Monday, May 13, 2013

Monday Musings: On Friendship

"I like people too much or not at all." - Sylvia Plath
This is pretty much how I feel about people.
Friendship is something I have thought a lot about as an adult. I was the kind of kid who had a few "best" friends, mostly because I was so shy, but also because I like feeling deeply known by someone. Though my parents tried to explain this to me, I didn't understand the concept of having different friends with whom you might do different kinds of things.

As I got older, I still gravitated towards a small number of intimate friendships, but I came to the realization that it gets harder and harder to make the kind of friends I had as a little girl. Moving to CA meant leaving my amazing girlfriends behind, which was hard. But, what was harder was figuring out how to make new friends in a new place. I did make a few friends at work. But, my husband runs his own very small company. He wasn't meeting new people. We knew a few people out here, but not many. And, we generally like to hang out together, which means that a lot of the time it just the two of us. In trying to build friendships, it felt like I was going on a lot of first friend dates, but those first dates rarely turned in to meaningful relationships.

With women, if you are ambitious and driven, chances are that you want to be around and to be friends with other ambitious, driven women. Frankly, however, that sometimes leads to competition. In the words of Varys from Game of Thrones (I cannot believe I am quoting that ridiculous show), "Who doesn't like to see their friends fail now and then?" (By the way, I know that is not grammatically correct, but I am quoting.) Something I've seen and talked about with my girlfriend (who is moving-damn her) is that it is often difficult to be genuinely happy for the successes of other people. When I think about that, I remember why it is easier just to hang out with my husband and my family. Those are the people who are genuinely happy when I'm happy and genuinely sympathetic when I'm not. But then there are those Saturday mornings when I want to go to brunch, and I think "Where are my girls at?"

Friends expose you to new ideas, perspectives, experiences, and world views. I cherish the things I've learned from my friends, and I wish I had little circle of besties here in SF. Bottom line: if you are in your early thirties, and you are looking for a friend, I'm accepting applications. 

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