I am an exceptionally social solitary creature. I love going out and I enjoy crowds, but I often go out by myself. It has developed from not appreciating the group experience. Growing up I had a fairly close group of friends at church, and we were mostly the leftovers from our older siblings group of friends plus some other miscellaneous misfits.
At school I was a wanderer. And over the years I have maintained friendships. I know people who's friends come through a revolving door, and I've never understood that brand of friendship. For me, if they don't stick around, they probably weren't very important to being with. Certainly people grow apart, that's understood, but despite your personal difference one would hope that you can maintain a level or respect and humility for the person that they become and the way the relationship evolves.
I don't cut ties frequently. There are only two people with whom I used to be close that I have absolutely no contact with now. One, I see occasionally, but we don't speak and it make me sad, but they made it quite clear that my friendship was smothering and they simply could not deal. And I do smother - I am decisive and persistent and I can be too much, impetuous even. I call into the double digits over and over to reach them, I text obnoxiously and send emails regularly. They know that I am interested in maintaining our relationship and even if we don't speak every day, or even each week, we know that when we do contact or see one another that we are there completely.
One friend once described my friendship as that of a crazed girlfriend because I don't stop, and I don't give up on someone that I feel I have invested emotionally until it is clear that they have no desire for me to be a part of their life. I have had falling-outs and I have had arguments, and they are resolved because we communicate. And we communicate effectively; it's an effort to understand how others operate, but we make that effort.
When Christina and I were fifteen (or maybe she had just turned sixteen, I may be taller, but she is older and she enjoys reminding me of this especially considering her recent 21st birthday - she doesn't even drink, what a waste!) there was a boy. She liked him, and he liked me, and I was stupid. I went out with him a few times, despite not being sixteen yet - that's the age when I was "allowed" to date. He drove a 1963 red Chevy Impala, and was a bishop's son, and I'm pretty sure that those were the only reason my dad let me go out with him. Anyway, this was the one time where Christina didn't talk to me. She was that upset with me. So I asked her to make a list of all the things that I did that upset her. That list was three bulleted, single spaced pages long. THREE PAGES! Of things that she didn't like about me. I swear she started from when we met at age five to then, and since then we have been able to resolve any dispute in a completely reasonable manner. Guys, she is my best friend, we have been for fifteen years. That's a long time. For anyone. And we are complete opposites about so many things, but we compliment each other perfectly.
Christina and I were talking recently about groups of people, and how we both prefer the type of relationship we - one the relies on those solitary moments together. We are very much one-on-one people. I may criticize everything from someones shirt and shoes to their tacky make up, but I will talk to them, and I will give them the benefit of a doubt. Everyone deserves at least one conversation to demonstrate their humanity - though it is incredible at how many people fail at maintaining the give and take a conversation needs. This is later reflected in their relationships.
I had brunch with my friend Maia today. We were unable to see each other while I was in San Francisco (she lives not too far from there) but she has been in town this week and were fortunate enough to see each other today. We have not seen each other since the inauguration, the day we met. We met while trying to leave the Mall, and we walked from the Capitol all the way back to the Lincoln Memorial, up 23rd street and then to Q and 14 for hot chocolate. We literally spent all day together. She is 4'11" and 48, and we come from entirely different backgrounds, nevermind the different life experiences. And today it was like no time had gone by at all. We fill each other in on our lives periodically, but not as regularly as I would like - I plan on working on this.
Back to Christina and I's conversation, we were discussing groups and how we were not really into them, and how this can be frustrating when one would like to have a gathering. I would love to have Maia and Christina together at dinner, but the likelihood of that happening is slim, as are most gatherings. The people that I call friends maintains to be a very small group. I used to think there was something wrong with this, but the relationships that I have near and far mean so much more to me than mingling. Not that there's anything wrong with going out and mingling, I love meeting new people, but not the way that I used to. I have become more concerned with keeping that friends that I have than with making new ones. It doesn't seem strange, but considering my age, I mean, I haven't met many people yet, relatively speaking. But those that have been kind enough to me, to talk and carry a conversation and dish it right back without restraint are those that I hope to know in another twenty years. For them, I am so thankful.