I want to talk about friendship. I’ve searched and searched for the right words for this post. I’ve had the idea for days, weeks even, but I was thinking too hard about it; I was looking at it the wrong way. I was too focused on one small detail, when I should have been thinking about the bigger topic, but I think I’ve figured out what I’m trying to say.
As a super socially awkward person, I tend to keep people at arm’s length. I’m generally really reserved and private, and I don’t easily click with others on a personal level. Most people who claim to “know” me don’t really know much about me aside from where I go to school and what I do for work, or maybe my favorite type of pizza. I try my best to be kind and polite to everyone, but I won’t waste my energy trying to foster a connection that isn’t there. When I do connect with someone, though, watch out! I get all kinds of excited — embarrassingly so — but that’s probably because real friendships are rare and so valuable to me.
I have a deep appreciation, and an incredible respect, for people I genuinely click with. Not to be super clichéd or anything, but I’m definitely learning to appreciate the whole “quality over quantity” thing in regard to friendships. I have a fair amount of acquaintances, a select group of people I actually consider friends, and an even smaller group of “close” friends.
I want to talk about what determines a friend, in my eyes. For some people, it has to do with how long you’ve known one other, if you’re in similar living situations (school, work, etc.), or some other tangible, circumstance-dictated condition; that’s not how I see it at all. I’m a first-impression/intuition/follow-your-gut kind of girl. If I get good energy from you, good luck trying to keep me away. I’ve met some truly remarkable people in my twenty-three years, particularly in the last six months, and they’re all at various ages and places in their lives. Despite our different circumstances, I’ve seen some wonderful buds of friendship form and begin to blossom. I recently took a step back to think about it, and it’s magnificent.
I love getting to know people. I hate forced conversation. I hate parties with people I don’t know. Small talk gives me anxiety, but I can pull myself together and fake my way through it if I need to — “play the part” in a manner of speaking. If you want to talk about something besides the weather, though, count me in. I find I have some of the most stimulating conversations with people I click with, but whom I barely know. There is something beautiful in the real honesty, in that raw vulnerability, that comes with opening your heart to someone new, someone who is far enough removed from your personal-life-bubble that there is no fear of repercussions or getting hurt. People are so guarded these days, myself included, so these little glints of passionate truthfulness are so breathtaking.
I’m a deeply emotional person under my awkward (turtle) shell. I treasure those rare, golden moments when you sense that spark of friendship emerging in the most unexpected places, with the most unexpected people. I can quickly become the queen of over-sharing and word vomit (which can be weird), but please take it as a compliment. It means I trust you and I want to know you, and I want you to know me too. It’s almost like I get a gut feeling that we’re going to be really close in the future, and I want to fast-forward and be really close right now. I want to be there for you, I want to hangout and to chat. I want to skip the awkward “getting to know each other” phase because I’m awkward enough for two people as it is. Patience just isn’t a strength of mine.
I guess, in a roundabout way, I’ve touched upon the concept I’ve been struggling to find the words to express. I don’t believe in restricting friendships to social circles or age groups; if you connect with someone, you just connect with them. Period. Done. End of story. Don’t question it. I believe everything happens for a reason, and that friends come and go in our lives to help us grow or teach us something. I have connected with a handful of awesome people at various places in life, and I think there is so much to learn, and to gain, from being open to whoever happens to come cross your path. Who are we to place limitations on our life lessons? Go with the flow, and enjoy those friendships with unexpected people. They’re probably just as surprised as you are.