Sunday, November 7, 2010

On Friendship

I've been thinking a lot about friendship lately. Partly, I think, because of my recent visit to my former high school, and reunion with some university pals. Then, someone posted a comment about my books saying that they love books about friendship. And when I was doing the TRT Book Club interview, and thinking about how we all write about certain themes, I realized that friendship is one of my themes.

You know how some people spend their whole lives looking for that one perfect romantic partner, because they've read all the romances and seen all the movies about how it's supposed to be? And then the real people - the ones who burp and have messy hair and leave their dirty socks lying around - never seem to measure up to the Handsome Prince on a white horse that Person Number One imagined in their dreams?

I think I've spent a lot of my life suffering from that same kind of delusion - only instead of looking for the Handsome Prince/Romance, I've spent a lot of time in search of The BFF (Best Friend Forever).

Don't get me wrong: I have some amazing friends. Amazing. People who let me cry all over them for months on end when I needed to. People who let me call them out of the blue when they haven't heard from me in months, and are totally there for me anyway. People who have celebrated birthdays with me since we were nine years old. People who honoured me first by choosing me as a maid of honour, and then again by letting me do it a second time when their first marriage didn't "take". People who make me laugh and make me smarter and make me feel good about myself.

But just as happens with romances, I've had my "break-ups", too. Sometimes it's circumstantial, but other times, there has been no explanation, and they have simply disappeared, leaving me with that "it's not you, it's me..." feelling that always makes you think it really is you.

Which it may be. Because maybe I've got my own "intimacy issues". While part of me thinks I want that BFF who will there for me every day -- and who will want me to be there for her - another part of me - a part that I think is more authentically me - doesn't always want that kind of pressure. (I know, I know - if it's true friendship, it shouldn't feel like pressure, right?)

I love having time to myself! I get crabby when it doesn't happen. Ask my husband. Or my sister. Or my mom. Or anyone who has ever spent more than six hours straight with me. Even if we're doing something "fun".

Apparently, it started early. My mom tells me that even when I was very young, my sister would play and play and play with other children, while I would hang out for a bit, then quietly remove myself, go into my room, and just be.

I'm still like that. I enjoy hanging out with other people. I adore good conversation. But I need time alone too much to give all I have to any one "best" friend.

Instead, I have many, have had many, and hope to have many yet to come.

And in the meantime, I'll keep writing about friendship. And maybe I'll learn something about it along the way.

Saturday, November 6, 2010