inner sanctum. Not everyone’s going to be your best friend in the whole wide world and you know what? That’s A-O-fucking-K with me.
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