Friday, October 21, 2011

Thoughts on friendship

I've spent the last few days thinking about friendship...and sex, but that's cuz I'm a guy and I WANT IT! I WANT IT NOW! But I digress. I have been thinking about friendship lately, and I wanted to share some of my thoughts. Now, I know that my last post was about death, and I don't want to get too depressing with this whole blog thing but, it did occur to me that I didn't have any friends until a few years ago! Let me explain!

friend: (noun) a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection, typically one exclusive of sexual or family relations

By that definition, yeah, I had plenty of friends. But there was this one thing that kept bugging me! If it weren't for the activities that I was involved with, those people who were my "friends", probably wouldn't have been. If I weren't in band in high school, then those people and I wouldn't have spoken. If I weren't in JROTC, those people and I wouldn't have spent any time together. Also, I never went to one party, nobody wished me a happy birthday (let alone got me a gift), there were no weekend trips to play putt putt or laser tag... what I had were classmates, not friends! Don't get me wrong, I enjoyed their company...some more than others. But had it not been for an activity that REQUIRED us to be in the same place at the same time...I imagine I could've gone 4 years without engaging in conversation.

I realize, I do, that ALL friendships are based on some mutual activity or interest! I'm not saying I had no friends because of that! Rather, I'm pointing out that after high school, I don't speak to any of the people I used to be "friends" with while I have friends I made at USC who I interact with almost dailly. Admittedly, technology makes that easier; facebook and twitter and a cell phone (two of which didn't exist when I was in high school and one of which I just didn't have). But still... I've spoken to exactly...(hang on, let me count) NINE people I knew from A.C. Flora in person since graduating...and I went to USC with four of them. The one that was in band did invite me to his that's gotta count for something...right?

I worked with one as a band camp instructor, another one was working at a store I happened to be in, and another guy was trying to sell me on one of those pyramid sales schemes. Two of em, I ran into on campus a few times, and I actually hung out with one girl I knew from high school...but only once. I met one girl for lunch during freshman year, but never again. Then there's the "exception to the rule"! One friend from high school (who is well on her way to being an ordained Lutheran minister) actually came into town and we had lunch! She's the exception because she actually did give me a gift. When she found out that I was going to USC she bought me a shirt. My very first piece of Carolina gear! (She also MADE me learn the Alma Mater, but what's a little corecion between friends!?) Now, don't tell her this, but I'd consider actually going to church if she asked me to...might have to brush up on my catechism first though!

I admit, my friendships are weird! Before last weekend, one of the guys who still lives in town, I had seen less over the past year than the guy who lives upstate...whom I had seen less than the guy who lives in Florida. But I think those friendships still exist because of the ease with which we all fall back into the flow of conversation when we are once again face to face. Which does raise the point that there is something to be said for "finding yourself" while in college. I know I'm not the same guy I was in high school, and I wouldn't expect any of those folks to be either. So, maybe it's just a matter of outgrowing certain relationships. And let's face it... guys don't generally do the whole "calling just to say 'Hey!'" thing! It's always a heart warming story but, how many of us actually have life-long friends from our childhood? I know I don't...forget the fact that I was an "Army brat" and moved around a bunch when I was a kid! 

I suppose a big part of friendship really is just, time + place + who's around! But if you want, and it hasn't been "too long", you maybe might wanna send a quick e-mail! Just say hey! (as it were). You might be surprised at how you and some of those folks grew seperately but not necessarily apart!

That actually ended kinda nice! Or sappy. Depends on your perspective I guess! Either way, feel free to leave a comment!

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