Do you remember high school? Sometimes I find myself fondly reminiscing – to be young, carefree, roaming the halls and laughing with friends and oh, wait. High school fucking sucked. It was a burning, blistering, scorching hell on Earth. An obstreperous, endless, raw and throbbing social experiment. Okay, it wasn’t THAT bad, but it certainly was not a walk in the park for an awkward introvert like me. I was lucky to have a great group of friends, but outside that safety zone it was all lava. I’ve worked very hard since then to become more outgoing; to enjoy casually meeting new people and having little problem engaging in conversation. It’s become easy for me. Especially after a drink or two I love to work the room. But there is a huge, gaping difference between making a few witty remarks over martinis and forming real friendships. And I am finding that in certain situations, like the ones I get myself into being a mom, take the drink out of my hand and I’m the same ridiculous teenager I was all those years ago. Plus some crow’s feet.
There’s a certain amount of pretending that goes on in the larval stages of a friendship, right? Or have I been doing it all wrong? I can’t necessarily reply to a casual “how are you?” with “I feel like peeling the skin off of my face and screaming at the top of my lungs for hours and hours”, now can I? That type of honesty is probably not the keystone of a successful acquaintanceship. And most days, especially at the 9am preschool drop-off, I don’t feel like doing a whole lot of pretending. I just want to be quiet. Why doesn’t anyone appreciate being quiet anymore?
As I reread this snippet it is becoming clear to me why I can’t make friends. I belong in a loony bin. But even crazy people need buddies. Not necessarily for camaraderie, but mostly to borrow things from. I really need a handheld steam cleaner for my window sills. But you know I’m not going to pay for one, no sir. This is where a wide circle of friends comes in handy. OR what if I need someone to watch my kid so I CAN scream for hours and hours on end in peace? Circle of friends. An actual circle of friends, not that crappy Minnie Driver movie. Please feel free to share your friend snagging advice. I know you have a lot of friends. And my window sills are in desperate need of a steam clean.