I’ve been thinking about what it means to be a friend to someone for a while now. The Boy and I often end up having discussions about this very thing because in the beginning, behavior that he thought was just friendly, I took to be romantic. For obvious reasons this caused a great deal of conflict between us. Conflict that never should have happened, as this evolution of our relationship seems to prove.
Then, someone posted a comment on a couple of my posts saying that you should “Never turn your back on someone who has reached out to help you,” and it made me think about just exactly what makes a good friend.
See, as best I can tell, her comment was in reference to the fact that a lot of my friends do not approve of my reconnection with the Boy, and I’ve kind of pulled away from some of those people.
Then again, it could be in reference to the Boy himself, and about how I
do did have doubts about what his intentions were or whether or not I was being absolutely stupid for letting him back into my life.
Whatever she meant, I don’t think it would be fair to say that I pulled away from people solely because of my reconnection with the Boy. Instead, I really feel like I pulled away from those particular friends because I’ve not been in a place to wear the mask that I usually wear for those people.
See, I am one of those people pleasers, and I tend to compartmentalize my friends into categories based on their interests and things. Like the Book Club Girls are a group of women who are into books and other artsy style things, like the museum and painting parties. As a group of well educated women, they tend to be from the upper-middle or upper class and so like the finer things: expensive wines, gourmet coffees, fancy restaurants. While my Geek Guys are a group of (mostly) guys who like to talk comic books and comic book based movies. They do trivia on Wednesday and try strange but relatively inexpensive foods around the city of Houston and some of the surrounding areas.
They are on opposite ends of the spectrum, and generally the things I talk about with the Book Club Girls are not the same thing I talk about with the Geek Guys. If I want to do Happy Hour at the museum (an event on Thursday evenings), I would probably not invite any of my Geek Guys… most of them wouldn’t be interested in such a thing. Similarly, I wouldn’t want to play DnD with any of my Book Club Girls, but a handful of my Geek Guys would totally be down for such a thing.
Now, there are a small handful of people that cross into both categories, and those people are the people with whom I have become particularly close.
And that’s the point of it all: I want to defragment my life! I want the people that I consider to be true friends to be people that don’t have to be compartmentalized. I want my friends to be people that I can talk about a variety of things, or can handle the different elements of my life, and not judge me for it.
My personal situation has been…not great these last 2 years, and what I’ve noticed is that the people that I have pigeon-holed as “just” a Book Club Girl or “just” a Geek Guy, or “just” a coworker, or “just” whatever category, I push away. I don’t share all the details of what’s going on because, frankly, it’s not part of what they are to me. They are people that I just do ____X____ with, and I have no desire or need to have them involved in other parts of my life.
Is that selfish? Maybe.
As I’ve explained to some of my exes, I expect my life partner to be someone who I can talk to about everything. In fact, I want to share even those artsy parts of my life with my partner. I don’t mean that I expect my partner to go to all my events all the time, but every now and then, I want to be able to bring my partner to something, like the museum or a symphony, something they might not be 100% into, because I don’t want to feel like I’m hiding part of myself from them.
I want my partner to be someone that I share things with.
I want to have an open, honest relationship with the person I will spend the rest of my life with.
And recently (partly because of the Boy), I’ve realized that I’m happier when my friends are people whom I can tell everything to as well.
There was a time when I would tell you that I had tons of friends.
In high school, I was the social butterfly, or the floater, that didn’t fit in just one social circle. I was part of the smart kids, and the theater freaks, and the band nerds, and the photography/art crowd, and the stoners, and I’ve probably missed a group somewhere…
In college, I embraced both the uber Christian set and the Pagan people, plus being active in the LGBTQ advocacy groups, and again being part of the theater freaks and the literary people, and the true nerds/geeks who played DnD…
I’ve never been easy to categorize.
Even my ethnicity is ambiguous, allowing me to fit in with multiple groups. I like to say I’m “racially ambiguous.” Turns out that’s actually a thing…
Back to the point: I have always thought of myself as someone with a lot of friends. In reality, I have always been surrounded by tons of acquaintances that fit in one compartment of my life or another.
I have compartmentalized my life, and have had very, very few people who get to see all of me. And as I’ve stated, when you get compartmentalized, then I don’t share my problems with you either. As such, I’ve had very few people that I felt like I could really lean on or rely on to help me with my problems.
At some point all these different compartments began to fragment my reality.
So one of my goals this year, is to learn to stop fragmenting myself. I need to be honest with myself, as well as others, about who I am, and if I’m spending all my time changing who I am to fit in with this group or that group, I lose myself somewhere along the way.
So, if you’re one of the people who hasn’t heard from me in a while, please be aware that it’s not you, it’s me. I’m learning who I am and who I want to be, and I may or may not be the same person you remember next time we meet. I’ve got to be comfortable with me…